Friday, December 4, 2009

Open Letter to Chancellor Block from 100 UCLA Faculty to Investigate Police Actions at Regents Meeting


Dear Chancellor Block,

As UCLA faculty we write to express our grave concern over the behavior of the Campus Police during the Regents meeting at UCLA. There are clearly documented examples (in both video and photographic evidence) of officers using tasers and batons on students, at least one incident of a security figure using either mace or pepper spray on students, as well as officers displaying tear gas rifles and pointing weapons at students. On a campus devoted to the free interchange of ideas and the rights of individuals to express their political views, these actions of the police were unacceptable.

We recognize that UCPD has the difficult task of balancing the security of the Regents with the free speech rights of protesters. We also recognize that protests are by their nature unpredictable and difficult to control. These challenges make it all the more important that campus police, as a force and as individuals, should avoid behavior that escalates tensions. Perhaps the UCPD considered the stance of their forces to be a deterrent to violence? Unfortunately, there is ample evidence to suggest that it had the opposite effect, serving only to raise tensions and intimidate individuals who were protesting the Regents’ actions.

We also recognize that the more egregious uses of force may have been individual actions rather than a common policy. But we would like to know what the protocols and policies are regarding the use of force. Officers wearing riot gear and carrying weapons should be trained and deployed in a manner that enables them to handle the unquestionable pressures of their position. Did Campus police prepare properly and plan for the meeting so as to minimize conflict and harm? While there have been some criticisms of protestors for their challenges to the Regents entering and leaving the building, it was the protestors who suffered most from the effects of the use of force. In what way did campus police and the event’s planners prepare the police to act appropriately? What steps were taken to ensure the safety not only of the Regents and University officials but students, staff, and faculty protesters?

We think that these events indicate a serious problem—not only for the individuals who suffered personally, but for the University as it moves ahead. UCLA has a long-standing tradition of vibrant political debate and the defense of First Amendment rights. There is, as you know, a good deal of distrust between students and the Administration. Your willingness to meet with students in a GSA led town hall meeting was an important first step. But a full and open investigation of last week’s events, as well as a review of campus policy on protests is required. We also call upon you to make a general statement to the Campus community that addresses the events of the Regents meeting and lays out the process of the Campus’ review of protocol and practice for ensuring the safety of all involved in future events.


Edward A. Alpers, History
Andrew Apter, History
George Baker, Art History
Victor Bascara, Asian American Studies
Ali Behdad, English / Comparative Literature
Maylei Blackwell, Chicana & Chicano Studies
Gary Blasi, School of Law
Ra'anan Boustan, History / Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
Joseph Bristow, English
Karen Brodkin, Emeritus Anthropology
Carole H. Browner, Anthropology / Women's Studies / Neuroscience & Human Behavior
Shane Butler, Classics
Keith Camacho, Asian American Studies
Judy Carney, Geography
Jack Chen, Asian Languages & Cultures
Michael Chwe, Political Science
Michelle Clayton, Comparative Literature / Spanish and Portuguese
Michael Cooperson, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
Donald Cosentino, World Arts & Cultures
Susan Curtiss, Linguistics
Jan De Leeuw, Statistics
Elizabeth DeLoughrey, English
Robin Derby, History
Helen Deutsch, English
Ellen Dubois, History / Women’s Studies
Aisha Finch, Women's Studies / Afro-American Studies
Matthew Fisher, English
Russell Ferguson, Art
Susan Foster, World Arts & Cultures
Andrea Fraser, Art
Dan Froot, World Arts & Cultures
Nouri Gana, Comparative Literature
Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Chicana and Chicano Studies
David Gere, World Arts & Cultures
Mishuana Goeman, Women's Studies
Andrea Goldman, History
Yogita Goyal, English
Nile Green, History
Gerry Hale, Emeritus, Geography
Sondra Hale, Anthropology / Women's Studies
Christian Haesemeyer, Mathematics
Natasha Heller, Asian Languages and Cultures
Tobias Higbie, History
Darnell Hunt, Sociology
Gail Kligman, Sociology
Grace Kyungwon Hong, Asian American Studies / Women's Studies
Sanford M. Jacoby, Management
Sarah Tindal Kareem, English
Katherine Callen King, Comparative Literature / Classics
Gordon Kipling, English
Raymond Knapp, Musicology
Namhee Lee, Asian Languages & Cultures
Rachel Lee, English
Francoise Lionnet, French & Francophone / Comparative Literature
Arthur Little, English
Chris Littleton, School of Law / Women’s Studies
Christopher Looby, English
David Wong Louie, English / Asian American Studies
Marissa López, English
Ghislaine Lydon, History
Reynaldo F. Macías, Chicana & Chicano Studies / Education & Applied Linguistics
Saree Makdisi, English / Comparative Literature
Elizabeth Marchant, Spanish & Portuguese / Women’s Studies
Victoria Marks, World Arts & Cultures
Valerie Matsumoto, History / Asian American Studies
Peter McClaren, Graduate School of Education
Kirstie McClure, Comparative Literature / Political Science
Kathleen McHugh, English
Muriel McClendon, History
Sara Melzer, French & Francophone
Michael Meranze, History
Ruth Milkman, Sociology
Kathryn Morgan, Classics
Peter Nabokov, World Arts & Cultures
Steven Nelson, Art History
Sianne Ngai, English
Thu-huong Nguyen-vo, Asian Languages & Cultures / Asian American Studies
Chon Noriega, Film, Television & Digital Media
Sung Deuk Oak, Asian Languages & Cultures
Frances Olsen, School of Law
Catherine Opie, Art
Vilma Ortiz, Sociology
John K. Papdopoulos, Classics / Archeology
Rafael Pérez-Torres, English
Peter Petersen, Mathematics
Meredith Phillips, School of Public Affairs / Public Policy
Gabriel Piterberg, History
María Cristina Pons, Chicana and Chicano Studies
Lionel Popkin, World Arts & Cultures
Jeffrey Prager, Sociology
Alex Purvas, Classics
Allen Roberts, World Arts & Cultures
Mary Nooter Roberts, World Arts & Cultures
Vilma Ortiz, Sociology
Jan Reiff, History
Geoff Robinson, History
Teofilo Ruiz, History
Michael Salman, History
Mark Sawyer, Political Science
David A. Scott, Art History / Archeological Conservation
Mark Seltzer, English
Jenny Sharpe, English
Shu-mei Shih, Comparative Literature / Asian Languages & Cultures
David Shorter, World Arts & Cultures
Susan Slyomovics, Anthropology
Zrinka Stahuljak, French & Francophone Studies
Timothy R. Tangherlini, Asian Languages & Cultures
Dominic Thomas, French & Francophone / Comparative Literature
Chris Tilly, Urban Planning / Sociology
Sharon Traweek, Women’s Studies / History
M. Belinda Tucker, Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences
Abel Valenzuela Jr., Chicana & Chicano Studies
Brian Walker, Political Science
Juliet Williams, Women’s Studies
E. Victor Wolfenstein, Political Science
Steven Yenser, English

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