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UC campus protest policy report released for public input for final draft

Draft report on Response to Protests on UC Campuses

Students and other members of the community can submit feedback for the draft report until May 25 at

The report's authors will then write a final draft by late June.

Compiled by Naheed Rajwani, Bruin senior staff

By Emily Suh and Suzy Strutner

May 9, 2012 1:17 a.m.

The first draft of a report on protest policies within the University of California system is gathering responses from the UC community, including UCLA administrators and faculty.

Released Friday, the report recommends better coordination between university administrators and police, emphasizing minimal police response and decreased use of force during protests.

The report calls upon all UC campuses to implement changes to reflect the recommendations.

After the comment period ends on May 25, the authors will revise the draft and submit a final copy to UC President Mark Yudof by late June, according to the report’s website.

The UCLA Academic Senate and members of the UCLA administration are currently reviewing the report to determine how, if at all, to respond during the open feedback period, said UCLA spokesman Steve Ritea.

The report is the culmination of a UC-wide investigation requested by Yudof following highly publicized uses of pepper spray and batons during protests on UC campuses.

UC Berkeley School of Law Dean Christopher Edley Jr. and UC General Counsel Charles Robinson headed the project.

To involve students in the drafting process, Robinson and Edley held town hall meetings at the Berkeley, Davis and Irvine campuses and met with various student leaders.

Students’ biggest demand was decreasing the use of police force during protests, Robinson said.

Though force may still have to be used at times, Robinson said, he expects the report’s recommendations will make police action less prevalent during protests and only used as a “last resort.”

The document also suggests administrators should play bigger roles in managing protests.

Senior campus administrators should be present at “significant” protests and should be in communication with the university police chief, the report states.

Once police involvement becomes necessary, the report specifies that law enforcement should report to the chancellor or a chancellor’s designee who would determine the university’s response.

Tobias Higbie, an associate professor of history who helped draft a letter to Chancellor Gene Block in November that cited concern over the arrest of Occupy UCLA protesters, said he is not sure that giving someone other than the chancellor the ultimate decision-making power is a good idea.

“A chancellor’s designee ““ that could be pretty loose,” Higbie said. “If you’re going to start using force ““ serious stuff like pepper spray, batons ““ the chancellor should be the one to approve it.”

Since the report’s release on Friday, the authors have not received much feedback other than media coverage, Edley said.

He added that he does not expect significant changes to take place before the final version of the report is released.

Professor of comparative literature Katherine King said she feels university officials have not worked hard enough to inform the UC community about the draft’s release.

“Faculty were not sent this report ““ we had to read about it in the L.A. Times,” King said. “Why not send it to all UC faculty for comments?”

No specific effort is currently underway to encourage students to send feedback, since students were so involved in the report’s initial drafting, Robinson said.

Joelle Gamble, external vice president of the Undergraduate Students Association Council, said her office is working to review the report and submit feedback to the authors.

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