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Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Protest: Only the Pro, Not the Test

The Dean of Students at UCR has distributed a draft for new rules concerning protest on the Riverside campus.  They are actually quite remarkable.  Under the tag line "Your voice matters. Make an Impact" the Dean is proposing a system where only the most regulated protest activities are allowed on campus.  Not only is Riverside proposing the usual "time, place, and manner" restrictions but they are demanding that all protests be cleared with the administration two weeks before they are to occur, insisting that protesters clear with the administration any movement they plan across campus, make sure that your protest has been "approved," and don't use sticks with your signs (i.e. the conventional way that placards and signs have been held for the last 100 years or so).

Riverside is pushing these rules shortly after the Regents' November Meeting and in anticipation of the Regent's January meeting at UCR.  Clearly, at least some administrators are unwilling to meet the students except in situations where they define the rules.  These rules with their "checklist" sound like planning for a high school dance.  Is that really how Riverside's Dean of Students conceives of free speech and protest about matters of concern to the community?    Is President Yudof's notion of the "DNA" of the University really that protest is only allowed when it meets the approval of the authorities?  Is that the lesson in Free Speech the University wants to teach?

But rest assured that they are happy to have your voice heard in the precise way that they want to hear your voice.


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