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On charging Nov 9th protesters

This is primarily for UC folks, but please, any and all, be in solidarity! 

(and context

1. Chancellor Birgeneau declared — under heavy pressure and criticism — that Nov 9 protesters would not face student conduct charges. He even apologized and took personal responsibility for what happened. Now that the Alameda County DA is laying criminal charges on them, his silence is deafening and infuriating. 

Birgeneau’s phone #: 510-642-7464 email: chancellor@berkeley.edu

2. The entire logic of having UC cops on campus — a rationale we’ve heard over and over again — is that they “share our values,” that if we don’t have “our” cops on campus, we’ll have to deal with outside cops policing us. Whether or not you agree with that, that’s the party line: Dean Edley said this at the police review meeting, and the general counsel, Charles Robinson, said exactly the same thing, in exactly the same words. What we are seeing here, however, is a total breakdown of that logic: the UC chooses not to charge its students and faculty, but says nothing as “outsiders” lay charges. 

Charles Robinson’s phone #: (510) 987-9938 email: charles.robinson@ucop.edu

3. Even more directly we should note that the DA’s actions are VERY convenient for the UC admins, who will be facing lawsuits for what their police did on Nov 9th. Having the Alameda county DA charge the plaintiffs — ostensibly an “independent” actor — serves to retroactively legitimize what the police did and insulate them from these lawsuits; putting criminal charges on people who are or could be suing for infringements on their civil liberties, or police brutality, makes police actions seem more legitimate.

4. Our beloved president loves to proclaim himself a first amendment scholar, and that “free speech” is in the UCB’s DNA. I think he needs to go back to school: this is (not only but also) a first amendment issue, and if the admins do not actively support their students’ right to assemble, they are actively abandoning their responsibility. Not that we expect anything less from them, of course. But we need to say that we see it, and as loudly as possible.

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