faculty reactions to report April 12, 2012Posted by Julie Sze in protests, Uncategorized, university.
from Michael Meranze, History Professor at UCLA
Is UC Attempting to Criminalize Dissent?
The release of the “Reynoso Report” analyzing the use of pepper spray at UC Davis with its attached Kroll report demonstrates the need to consider the question: Is UC attempting to criminalize dissent? The Reynoso Report (it will take some time to work through the Kroll report as well) is unsparing in its conclusion that the use of Pepper Spray at UC Davis on Friday afternoon, November 18th was unnecessary, irrational, and without clear legal justification. Indeed, the report questions the entire rush to judgment that led to the attempt to remove the tents themselves. (7-9)
The report also makes it clear that responsibility begins with Chancellor Katehi. Katehi not only pushed to have the tents removed but failed to communicate clearly her intentions about how it should be done. But the responsibility was not hers alone. It continues through her Vice-Chancellors who failed to incorporate and make clear all the evidence about the protests that they were provided with, onto the Chief of Police who failed to organize the police action sufficiently or to explain to the higher administration all of the reasons why moving on the tents might be a bad idea, and concludes with the specific officers on the ground whose use of pepper spray was not only inappropriate but in violation of regulations. The effects of these decisions on free speech at Davis cannot be underestimated. As the ACLU notes in its own analysis of the Task Force Report: “When the cost of speech is a shot of blinding, burning pepper spray in the face, speech is not free.”
It is difficult to see how the upper administration can continue to claim moral authority over the campus although given the vagueness of the recommendations (29-32) it is unclear what repercussions there will be for the administration. While laudably calling upon the upper administration to develop–in collaboration with the campus community–a widespread set of understandings about the importance of protests and the ways to ensure that campus safety takes precedence over the administrative will to campus order, the recommendations tend towards the bureaucratic. That is to say, in keeping with a large amount of the report, the recommendations are about the techniques of policing rather than their purpose.
read the full posting here
for another faculty view that connects the report to the recent charges against US Bank Protestors, read here
also, for the Davis Dozen, get ready for a week of solidarity April 23-27, focused on letters and phone calls to the DA, and continue with fundraising for legal costs. for more info, check out