November 30, 2011

Statement of the UC Davis German and Russian Department regarding the Police Brutality on Our Campus

Filed under: occupyucdavis, POV — dhi @ 9:04 am

While most of us have decided to make ourselves available to our students, we sympathize with the motivations that led to the call for a strike and support everyone who decides to participate in the strike.

We ask that the university administration address the following points:

  1. We are appalled about the police brutality on our campus on November 18. We ask that there be a thorough, independent investigation and that those responsible be held accountable.
  2. We ask that the administration make a strong commitment to the values that we as an academic community stand for: open communication, transparency, and shared governance. A top-down approach is particularly harmful in such lean times when everybody’s cooperation is required.
  3. We ask that the UC Davis rules regulating non-violent protest be revised. The current definition of civil disobedience and the reference to the refusal to comply with directions gives free rein to all forms of police brutality. Any revision will have to provide a detailed explanation of what actually constitutes a refusal “to comply with directions to leave an area for safety or other reasons.” Similarly, we ask that a revised version of the rules provide a detailed explanation of what constitutes “behavior that threatens health and safety.”

While these are our immediate concerns, we also want to emphasize that we believe in the value of public education and will continue to lobby for public funding for public universities. Moreover, we are convinced that the root cause of what happened on our campus is linked to the growing inequality in our society. The minimum wage in the pre-1970s was 50% higher than it is now. In 1979, the top 1% made 11 times the average of the other 99 %. Now the ratio is 26 times (see New York Times Magazine, Saturday, November 26, 2011). We believe that the protests against tuition hikes are related to this larger trend in society. We are proud of the fact that the University of California was created to provide education to all California citizens and deeply concerned that raising tuition will make a college education inaccessible for even more lower- and middle-class Americans.


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