30 November 2009

UC Academic Council on student protests

The UC Academic Council, finally awaken from its dogmatic slumber, issued a somehwhat disingenuous statement concerning the recent student protests. The Council tries to strike a position equidistant between the acknowledgment of the sudents' reasons for their protest and their right to express those reason in a peaceful but vocal way and the Administration's reactions. Amid much mumbo-jumbo, the Council is
especially concerned about group protests in which a number of individuals attempted to move past police barricades, physically threaten and throw objects at police, and surround vehicles to trap those within.
This is disengenuous because, to the best of my knowledge, there have been no attempts by students to "physically threaten" or "throw objects" at the police. Students did surround a van in which the Regents were attempting a quick getaway at UCLA after voting to increase the fees, but they limited themselves to a sit-in around the vehicle, a well-established form of peaceful protest.

The Academic Council also "insists that uses of force by police will be subject to inquiry and review, as well as the policies that govern crowd control." Better late than never.

Here is a bit of advice: please go look at any collection of pictures from the protests that were published in any number of sites, and check out the faces of the police officers, wielding tasers and looking down with contempt bordering on hatred on students who could well have been their own sons and daughters. Clearly something is wrong.

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