Students and community members are fed up with police misconduct, and Associated Students is kicking off its Fall Defensive this week to fight back. A.S. Student Lobby is coordinating a campaign to counteract the negative effects of Isla Vista Foot Patrol’s infamous Fall Offensive. The objective of Fall Defensive is to educate students and members of the community of their rights, while simultaneously providing a system for students to report the grievances they have with the I.V. Foot Patrol, UCPD and other police agencies.
A.S. Student Lobby was compelled to take action in response to what many UCSB students feel is an increasingly hostile climate in what was once a peaceful, free-spirited community. While we recognize that “high-risk” behavior is a problem on our campus and the surrounding community, we have to question the tactics used to solve these problems and the effects of these actions on our community.
Too often we have heard of instances of law enforcement officials harassing and intimidating students and members of the community, abusing their powers, failing to carry out the proper procedures when reporting or investigating a crime and violating citizens’ rights to privacy. Citations and arrests for minor alcohol and drug offenses have risen, yet it is impossible to quantify what effect, if any, it has had on drinking in I.V. We want to redirect the focus of law enforcement officials to protecting students and community members, and we will fight to restore professionalism in our local police authorities.
A.S. Student Lobby is launching an investigation of local authorities to put an end to the widespread mistreatment of students and to hold authorities accountable for their negligence. It is time to remind law enforcement officials, university administration and other agencies that we are citizens whose rights must be respected.
Once enough documentation is gathered, we will seek remedy for the abuse. A.S. Student Lobby recognizes that no single remedy will fix the situation. This is a multi-faceted campaign, and we will pursue a mix of reforms. One of our goals is the establishment of an I.V. citizen review board. A citizen review board is important because investigations of citizen complaints conducted by citizens will yield less biased results and an accurate analysis and reporting of all student and community grievances. Other possible reforms include student and community pressure for better training for police officers, and reforms of current police policies.
A.S. Student Lobby is coordinating this effort by creating Fall Defensive educational packets that contain complaint forms for students who feel they have been victims of abuse. The packets also contain information on exactly what your rights are and how to act the next time you have a run-in with I.V.’s finest. Packets were delivered door-to-door this past weekend throughout I.V. More complaint forms are available to pick up in the AS. Main Office for future grievances.
This is a long-term campaign to hold police officials accountable. Complaint forms must be turned into the A.S. Main Office. Complaints can be made anonymously, and there will be no ramifications for submissions. For any questions concerning the campaign or to learn how you can become involved, e-mail the A.S. Student Lobby at firstname.lastname@example.org. We recommend that any student who has recently been arrested or has any legal questions visit Associated Student’s Legal Resource Center upstairs in the MultiCultural Center, where free legal advising is available from a practicing attorney. If you are interested in helping A.S. Student Lobby’s investigation of the police, meetings are held every Monday at 8:30 p.m. at the A.S. Main Office. Get involved; Associated Students and Student Lobby are fighting for you!
Myles Rush is a senior political science major and Thomas Fehrs is a junior political science major.