OAKLAND — University of California officials today (May 4) released a report that examines policies and practices related to UC responses to campus protests.
After incidents involving police and protesting students at the Berkeley and Davis campuses last November, UC President Mark G. Yudof directed General Counsel Charles F. Robinson and Christopher F. Edley Jr., dean of the UC Berkeley Law School, to identify best practices that could shape responses to such demonstrations in the future.
The draft report will be online at http://campusprotestreport.universityofcalifornia.edu for three weeks to give stakeholders and the public a chance to comment via email. The comments will be considered, and the final report will be submitted to President Yudof by late May. Recommendations requiring changes in UC policy will be handled through standard review processes.
In their report, Robinson and Edley provided 50 recommendations in nine categories, including:
- Defining and clearly communicating the free speech rights and responsibilities of the university community, while clarifying that civil disobedience by definition involves violating laws or regulations and generally will have consequences for those engaging in it.
- Establishing a system for coordination between police and campus administrators with well-defined roles, emphasizing that ultimate responsibility for the campus response rests with the chancellor.
- Improving communication with protestors before and during demonstrations.
- Establishing strategies for finding peaceful solutions to protests without using police force, while also providing guidance to law enforcement if administrators decide a police response is needed.
"These recommendations, and UC's approach to peaceful protest on our campuses in the future, are guided by academic values that foster a diversity of ideas and encourage spirited debate," said Edley. "It is through this lens that we must continue to examine these issues and adjust our course of action."
Edley and Robinson met with students, faculty and staff in public forums at several UC campuses.
They emphasized that their work was driven by the belief that free expression is essential to the mission of the University of California. The goal was to identify practices that facilitate such expression, while also protecting the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, police and the general public. Robinson and Edley noted that since they began work on this report, incidents elsewhere in the country have underscored the need for such analysis.
"This report highlights the responsibility, shared by all members of the university community, to ensure that the rights of free speech are respected - in fact honored - and that peaceful, lawful protests exist on our campuses." Robinson said. "At the same time, it is important to recognize the role that civil disobedience may play in such demonstrations, and the attendant consequences."
The full report is available for download at http://campusprotestreport.universityofcalifornia.edu.