By Victoria Colliver
San Francisco Chronicle
SAN FRANCISCO — Several protesters occupied a City College of San Francisco administration building after violent clashes with campus police.
Protesters rushed into Conlan Hall around noon Thursday, protesting a new tuition payment policy and calling for the resignation of a special trustee charged with keeping the college from losing its accreditation.
"A lot of people obviously were traumatized and crying," said Eric Blanc, a student participating in the sit-in. "There have been a lot of different peaceful protests, but never have we been met with this amount of open, direct violence."
Peter Anning, a spokesman for City College, said the rally started peacefully at a free-speech area on the Ocean Avenue campus but turned into a "melee" when the protesters reached Conlan Hall. He said campus and San Francisco police officers were positioned inside the locked building when the protesters arrived, but students already inside opened the doors, leading to the conflict.
One protester was arrested for allegedly accosting a police officer and another was handcuffed and pepper sprayed after confronting the officers, Anning said. The protester received medical attention on site, he said. Six officers suffered minor injuries in the scuffle, but only one needed treatment.
Anning said campus police officials decided to let the protesters stay through the night with four officers inside the building and four outside. Police said the students cleared out of the building around 8 a.m. Friday.
Despite the skirmish, Blanc said the focus should be on the students' demands, which include the ouster of special trustee Robert Agrella and the end to a new policy that requires students to pay in full or agree to a payment policy before registering for classes.
"We're going to be here until our demands are met or we're arrested," Blanc said.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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