Dear President Yudof,
A year ago, I told the regents that they needed to investigate recent incidents of police pepper spraying, tasering, and beating students. I said that we cannot have a real dialogue if students, faculty and workers are afraid that their actions will result in bodily harm. However, President Yudof, you and the Regents stood by the police and did nothing.
The same day I addressed the Regents, a police officer pulled a gun on several students. Once again, I urged the university to investigate and punish dangerous police actions, and still nothing was done. It has taken a viral video of police violence at UC Davis for the university to take this issue seriously.
While all of the attention is now on UC Davis, there needs to be an investigation of the broader culture of police hostility towards students, workers, and faculty. I believe this culture of violence starts at the top, and it is the Regents and the President who must be responsible for the safety on all of our campuses. When violent actions by the police continue to go unpunished, the administration sends the message that these acts are tolerated. What we need to do is to simply disarm the police on our campuses, which would follow the model of most private universities in America and most public universities around the world.
Bob Samuels, President, UC-AFT