Open Letter to the UC Regents: Police Violence at UC Riverside – With response from President Yudof

Dr. Charles Thorpe, Associate Professer of Sociology at UCSD, posted the following open letter to the UC Regents at to condemn police aggression at last week’s protests at UC Riverside (captured in the youtube video by a UCSD student below).  In less than a week, 78 signatures were gathered including 45 members of the UCSD faculty.  Other open letters about this event have been posted at the Nation.

An Open Letter to the UC Regents,

When the Board of Regents met at UC Riverside last Thursday (January 19, 2012), police officers engaged in violence against students and staff members who had gathered to protest. News reports and video footage document officers jabbing protesters with batons and firing projectiles. This follows outcry within the UC community, across the United States, and internationally about police violence toward protesters at UC Berkeley on November 9 and UC Davis on November 18. We, the undersigned faculty of the University of California, San Diego, believe that the use of violence against students and staff exercising their right to peaceful protest is entirely unacceptable. Such use of force by police against peaceful protesters runs directly counter to values of reason, dialogue, and free expression that are basic to the very idea of the university as an institution. We therefore call on the Board of Regents to publicly condemn the use of violent tactics in the policing of campus protest.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Charles Thorpe, Sociology
Professor Morana Alac, Communciation
Professor Lisa Cartwright, Communication
Professor Ivan Evans, Sociology (President, UC San Diego Faculty Association)
Professor Martha Lampland, Sociology
Professor Chandra Mukerji, Communication
Professor Luis Martin-Cabrera, Literature
Professor Ross Frank, Ethnic Studies
Professor Wm. Arctander O’Brien, Literature
Alanna Aiko Moore, Subject Librarian, Social Sciences and Humanities Library
Professor Roshanak Kheshti, Ethnic Studies
Professor Christian Wuthrich, Philosophy
Professor Tara Knight, Theatre
Professor Stefan Tanaka, History
Professor Brian Goldfarb, Communication
Professor Zeinabu Davis, Literature
Professor John Blanco, Literature
Professor Stephanie Jed, Literature
Professor Robert Horwitz, Communication
Professor Valerie Hartouni, Communication
Professor Nitin Govil, Communication
Professor Patrick Anderson, Communication
Professor Guillermo Algaze, Anthropology
Professor April Linton, Sociology
Professor Marcel Henaff, Literature
Professor Kelly Gates, Communication
Professor Isaac Martin, Sociology
Professor Nancy Caciola, History
Professor Anna Joy Springer, Literature
Professor Nina Zhiri, Literature
Professor Rosaura Sanchez, Literature
Professor Lisa Lowe, Literature
Professor Rebecca Klatch, Sociology
Dr. Beatrice Pita, Literature
Harrod Suarez, Lecturer, Ethnic Studies
Professor Jann Pasler, Music
Professor Anya S. Gallaccio, Visual Arts
Professor Robert Westman, History
Professor Jin-Kyung Lee, Literature
Professor Gerald Doppelt, Philosophy
Professor Rachel Klein, History
Professor Fred Lonidier, Visual Arts (President, UC-AFT Local 2034)
Professor Ricardo Dominguez, Visual Arts
Professor Kartik Seshadri, Music
Professor Louis Hock, Visual Arts
Professor Adam Burgasser, Physics

Update 2/23/2012:

President Yudof responds with the following letter:

Response from President Yudof

1 comment on Open Letter to the UC Regents: Police Violence at UC Riverside – With response from President Yudof

  1. This is absurd propaganda diminishing the credibility of honest, peaceful protesters. Get your facts straight. I was there, and though most protesters were peaceful, a small crowd of them certainly were not – they were threatening, assertive, and violent. That is NOT ok. They were taunting the police all day – it looked like they were intentionally trying to provok them – and late Thursday afternoon they became physically aggressive. I SAW one of them assault an officer with a stick (who was rightfully arrested) – and assertively approach police. I also saw one non-student break away from the crowd in a police standoff and go through campus yelling, “the police are batoning your fellow students!”- when it was not true. (the only time I saw police putting up their batons was in a defensive measure, and that was later in the day) It became unlawful assembly when some protesters blocked exit access to the regents and started to get aggressive. Freedom of speech has limitations (e.g. you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater) – you can’t threaten anyone’s safety, and you can’t infringe upon other people’s rights. Blocking public access to anyone (in this case the Regents) = infringing upon their rights. “Negotiation” of their exit = they are being held hostage, and that’s not morally okay, or lawful. It’s being a bully. To act like the police responded to “peaceful protesters” is a lie – they responded to threatening extremists who were infringing on the rights of others. As someone who wants to protest rising tuitions, it disgusted me, and it disgusts me that propaganda like this is being spread as truth. Therefore call upon yourselves to research the facts and publicly condemn the use of violent tactics in protesting. Target non-peaceful protesters and target the real problem – the politicians in Sacramento who keep slashing the UC education budget (that is, unless you are in bed with them – then this all makes sense, and is especially shameful).

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