ahorbinski: an imperial stormtrooper with the word "justic3" (imperial justice)
I've been struggling to write something that expresses my rage, frustration and shame coherently over the last few days, and I don't think I'm going to get there. Instead, by way of a post, have a collection of links and comments.

I previously posted about the absolutely unprovoked violence of the UCPD at UC Berkeley in response to the Occupy Cal movement on November 9. Some video links:

Berkeley students and faculty being bludgeoned by UCPD in riot gear.

Associate Professor of English Celeste Langan is grabbed by her hair, thrown on the ground and arrested.

What happened to former Poet Laureate Professor Robert Hass when he went to protest.

Chancellor Ron Birgeneau's response to the fact that UCPD were beating Cal students and faculty?

It is unfortunate that some protesters chose to obstruct the police by linking arms and forming a human chain to prevent the police from gaining access to the tents.  This is not non-violent civil disobedience.

We call on the protesters to observe campus policy or, if they choose to defy the policy, to engage in truly non-violent civil disobedience and to accept the consequences of their decisions.

Birgeneau ended his missive with a classy appeal to the silent majority "who elected not to participate in yesterday's events" and who therefore, he apparently assumes, are on his side.

Last Monday, Birgeneau frantically backpedaled:

I returned to Berkeley yesterday after a week-long trip to Seoul, Tokyo and Shanghai where we successfully advanced some important new partnerships that will benefit our campus.

While away, I remained in intermittent contact with Provost George Breslauer and other members of our leadership team and was kept informed, as much as possible, about the Occupy Cal activities on campus.  However, it was only yesterday that I was able to look at a number of the videos that were made of the protests on November 9.  These videos are very disturbing.

Dear Chancellor Birgeneau: there is YouTube in Asia, and regardless of whether or not you'd seen the videos, the UCPD and other outside police departments beating students and faculty is entirely unacceptable. You have lost my confidence as the leader of this campus, and I am ashamed to be associated with you, even indirectly. You would best serve your office and this school by tendering your immediate resignation.

Last Tuesday, members of the campus community at UC Berkeley mobilized to protest police brutality against Occupy Cal and to continue to protest cuts to higher education in the state of California. I attended the noon rally, as well as the evening general assembly and former Secretary of Labor Professor Robert Reich's speech to Occupy Cal.

Students at UC Davis, which used to be Berkeley's department of agriculture, mobilized in a peaceful protest in support of Occupy Cal on November 18. This too was unacceptable to a UC Chancellor. When students linked arms to protect the tents they had set up, UCPD in riot gear pepper-sprayed students, even pepper-spraying directly in their faces and then down their throats.

Chancellor Katehi's response

While the university has the responsibility to develop the appropriate environments that ensure the practice of these freedoms, by no means should we allow a repeated violation of these rules as an expression of personal freedom.

Through this letter, I express my sadness for the events of past Friday and my commitment to redouble our efforts to improve our campus and the environment for our students.

Assistant Professor of English Nathan Brown has called for Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi's immediate resignation, and the faculty of English at Davis has supported his demands.

I can only agree that the administration of these campuses is currently the greatest threat to the safety of students and members of the campus community. While declaring that it is "time to recommit to the ideal of peaceful protest," University of California President Mark Yudof (himself firmly in the 1%) hastened to declare that he retains full faith and trust in the UCPD and the Chancellors:

My intention is not to micromanage our campus police forces. The sworn officers who serve on our campuses are professionals dedicated to the protection of the UC community.

Nor do I wish to micromanage the chancellors. They are the leaders of our campuses and they have my full trust and confidence.

If there was ever better proof that Mark Yudof is unworthy of confidence as President of the University of California, I don't know of it. Chancellors Birgeneau and Katehi have demonstrated their manifest unwillingness to ensure the safety of students while they exercise their Constitutional right to freedom of expression and of assembly; Birgeneau and Katehi have betrayed their highest duty, which is to the students their institutions serve, and no one else. It's no wonder that public education in this country is crumbling, when university officials refuse to protect even their own students' physical safety, let alone defend students' right to access those universities. This is not the UC I was proud to join, and this is not the Cal I am proud to be a graduate student at.

I can't say it better than Nick Perrone, a graduate student in the history department at UC Davis:

The second point that I want to make is that the police brutality we have witnessed over the past two weeks at Cal State Long Beach, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis is only a symptom of the privatization of these universities. Chancellors Katehi and Birgeneau want safe and inviting spaces on campus, but not for students, for private companies and corporations. When they suppress dissent on our campuses it is in the interest of privatization and clearly not student safety. We must be careful not to treat the symptom alone, but attack the disease itself, the disease of privatization.

Chancellor Katehi, we will not allow you, President Yudof, the regents or anyone else to strangle the students at this university with debt and mediocrity while you simultaneously direct police to suffocate any remaining dissent. It is clear to us that you are no longer an advocate, you are no longer an ally. We need a chancellor who will stand with students against police violence. Our struggle is not your struggle. We want the rich to pay their fair share. We want to lower tuition, not raise it. We want to end the privatization of our university. And we want to stop the use of police to remove peaceful protesters on college campuses. Chancellor Katehi, you have lost the confidence of the students, the faculty and the workers on this campus and it’s time for you to go.

The Occupy Cal general assembly has been voting consistently in favor of resolutions of solidarity with Occupy Oakland and Occupy Wall Street movements worldwide. These struggles are not the same, but they are related, and they have similar root causes. And on the campuses of the University of California, the first step towards a solution is to have administrators whose loyalties are to the students the University of California was established, here at Berkeley in 1868, to serve.
ahorbinski: an imperial stormtrooper with the word "justic3" (imperial justice)
I've never been so ashamed to be associated with Cal as on Wednesday night, when the UCPD beat UC Berkeley's students and arrested 40 members of its campus community for expressing their views in accordance with their constitutional rights and long-standing campus tradition.

I found it telling that the mainstream media totally failed to cover Occupy Cal (40 arrests) and focused entirely on the Penn State riots (zero arrests).


ahorbinski: shelves stuffed with books (Default)
Andrea J. Horbinski

August 2017

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