CLICS: Reclaim, Reboot, Restore   Leave a comment

“Reclaim” is only a slightly more positive brand than “Occupy.”

But the do not drink rules are nominally alive at CLICS.

UCSD administrators are a bunch of sissies carrying out the time-tested strategy of appeasement. If we just give them the space they want this time, it’ll all be okay. It will not embolden or further galvanize a door-busting mob. This is wisdom.

Monday morning, a gathering of students burst through the front doors of CLICS to reclaim their traditional 24 hour finals week study space. The CLICS library had been closed this year due to budget cuts, but students demanded the library be opened and seized the space. Some students were able to somehow enter the library from another entry point and opened the flood gates for students to pour in and refuse to leave. Administrators said that’s okay, but emphasized the spacious main Geisel Library was already open 24 hours for finals week. Nonetheless, they removed all police personnel, let the students stay, and insisted they were going to do it anyways. The administration removed the campus police and negotiated with the door busters, citing police-protester “interactions” at UC Davis and Berkeley as reason to remove the campus police. And they rejected the proposal of a football team due to recent events at UCLA.

Let’s take a look at the damage.

Image reclaimed from Howard Lipin – San Diego Union Tribune.

Apparently there’s no shot of the busted doors, either the front doors that had students bulldozing through them or the unidentified Trojan Horse entrance which is likely badly damaged. All those desks in the picture there? They used to have computers on them. I’m going to assume the administration had those computers relocated long before Monday, but it’s inconceivable that they could remove all valuable property from the library, from computers to books to furniture. Without an official administration or police presence, expect some things to go missing.

Really, that’s the most peaceful I’ve ever seen CLICS during finals week. It’s usually crowded and noisy with various odors wafting about. From this one image it appears that these students, though self-policing, are well behaved. As word spreads that CLICS was stormed by students and the administration fled, it may be more difficult to keep out toxic elements or even maintain the promised student-only atmosphere. No supervision for a bunch of college kids — even UCSD students — isn’t a good idea.

But one brave administrator kept the right perspective. “It’s a moot point,” he said. “We were on our way over here with the keys to open it up.” The administration is backing down virtually unconditionally and withdrawing its forces. The territory has been conquered without a fight. Because finals last for five more days, this can only end well.

The stupidity and spinelessness of the administration comes as no surprise, but the boldness of the students — and their strategic disassociation from the Occupy Wall Street mob — are pleasant revelations. Why the heck shouldn’t students be allowed to use the library to study for finals? That’s ridiculous. And it took both thoughtfulness and awareness on part of the students to not melt into the cauldron of Occupy Wall Street sludge. It would have been very easy to do so, especially with an ostensibly illicit task and large group of people, the danger of devolving into a mob is real.

Rejecting a poisonous label in favor of another seems to have been key in the Reclaim CLICS resistance to the mob mentality. As the UT reports, “Several students stressed that they were “reclaiming” the library and took pains to avoid the word “occupy” or a connection to the Occupy movement.”

Impressive. Occupy CLICS even has a bit of a ring to it. But it may very well have attracted the wrong type of individual and these UCSD kids who just want to study seem to understand that.

Sophomore Eden White, via the UT explains,

“I’m here to help reclaim CLICS,” she said, working on a laptop with a blanket wrapped around her jacketed shoulders. “I think we’re trying to get away from ‘occupy.’ It’s got kind of a negative connotation.”

Perceptive. I like it. Going with the reclaim label emphasizes that this is mostly just about being able to use a giant empty building to study, as has always been done there. It looks like the goals are 1) study and 2) don’t become an unruly mob — both admirable. But there’s something wrong with the word reclaim. I’m just not feeling it.

Mostly because all those stupid light purple sprinkler heads that are all over La Jolla are accompanied by signs that say danger: do not drink — Pee pee water. Some city bureaucrats already took that word and slapped it on irrigation toilet water to make people less repulsed, but still know not to drink it. Jerks.

I like the re- prefix because it establishes that something used to belong to the students, but it was taken away, and now they’re here to take it back. Reclaim is like a down and out boxer who lost his title, but montaged his way back to the top. But it’s also sewer water, so I don’t like that. That’s the main weakness, it might be faintly saber-rattling, but the echo of reclaimed water lingers. You can almost smell the sewage. You don’t want haters saying things about drinking the reclaimed Kool-Aid.

My first recommendation would be to rebrand it Restore CLICS. It’s a brighter image. It suggests that this finals week is only the beginning of the restoration of a sacred UCSD institution. There is no claim to ownership that might be twisted by opponents, and it focuses on functionality over possession.

Secondarily, I’d suggest Reboot CLICS going with the computer theme. It suggest something that’s been dormant suddenly coming alive again. You can see the lights coming back on.

In any case, I’m impressed with the students demanding their space and distancing themselves from the Occupiers. CLICS is a cool place to study during finals, even if it’s not the most silent environment. To take back CLICS sounds too reactionary and Reload CLICS is a bit violent and kinda lame, so compared to those or occupy, Reclaim will do. I would put Restore CLICS and possibly Reboot CLICS on the table for consideration if those spineless administrators start talking about drinking the Reclaimed Kool-Aid.

Tritonthink (tentatively) endorses Reclaim CLICS. Un-tentatively it changes its name to Restore CLICS or even Reboot CLICS.


Posted December 6, 2011 by Wada in Geisel Library, UCSD

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