The UC Board of Regents released an announcement yesterday indefinitely postponing a meeting originally scheduled for this Wednesday and Thursday, citing the UC San Francisco Police Department’s concern for public safety.
According to a statement released yesterday by Regents Chair Sherry Lansing, Vice-chairman Bruce Varner and President Mark G. Yudof, UC police gathered “credible intelligence” regarding community members’ plans to disturb the typically peaceful student presence with “rogue elements.”
The decision follows a heated confrontation between protesters and UC Berkeley police at the Nov. 9 “Occupy Cal” day of action, which ended in 39 arrests and a lawsuit by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary against the UCSB Police Dept. The coalition alleges that officers beat numerous nonviolent demonstrators with batons.
According to the Regents’ statement, the board acted to protect the well-being of those in attendance.
“By rescheduling, it is our intent to allow the business of the University of California to go forward, but in a manner that will allow the public, including students, to express their views on issues related to the university without putting their personal safety in peril,” the statement said.
The Regents have not yet released an alternate date for the meeting.
Although the board and law enforcement declined to provide details, Student Regent Alfredo Mireles, Jr. said the UC Office of the President received several briefings from UCSF police.
“Frankly, I don’t have access to the intelligence, so we have to refer to what the police say in this specific case,” Mireles said.
According to Mireles, the decision denies the public an opportunity to peacefully speak out against fee hikes.
“It’s incredibly frustrating because there’s been so much organizing around this meeting to get students from multiple different campuses to come and voice their discontent with the Regents,” Mireles said. “I think the most disappointing thing is we’ve finally created this real movement of student activists who finally want to tell the Regents ‘no,’ and want to have that opportunity on Wednesday.”
In a press release issued in response to the decision, UC Student Association President Claudia Magaña said the Regents lack sincere regard for students’ interests.
“It is concerning that the UC Regents and UCPD were not properly prepared for this meeting, given the ‘credible intelligence’ that was gathered,” Magaña said in the press release. “UCPD deals with student demonstrations on a regular basis, and their top priority should be ensuring students’ ability to demonstrate safely.”