UC Berkeley discusses use of force on protesters


UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Brigeneau stood before a packed room of teachers, students and activists to apologize for the events of Nov. 9.

"I was extremely unhappy with how the events unfolded on that particular day," Brigeneau said.

Early this month, UC Berkeley police used batons to break through a line of protestors who had linked their arms and at UC Davis, police pepper sprayed demonstrators who were sitting with arms linked in the campus quad, both incident sparked a national outrage.

Mandy Cohen was part of the Nov. 9 demonstration to protest higher tuition. She says she was beaten by police. She and others came to the meeting to address the Academic Senate directly.

"I think it was outrageous, I think this shouldn't happen on the university campus," Cohen said.

The role of the senate is to provide the framework for university governance. Decisions made here, carry the weight of the entire faculty.

"Finding a way to go forward that helps us as a campus and as a university is an important thing to think about," UC Berkeley Academic Senate Faculty Chair Professor Bob Jacobsen said.

Berkeley Professor Brian Barsky has one of several proposals on the use of force by police for non-violent demonstrators being presented today.

"Protests that are non-violent, with the violence initiated by the police, unjustified and even to the level of injuring our students and our colleagues and this is what we really want to have stopped," Barsky said.

Also Monday, the UC Berkeley Police Officer's Association issued an open letter to the public. In it, they mention their mission to "better serve students and faculty members" and how they "welcome ideas…to avoid future confrontations."

"Of course you have a right to peaceful protest, we have a long history of that here at Berkeley and we hope that we will not see a repeat of what appears to have happened on Nov. 9," Brigeneau said.

The Academic Senate will review and vote on each proposal.

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