UC Council Condemns Recent Police Actions

The council is making demands of university chancellors.

Sunday, Nov 20, 2011  |  Updated 1:59 PM PDT
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Occupying Wall Street and Beyond: May Day Protests

AP

University of California, Davis, student Mike Fetterman, receives a treatment for pepper spray by UC Davis firefighter Nate Potter, after campus police dismantled an Occupy Wall Street encampment on the campus quad in Davis, Calif., Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. UC Davis officials say eight men and two women were taken into custody. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

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The Council of University of California Faculty Associations  condemned police actions against protesters at several campuses this week,  according to a statement released Saturday.

 The council, an umbrella organization for the Faculty Associations  at each university campus, said that excessive force has been used against  non-violent protesters at the University of California at Berkeley, UC Los  Angeles, California State University at Long Beach and UC Davis.

 "Student, faculty and staff protesters have been pepper-sprayed  directly in the eyes and mouth, beaten and shoved by batons, dragged by the  arms while handcuffed, and submitted to other forms of excessive force," the  statement read.

"Protesters have been hospitalized because of injuries inflicted  during these incidents. The violence was unprovoked, disproportional and  excessive," it read.

The statement comes following protests in UC Davis Friday, where  demonstrators tried to establish an Occupy encampment on the campus's quad  that day.    

Police used pepper spray on sitting demonstrators, which was  videotaped and shared widely on sites like YouTube, provoking outrage from  throughout the campus.    

In Berkeley Nov. 9, police used batons to break up a circle of  protesters surrounding another intended Occupy encampment in Sproul Plaza.

    Video of police repeatedly jabbing protesters in the chest and  stomach with batons was also widely shared on the Internet, provoking  outrage.

 Before the demonstration, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau  issued a letter to protesters reminding them that camping on campus property  was not allowed.

Birgeneau defended the police action in a subsequent letter to  students and faculty, but said the incident would be investigated.

"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,"  Birgeneau said in his letter.

The Faculty Associations council demanded that university  chancellors stop using police violence to squelch protests.

"We hold them personally responsible for the violence and believe  it can only result in an escalation of outrage that holds the potential for  even more violence," the council's statement said.

The council also denounced the recent fee hikes that sparked the  university protests.

"Student debt has reached unprecedented levels as bank profits  swell. We decry the growing privatization and tuition increases that have  been the frequent-and-only responses of the UC Board of Regents," it said.

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