The University of California Office of the President released a report on Friday outlining 50 recommendations to improve police protocol for handling student demonstrations on UC campuses.
UC officials posted the draft version of the report online and have invited students and the general public to submit comments and suggestions over the next three weeks, at the end of which a final draft will be created. The report is a product of an investigation conducted by UC Berkeley Law School Dean Christopher Edley and UC General Counsel Charles Robinson in response to incidents of police violence at the Davis and Berkeley campuses last November.
In the report, Robinson and Edley emphasize the ulti- mate responsibility of a campus’s chancellor in combating incidents of student protest.
“To ensure an effective University response to protests involving civil disobedience, there must be an established system for coordination between police and administrators, with well-defined roles and a shared understanding that ulti- mate responsibility for the campus’s response rests with the Chancellor,” the report stated. “The Chancellor and other administrators should develop and follow a set of guidelines designed to minimize a police response to protests, and to limit the use of force against protesters wherever possible.”
The report also reiterated the illegality of students’ past demonstrations.
“The First Amendment does not guarantee any right to engage in civil disobedience — which, by its very definition, involves the violation of laws or regulations to communicate a political message — without incurring consequences. Indeed, part of the reason a protester engages in civil disobe- dience is to express the protester’s willingness to be arrested or otherwise sanctioned as a sacrifice to the political cause in question,” the report stated.
However, it went on to recommend that communication be fostered between protesters and police to mitigate any potential overreaction.
According to Robinson, the document aims to shed light on how to best handle the inevitable process of unrest and subsequent change.
“This report highlights the responsibility, shared by all members of the University community, to ensure that the rights of free speech are respected — in fact, honored — and that peaceful, lawful protests exist on our campuses,” Robinson said. “At the same time, it is important to recog- nize the role that civil disobedience may play in such dem- onstrations, and the attendant consequences.”
The full report, along with the link to submit comments, can be viewed at http://campusprotestreport.universityofcalifor- nia.edu.