...unless you want to get arrested by the UCPD.
DE just emailed the student body with his reaction to some of the recent activity on campus involving law students and UCPD. There will be a town hall meeting tomorrow at lunch (location TBD) for Boalt students to discuss. There is also talk of a student strike on Tuesday, in opposition of recent UCPD behavior and to support the greater protest movement at Cal.
I just have a few initial thoughts: 1) I appreciate getting this information; 2) I appreciate the way KVH and MM handled the situation in the heat of the moment; 3) Just because UC has a campus regulation doesn't mean that regulation is constitutional and/or good policy; 4) Just because UC has a campus regulation that sometimes makes sense doesn't mean UCPD should enforce it by senselessly harassing individual students not bothering anyone; 5) I would really like to hear DE's thoughts (or actually, maybe Professor B*mberger or Ch*per's thoughts) on the other well-documented UCPD actions in Sproul; 6) I hope DE is pressuring UCPD to leave us alone and keep their distance from the law school.
This memo would be shorter, with fewer typos, if I had more time.
1: I have asked by staff colleagues to arrange for a brief “Town Hall” meeting for our community tomorrow, Monday, during the lunch hour. The location is likely to be the “west commons” outdoor space, but details will be nailed down first thing Monday morning. This will be an opportunity to share information and, I hope, constructive ideas. The issues I imagine people may want to discuss include not only UC Police Department actions with respect to our students, but also the Occupy Cal protests, the broader Occupy movement, and the relationship of these to the future of our University. I envision this as highly participatory, not performance art by me as dean.
2: I returned a few hours ago from a week of travel to Seattle and Shanghai. While abroad I received reports on the campus protests and police actions, but it was impossible for me to be fully sure of the facts. I now know more, which is what I wanted before shooting my mouth off – especially since none of our students were in any immediate crisis.
3: Although the Law School was distant from the protests on Sproul Plaza, we (my colleagues in Boalt’s administration) know of two incidents involving Law students who were walking across Kroeber Plaza, the fountain west/downhill from us. On their way to class, the students were stopped and detained by U.C. police officers stationed near the Law School. Here’s what we think happened: Police physically detained the first student and confiscated some signs he was carrying. He was released when he produced UC Berkeley student identification; the police allege that he initially refused to do so. Later, police physically detained a second student, confiscated her bullhorn, and instituted arrest proceedings-- including handcuffing her and placing her in a squad car. Unlike the first student, she did not have her ID with her. As this second student was being arrested, our Director of Student Services Mindi  arrived on the scene. She had been phoned by students witnessing these events unfolding. [Mindi] convinced the officers that this was a Boalt student. The police then removed the handcuffs and cited the student for a misdemeanor, without formally arresting her. (This latter point is important for purposes of admission to a bar to practice law. Getting arrested, under any circumstances, is not something a law student can afford to take lightly. Please remember that it will create headaches later, including demands for elaborate explanations.)
4: All of this has raised questions about police behavior in our community. Several students have asked, "Why were police stationed at this end of campus, when the protest activity was on Sproul Plaza?" Associate Dean [KVH], who went to investigate when she learned of the first incident, spoke with one of the UCPD officers involved. He told her that they were under orders to prevent the occupation of Kroeber Plaza (the fountain area) and any surrounding buildings. The police also know that I have insisted on various occasions that protests at Boalt are generally fine, and even welcome if by members of our community. But I draw the line at disruption of classes because we should respect the right-to-learn of students and instructors. (I’m mindful of the tuition.)
Associate Dean [KVH] also asked officers why they stopped someone who was simply walking by himself, carrying signs. A UCPD officer cited to 5 CCR 100014, which limits the size of any sign, placard, banner, etc. that non-affiliate visitors to UC campuses are allowed to carry onto the campus. When they saw a person carrying large, protest signs they stopped and asked him for ID because if he were a non-affiliate then he would be told to leave campus. Officers stated that they would not have detained the student if he had shown his Cal ID. (We don’t know at what point any or all of this information was shared with the student, if ever.) Dean [KVH] explained that it is likely many students were not aware that they were required to carry and show ID while on campus. UCPD officers responded that if any students should know the law it would be Law students. (A natural mistake. They obviously have the wrong idea about what we do.) Dean [KVH] then argued that detaining our student was counterproductive, unnecessary, and would likely escalate matters.
After this discussion the police van, which held the six officers, left the area. Dean [KVH] assumed these six officers were off to the real action on Sproul Plaza, so went back into Boalt to try to find out more details about what happened.
Unfortunately, the officers returned a short time later and the second incident occurred, this time with Mindi  playing defensive tackle. Then, after the second incident, Dean [KVH] sent an email to everyone in the law school community, warning them that there had been two confrontational situations, letting everyone know that UCPD was demanding ID, and noting that they appeared to be concentrating on people with large signs, banners, and sound amplification devices. She suggested that students avoid the West Terrace area if possible. She then stayed late into the evening and monitored Kroeber Plaza. She also instructed the Community Service Officer on duty in the South Addition, who was monitoring police radio calls in the area, to call her if there was any problems arose. On both Wednesday and Thursday Mindi  also met repeatedly with students about the incidents.
5: To characterize the Law School administration’s response as “unsupportive” seems incorrect. Actually, with my jet lag it seems nutty. I don’t know how we could have responded better, although we are certainly open to suggestions. My colleagues did not wake me up in Shanghai, which I appreciate because they performed brilliantly without me. They always have.
6: These and other UCPD actions will be dissected at great length, I am sure. There’s a campus investigative body for that purpose. There may be disciplinary actions, there may be changes in training, or there may be nothing. In any case, I hope that our Law School community we will turn quickly to the broader issues that animate the Occupy movement, which deserve the nation’s attention and ours.
7: Finally, here is something to consider. Police in these circumstances are perfectly within the law to demand identification. That doesn’t excuse inappropriate force, or just plain non-rational actions, if either of those occurred. But as far as I can tell, if both students had been willing and able to quickly produce Cal identification, that would have been the end of it. Since the incidents last Wednesday, many students have asked whether they really have to carry their Cal ID cards and show them to UCPD on demand. Campus policy, as stated on the Cal 1 Card website, is that all students, staff and faculty MUST carry their Cal1 ID whenever they are on campus. The card itself states that "[t]his card...must be shown to Campus representatives on demand." In addition, UCB Regulation 211 states: "All persons on campus property must abide by University policies and campus regulations and must identify themselves upon request to University officials acting in the performance of their duties." The Berkeley Campus Student Code of Conduct (102.16) states that: Failure to identify oneself to, or comply with the directions of, a University official or other public official acting in the performance of his or her duties while on University Property or at official University functions; or resisting or obstructing such University or other public officials in the performance of or the attempt to perform their duties is grounds for discipline. Having said all of that, most of the time I don’t carry my Cal ID because I would lose it if I did.
PS: This statement reflects what I think I know as of 7:00 p.m. Sunday evening.