The University of California and attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed settlement documents Wednesday, reaching an agreement on a class-action lawsuit involving UC Davis students who were pepper-sprayed during an Occupy protest last November.
The lawsuit alleges that UC police violated state and federal constitutional protections, including the First Amendment, when they arrested and used “excessive force” against the students, according to the complaint filed in February.
Under the settlement, the University agreed to pay $30,000 to each of the 21 plaintiffs, as well as $250,000 to the plaintiffs’ attorneys who work for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, according to a document from the ACLU.
The agreement also requires the University to set aside $100,000 total to pay other protesters who prove they were arrested or pepper-sprayed during the same protest.
The settlement still needs to be approved by a federal judge before any payments can be made, said Dianne Klein, a UC spokeswoman.
The UC Board of Regents voted in favor of the settlement during a closed session at the September UC regents meeting.
“The regents debated a whole host of considerations, but ultimately … they felt this was the best way to go,” Klein said.
It would be more costly for the UC to proceed to trial and further deliberations, she added.
Earlier this month, the UC released a report about responding to civil disobedience on campus. The report makes more than 40 recommendations to campus authorities on how to improve protest management and emphasizes minimal use of police force and greater administrative oversight.
Each UC campus will need to certify that they have implemented the recommendations made in the report by September 2013, said Lynn Tierney, a UC spokeswoman who will oversee the process across the UC system, according to Daily Bruin archives.
“The pepper-spray incident at UC Davis … was a catalyst for this report to come about,” Klein said. “We needed to figure out how best the university could respond to civil disobedience (so) as to avoid such incidents.”
Compiled by Emily Suh, Bruin senior staff.