UC-Santa Cruz campus provost Alison Galloway published a press release this week encouraging the campus community to comment on a new report about the handling of student protests at UC campuses.
UC President Mark Yudof requested the report, authored by general counsel Charles Robinson and UC Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley. It comes in response to the controversial police crackdown at UC Berkeley and UC Davis protests in November.
People who take interest in the 120-page report have until June 8 to leave comments on the UC website or just post them to YouTube.com. The comments will be going to authors Robsinson and Edley, who will submit a final draft to Yudof.
UCSC spokesperson Jim Burns says the report, which focuses largely on ways to improve communication between police and campus administrators, could prove helpful for in the future.
“We certainly feel that it’s a useful exercise and one that will provide some insights into how to handle protests that we haven’t considered,” Burns says. “And we’ve had a lot of experience handling protests.”
While UCSC did not provide the impetus for the study, the City on a Hill does receive some mention in it. In 2005 UCSC cops used “pain compliance” techniques to remove a group of protestors who had linked arms and legs at an overnight camp near the base of campus. That action prompted reports and recommendations from an Academic Senate task force and others.
“These protests happen at every campus, some more than others,” Burns says. “If anything they happen a little more at our campus.”
But the focus of this report was further north. Last November, UC Berkeley police came under scrutiny for using batons on students at an Occupy protest. Later that month, UC Davis Officer Lt. John Pike pepper sprayed protesters.
The new report doesn’t delve into fact-finding investigations as to how these events came about. According to the new study, those reviews have already been done.
The report aims instead to set up a series of “best practices” going forward—with many of them focusing on ways to strengthen relationships and improve communication between administrators, police and other groups. The report makes 50 recommendations in nine areas.
The report also acknowledges the importance of student protest in its first section.
According to the report, campuses should change their policies to “recognize explicitly the historic role of civil disobedience as a protest tactic.” The report also says those same polices should reflect that civil disobedience involves breaking the law and “generally have consequences for those engaging in it because of the impact it can have on the rest of the campus community.”