President Yudof’s Principles re Police Behavior
by Charles Schwartz, UC Berkeley
On November 23, 2011, I sent a request for information to the Public Records office at the University of California Office of the President (PRA@ucop.edu ). [PRA stands for California’s Public Records Act.]
This PRA request refers to the meeting with Chancellors convened by President Yudof on Monday, November 21, 2011, to discuss matters related to recent police behavior at campus protests. (I see a news report about that meeting listed at http://www.ucop.edu)
I request a copy of any and all minutes and notes of what transpired at that meeting.
I also request a copy of any recordings (audio and/or video) of that meeting.
On December 22 I received a response from that office.
From: Mark Yudof
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 14:28:29 -0800
Thank you for making time for our meeting Monday. These are difficult times and I deeply appreciate your commitment to ensuring that we address the challenges we face together as wisely and carefully as possible.
Below is a set of principles I suggest we all follow in the days and weeks to come. I realize many of you already have these processes, and more, in place, but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate them.
1. Campus police chiefs should be directed to show restraint when dealing with peaceful and lawful demonstrations.
2. Every campus should review its incident command plan and ensure that police follow specific protocols regarding appropriate responses and which decisions must be reviewed with campus leadership before action is taken.
3. Campuses should make every effort to ensure a member of the campus senior leadership team is on hand during major demonstrations and should consider making use of trained, independent staff observers.
Best wishes to you all and your families for a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving.
Yudof’s principle #1 is quite shocking. It specifies calling for police “to show restraint” only in certain circumstances: “when dealing with peaceful and lawful demonstrations.”
Does the President of our University have no understanding whatsoever of the concept of nonviolent civil disobedience? Such acts are often deliberate violations of some law, carried out by nonviolent means for moral and political reasons. According to Yudof’s principle, such demonstrations on this University’s campuses may well be met with violent (unrestrained) actions by our own police, acting under orders from the Chancellors.
Beyond that, who is to decide what constitutes a “peaceful” or “not peaceful” protest? Many a picket line will make a lot of noise which may disturb somebody’s peace.
Or perhaps it is worse than ignorance on Yudof’s part. Could it be that he meant to convey exactly that policy of police brutality in order to squash protests that might have a significant impact in opposing the administration which he heads?