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Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

That Was the Week That Was

It has been nearly 5 months since Mark Yudof declared that free speech was part of the DNA of UC and promised thorough and independent investigations into the police violence at Davis and Berkeley.  We still await those reports.  At this time, UC is holding back those parts of the Reynoso report, in part, it seems, because they focus on the Davis Administration. Indeed, as Cloudminder has emphasized, some members of the Commission have threatened to withdraw their signatures if the report was released in part.  I'm sure that has nothing to do with spin.

Of course some things did happen on the policing front:


At the Regents' latest attempt to avoid students, three protesters were arrested for allegedly interfering with UCPD on their way out of the Regent's meeting after the end of the protest.  At least one of the protesters was detained over night.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the UC Davis police force has worked with the local district attorney in identifying students involved in protesting the presence of US Bank on the Davis Campus.  11 students and 1 faculty member have received notice that they are being charged with 21 misdemeanor counts relating to their protests.  All of this despite the urging of the Davis Faculty Association that the University not aid in the prosecution of students.

At Berkeley, new emails reveal that Chancellor Birgeneau insisted on being kept in the loop during the November 9th protests.  He also insulted Berkeley's local Legislative members for their support of the Occupy protests.   Dan Mogulof offered his wish that the protesters could be sent on a "slow boat to Sacramento."  All of this follows on a self-report by Berkeley's UCPD which insisted that UCPD had acted properly on November 9th.  According to the report, a big problem was that UCPD wasn't allowed to use pepper spray.

These events follow President Yudof's recent effort to treat disruptive protests as the equivalent of hate speech.  As you know, there have been contradictory reports on what happened at the Davis event "Israeli Soldiers speak out."  But that did not stop President Yudof.  He weighed in quite rapidly and not only insisted that he knew what he needed to know about the Davis protest but linked it to events at UC San Diego two years age when it was African Americans who were vilified by words and images that mocked their heritage and who felt threatened by the appearance of a noose in the library, and at Riverside, where an Israeli flag had been defaced.

Whatever one thinks of the tactics of disruptive protest, it has a clear chilling effect for the President of the University to equate disruptive protest with hate speech.  This is especially the case when the University police forces have been engaged in the use of violence against non-violent protesters (and no, Chancellor Birgeneau, linking arms together is "not non-violent.")  It bespeaks a University leadership which can not differentiate between political dissent and assaults on persons.   

The collapse of the moral authority of UC's leadership continues apace.

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