About 20 hunger strikers, mostly students, had camped out in front of the school’s administration building since May 3. Their initial protest target was Arizona’s new immigration law, which requires police to stop and question anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.
Birgenau quickly complied with the protesters’ first demand – to denounce the law. But he balked at their proposals to declare the campus a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, rehire laid-off janitors and drop disciplinary charges against students who occupied or vandalized buildings last fall to protest rising fees.
Campus officials had met with strikers four times, without results. Birgenau agreed to an in-person meeting Wednesday if the students would call off the strike. They agreed out of concern for their health, said Horacio Corona, a senior and organizer.
The demonstration ended in a display of Berkeley multiculturalism.
One protester blessed his cohorts’ corn cobs, for their connection to Mother Earth.