Posts Tagged ‘#occupyUCD’

Re-Admit Tomas to UC Davis

18 April 2012

from Davis Anti-Repression:

A UC Davis undergraduate in art studio was arrested early Saturday morning, 17 March, in his dorm room, by members of both the UC Davis and City of Davis Police. He was charged with Felony Vandalism and held in jail over the weekend and into finals week; his school supplies, phone and computer were all confiscated. With no access to his contacts nor warning of the arrest, he was unable to contact legal representation. Incommunicado in jail, he was unable to take final exams, and was only bailed out (for $20,000) when concerned friends began looking for him after he had been missing for days. UC Davis Student Judicial Affairs, which initiated the warrant for his arrest, didn’t bother to notify his home department, his family, friends, or professors to let them know the student’s whereabouts.

Several weeks later, both Student Judicial Affairs and Student Housing threatened him with disciplinary measures including eviction and expulsion, in addition to the criminal charges they initiated through Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig. The student, who entered UCD as a transfer student last fall, has since been expelled based on poor academic performance, on top of criminal charges that may carry a 3-4 year sentence and $10,000 fine. As a student prominently involved with Occupy UC Davis, arrested during the pepper spray incident on Nov. 18, 2011, these charges appear to be a means to intimidate and punish him for political activism.

The charges against this student-activist are in line with the ongoing and systematic police and legal repression of the Occupy movement. Threatening people with inflated or trumped-up charges, a familiar tactic in many vulnerable communities, is now increasingly wielded as a strategy to chill political dissent on campuses — a way of exacting punishment in jail time, legal expenses, and interference with other obligations before the opportunity for trial. “This is the new de facto regime of guilty until proven innocent, and it should be opposed by every decent person,” said Joshua Clover, a professor at Davis. The university News Service, which reports directly to Chancellor Katehi, has already expressed its enthusiasm for engaging “law enforcement to prosecute proven violations” — seeming to misunderstand the legal relation of trials, proof, and guilt almost entirely, with harmful consequences for students.

The Reynoso Task Force Report on the UCD Pepper Spray Incident just last week verified that the administration’s unfounded hysteria regarding the Occupy movement resulted in their extralegal use of force against student activists. Importantly, the Reynoso Report also underscored the need for campus authorities to handle student political protest through already established, appropriate channels; namely through the SJA and Student Affairs—and not by means of police and criminal charges.

We urge the UCD campus community and the general public to reject categorically the administration’s use of legal maneuvering to suppress political dissent.

Bring a cushion, 5,000 friends, your favorite textbook, and a colorful sign to the Office of Letters and Sciences [at 1:30pm, Thursday]! We’re going to meet at the building’s ground level entrance. If you can’t attend this event, support Tomas at his arraignment this Friday: https://www.facebook.com/events/217176528382173/

FREE TOMAS! WE DEMAND HIS IMMEDIATE RE-ADMITTANCE!

Update:

After a student and faculty sit-in, Tomas was readmitted.

Related:

Davis Dozen Press Release

11 April 2012

Occupy UC Davis Antirepression Crew Media
oucd-antirepression-media@googlegroups.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

What: Call-In to Oppose Prosecution of the 12 UCD Protesters
Contact: Yolo County District Attorney at (530) 666-8180 or Fax: (530)666-8423
Support: Come to the Arraignment on Friday, April 27th, 8:30am at the Yolo County Superior Court, Dept. 9, 213, Third Street, Woodland, CA, 95695

11 UC DAVIS STUDENTS, PROFESSOR, CHARGED FOR U.S. BANK BLOCKADE

Accused May Face up to Eleven Years in Prison

Just months after UC Davis police pepper sprayed seated students in the face during a protest against university privatization and police brutality, Chancellor Linda Katehi’s administration is trying to send some of the same students to prison for their alleged role in protests that led to the closure of a US Bank branch on campus.

On 29 March, weeks after an anti-privatization action against US Bank ended with the closure of the bank’s campus branch, 11 UC Davis students and one professor received orders to appear at Yolo County Superior Court. District Attorney Jeff Reisig is charging campus protesters with 20 counts each of obstructing movement in a public place, and one count of conspiracy. If convicted, the protesters could face up to 11 years each in prison, and $1 million in damages.

The charges were brought at the request of the UC Davis administration, which had recently received a termination letter from US Bank holding the university responsible for all costs, claiming they were “constructively evicted” because the university had not responded by arresting the “illegal gathering.” Protesters point out that the charges against them serve to position the university favorably in a potential litigation with US Bank.

Three of the protesters had received summons from UCD Student Judicial Affairs in mid-February, and it was only after US Bank announced that it had permanently closed its doors that the UCD administration requested that the DA bring criminal charges against the 12. Supporters argue that the university is targeting the dozen in order to limit its liability to US Bank and that the university is effectively using public funds (through the DA’s office) to protect a private corporation’s right to profit from increasingly indebted students at an increasingly expensive public university.

Among the 12 are some of the protesters pepper sprayed by campus police during the infamous November incident. But whereas the District Attorney declined to file charges against protesters then, this less publicized prosecution seems to be an attempt to punish the dissenting students, perhaps in retaliation for their pending ACLU lawsuit against the university. “We might not think of this as violence, because there aren’t broken bones or pepper spray or guns—it’s not as explicit—but sending someone to jail, holding them for a day, let alone 11 years, is violence,” said Andrew Higgins, a graduate student in History and representative of the UC graduate student union.

Supporters are requesting that the public contact the Yolo County District Attorney at (530) 666-8180 and voice their opposition to this prosecution. Supporters also request public attendance on the day of their arraignment, Friday, April 27th, 8:30am at the Yolo County Superior Court, Dept. 9, 213 Third Street, Woodland, CA, 95695. The website in support of the 12 accused is http://www.davisdozen.org.

[END OF PRESS RELEASE] (via BicycleBarricade)

Related

Letter of Solidarity with the Davis Dozen from their UC Berkeley Counterparts

5 April 2012

from UC Chilling Effects:

Last week, 12 students and professors were notified by the Yolo County District Attorney that they were being charged in relation to the blockade of an on-campus bank at UC Davis.  Protesters had blockaded the branch of US Bank in opposition to its exploitation of students at Davis, and the banking industry’s profit-taking through increasing student debt and rising tuition in general.  The protests were successful in getting the bank to close its doors and void its contract with UC Davis. Now, almost a month after the protests ended, these 12 are being charged with over 20 misdemeanor counts related to the blockades, and the Yolo County DA has indicated it might seek damages of up to $1 million dollars on behalf of the bank.

As the recipients of a similar set of belated charges from the Alameda County DA, brought against us in relations to the events of November 9 at UC Berkeley, when students tried to set up a small “Occupy” encampment there and were viciously beaten by the police, we want to extend our solidarity to the 12 protesters charged. We condemn this opportunism on the behalf of UC Davis police and administration. They are clearly using the Yolo County DA to accomplish repression which they feel they are unable to undertake on their own, after the widespread public outrage at their behavior last fall, when sitting protesters were serially and vindictively pepper-sprayed.  That incident, captured on video and viewed millions of times the world over, became an international symbol of the brutality of US police.

In a talk given last year, UC Irvine Professor Rei Terada reflected on the fallout from the UC Berkeley and UC Davis incidents by predicting that, in the immediate future, campuses were not likely to resort to “the kind of violence you can photograph.” The developments at Davis and Berkeley have proven her remarks uncannily prescient. Afraid of public outrage and its endangerment of their jobs, UC administrators and police departments have farmed out the job of repressing students to local prosecutors. This allows the campus administrators to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the charges, claiming such matters entirely outside of their jurisdiction, even though in all of these cases charges could not have been brought without the active encouragement and collaboration of campus police. And so we see that, at Berkeley, Chancellor Birgeneau claims that he knew nothing about the charges filed against UC Berkeley protesters, even though his police department had forwarded to the DA specific recommendations to charge all 13 people. Either Birgeneau is not telling the truth or UC police acted, in this matter, without his oversight. Both are evidence of incompetence. At Davis, Chancellor Katehi, who nearly lost her job after the pepper-spray incident, instructed her police department to avoid confrontation and let protesters continuously blockade the US Bank branch for close to eight weeks, without ever arresting any of them. But, wanting to have it both ways, her police then forwarded the cases to the Yolo County DA.

The last year has seen a remarkable flourishing of protest and resistance in this country. Hundreds of thousands of people have had the opportunity to experiment with new tactics and ideas. But this has also been a time of experiment and innovation for police forces and the courts, which have used the protests as a chance to deploy new weapons, and practice with new techniques of control and containment, as well as set new legal precedents which allow for greater repressive powers. This recent round of “jail-mail” might seem limited in scope but it sets the precedent for a future world where, based upon omnipresent surveillance, anybody who attends a protest might become the subject of a criminal complaint months or even years later.

We understand this development not as the exception to the rule but rather the confirmation of a general trend toward the continuous expansion of the powers of the state, where civil disobedience-style tactics which, in other times and other jurisdictions, might be treated as mere infractions are met with the threat of jail-time and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. We hope that all sane people will stand with us in calling on the Yolo County DA to drop the charges.

written by several of those charged for the events of Nov. 9

(via Cuntrastamu!)

Strike & Actions Against Police Brutality at the UC

28 November 2011

CALIFORNIA – On Friday, November 18, students at UC Davis followed UC Berkeley protests the previous week and set up tents in the UCD quad in solidarity with students and faculty beat at UC Berkeley and the occupation movement. When UC police ordered a dispersal of the quad, non-violent protestors sat down and linked arms. At this point, Officer Pike retrieved a can of pepper spray and casually sprayed sitting students three times. An angry crowd began to gather around the police, demanding they leave — after which, the police conceded and left. Demonstrators gathered and called for a rally that following Monday. On Monday, some 5-10,000 students, workers and faculty gathered in the UCD quad and held a General Assembly. The UC Davis GA last Monday ratified a call for a strike for today, November 28. Solidarity actions have been organized at multiple other UC campuses. Among the top concerns include resignation of UCD Chancellor Katehi, some form of accountability of UC police or no police on campus (see UCD English Dept.), and no tuition increases. Today is also the first day of the UC Regents meeting that was rescheduled due to planned protests; this meeting will be teleconferenced from several locations including UC Davis.

Updates:

6:00am – UCSC business building Hahn has been shut down with students blocking entrances. Read more

20111128-103619.jpg
(above: UCLA; some 19 regents are present at UCLA)

10:50pm – Around 500 present at different teachins at UCD.

~1pm: Some 200 students at UC Davis have occupied Dutton Hall, reportedly in solidarity with students who shutdown Hahn student services at UCSC

2:45pm – UCSC Hahn student services is occupied by 100-150 students. Specifically the financial aid office and surrounding halls. Support will be needed.

20111128-034444.jpg
(above: UCD Dutton)

3:50pm – Occupied Hahn is holding a General Assembly right now.

4:15pm – Occupied Hahn GA is over and will reconvene at 7pm.

6:45pm – Occupied Dutton has decided to stay the night

7:15pm – Occupied Dutton has decided to stay for the next two weeks with three demands:

1) Katehi’s immediate resignation

2) Cops off campus, with alternative safety force (to be worked out)

3) Immediate freeze on tuition

~11:30pm – Occupied Hahn at UCSC has decided to stay for at least the night. The previous General Assembly that helped establish the Hahn actions today previously approved the same demands that Occupied Dutton ratified today in solidarity with Davis students. An assembly will be held at the occupation at 9am, with another GA to follow later.

Tuesday, 29 November

~11am – Hahn occupiers decide to vacate the building to allow student services to return to their normal function, including Disability Resources. Upon vacating the building, occupiers have supplied a list of demands to the administration.

Letter to President Yudof objecting to hiring William Bratton to investigate UC Davis pepper-spray incident

28 November 2011

November 27, 2011

President Mark G. Yudof
University of California
1111 Franklin St., 12th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607
Fax: (510) 987-9086

Dear President Yudof,

The Council of University of California Faculty Associations (CUCFA) protests your decision to hire the Kroll Security Group, and its Chairman William Bratton, to conduct what you call an independent investigation of police violence at UC Davis. We take no position here on Mr. Bratton’s personal qualifications; our objection is to the conflicts of interest of Kroll Security itself, which is already a major contractor with UC on security matters. According to its website, Kroll’s services are not confined to securing databases and facilities from attacks by criminals and terrorists. It also protects many global financial institutions and other multinationals against threats to “operations” that may come from public criticism and direct political action.

By deepening UC’s links to Kroll, you would be illustrating the kinds of connection between public higher education and Wall Street that the Occupy UC movement is protesting. Kroll’s parent company, Altegrity, provides data-mining, intelligence and on-the-ground security to financial institutions and governments seeking to head off and defeat both private sabotage and public protest. In addition, Altegrity’s parent company, Providence Private Equity, is a major global investor in for-profit higher education companies that benefit from the decline of publicly funded higher education.

We already know that Kroll has provided security services to at least three UC campuses for the past several years. This in itself would disqualify Mr. Bratton from participating in the investigation you propose, even if the role of Kroll and its affiliated companies in defending the financial sector against OWS did not raise further questions about its pro-Wall Street and pro-privatization bias.

A truly independent investigation that would allow UC to provide a credible response to the events at Davis (and the other campuses) needs to address several questions that would not be seriously considered if you hire Kroll.

  • What was your role and that of UC General Counsel in the events at Davis? Did you, as a distinguished first amendment scholar, tell chancellors and campus police chiefs that protests (especially protests against UC’s own policies) are “part of the DNA of this University” that should not be addressed using the same techniques that UC has developed (likely with the help of Kroll) to deal with terrorists, shooters, and cyber-saboteurs? (Even if you have been a zealous defender of the rising student movement to restore public higher education, such a conclusion would not be credible coming from an investigation tainted by Kroll’s conflicts of interest outlined above.)
  • What was and is the role of Kroll in helping banks and public institutions (including UC) investigate and defeat movements such as OWS and their campus counterparts? Is Kroll now acting as a liaison between universities, city governments and the Department of Homeland Security in defending the financial sector against protests occurring on what used to be considered public spaces? Are protests against Wall Street in such spaces now considered a threat to the security of the nation, the city and the public university? (The growing securitization of public space has been a major obstacle to first amendment activity since 9-11.)
  • How much money has UC and its individual campuses paid to Kroll for security services? Were these contracts issued as sole source contracts or was there open bidding? Were Kroll’s services confined to protecting, for example, the privacy and integrity of data systems and faculty and staff conducting animal research or did they extended to what Kroll’s website calls “organizational threats” arising from “the dynamic and sometimes conflicting needs of the entire campus population?” (This could be a description of the student protests that you rightly regard as “central to our history” as a university.)
  • What led to the issuance of false and misleading statements by University of California officials (Chancellors and their assistants, spokespeople, and police chiefs) in the aftermath of police violence at Berkeley and Davis? Did you encourage these efforts at spin control? (Dishonest statements seriously damage the university as an institution devoted to truth and protect only the individuals whose decisions are in question.)

The broader issue is how protest can be part of what you characterized as “our university’s DNA” when the right to protest is not formally recognized within the university’s own codes of student and faculty conduct. It could be and should be. The CSU student code states explicitly that “[n]othing in this Code may conflict with Education Code Section 66301 that prohibits disciplinary action against students based on behavior protected by the first amendment.” If such language were included in the UC code of conduct, students would have a clear first amendment defense against disciplinary action arising from peaceful political protest-and there would be strong grounds for questioning the legality of a police order to disperse a peaceful protest from a public site on a public university campus. The explicit incorporation of constitutional limits on UC’s power to break up demonstrations that threaten its march toward privatization would go a long way toward recovering UC as a public, rather than a private, space. We urge you to see that the UC codes of conduct are amended to parallel those in place at CSU.

Events at Davis and the other campuses have shown the University of California in a negative light, and we agree strongly with the need for an independent investigation. We believe, however, that your appointment of Kroll to investigate the university’s response to last week’s protest could itself become a basis for new protests, and that you should ask Speaker Perez (or someone unaffiliated with the University) to appoint a genuinely independent committee with representatives from student, faculty, staff and civil liberties groups. Such a committee should be given a specific charge to investigate and report on all of the questions set forth above.

Robert Meister,
President, Council of UC Faculty Associations
Professor History of Consciousness and Political and Social Thought, UC Santa Cruz

(via CUCFA)

No Cops, No Bosses

20 November 2011

from BicycleBarricade:

By now much of the world has seen video and photos of Lt. John Pike of the UC Davis police department as he discharged a canister of burning chemicals into the faces of students seated in the center of the university quad. Most viewers are outraged, and justifiably so. Much of the outrage has been directed at John Pike. He deserves it. But we should remind ourselves that Friday’s police violence was only an aberration because it happened on a university campus not easily assimilable to the stereotype of “Berkeley radicals” and to students who are perceived or portrayed as mostly white and as resisting passively. Whiteness is brought up here, not to chastise those who only now denounce police violence that has been routinely applied to non-white communities and individuals—this itself is a misperception of Friday’s events: a majority of those arrested were not white—but to invite readers, new and old, to extend the critique of police violence beyond the walls of the university to the communities whose life it damages every single day.

Friday’s punitive violence, as terrible as it was, is not an example of bad policing. It is an example of policing.

We’ve seen this kind of violence used before on California campuses, and not just in response to the anti-privatization protests and occupations of the past two years. We’re seeing it used now to suppress dissent in cities across the world, from Oakland to Cairo.

When UC Davis police chief Annette Spicuzza says she is “very proud” of her officers, who “did a great job,” she is convinced that this is true. It’s not simply a public relations strategy, it’s a reflection of the fact that her officers did what cops are expected to do: employ violence against those who challenge authority.

This is why we do not demand the dismissal of Lt. John Pike, although it would be welcome.

Our demand is COPS OFF CAMPUS. Period.
(more…)