ReFund California Statement on the “Independent Investigation” of Violence Against Occupy Wall Street Protests at UC and CSU

On November 4th, the Refund California coalition called on the UC Regents to sign a pledge to support making millionaires and banks pay for education.  We asked the UC, CSU, and Community College board members to sign because they are of the corporate and financial elite that has not been paying for education.  In many ways, that makes them much more powerful than Sacramento politicians.  Instead of signing the pledge, those board members at both UC AND CSU have had us beaten and pepper sprayed at public protests.  This makes it clear that they are serving their corporate and banking peers rather than the students and people of California.

On behalf of the UC Regents, President Yudof has announced a so-called “investigation” into this violent suppression by UCPD of peaceful, student-led protests.  Instead of responding openly to the serious concerns of students and workers, supporting our right to free speech and meeting openly with us to address our concerns, Regents and Chancellors across the state have repeatedly withdrawn from public scrutiny and sent police with orders to use force against us. The Regents, along with their chief of staff, President Mark Yudof, bear direct responsibility for the continuing escalation of police violence against non-violent, student protestors on our campuses.

In convening a Commission for the Regents, President Yudof is putting the foxes in charge of guarding the henhouse.  The three commission members are William Bratton, former police chief in both Los Angeles and New York City and current chair of Kroll Consulting Company, which has ongoing contracts with the UC administration for as much as $10,000,000; Charles Robinson, the Regents’ own general counsel and vice president for legal affairs; and last but not least, Christopher Edley, Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law, and private consultant to Yudof and the Regents on privatization of UC. All three members of this panel were party to the design and implementation of the excessive force deployed against our protests and/or the policies that were the object of protests.  All are privately contracted to represent and serve the Regents and their elite corporate and financial peers – NOT the university community, NOT the people of California, NOT the 99%.

No amount of new “police protocols” will prevent violence against students and workers, as long California’s corporate and financial elite along with their representatives among the Regents and administrators of the UC rely on police to address the concerns of students and workers.  The Refund CA Coalition therefore views this commission, and UCOP’s framing of the issue as one of police protocol, as a cynical PR move, rather than serious, independent inquiry.  We instead hope that the Assembly hearings that have been called will investigate how California’s corporate and financial elite have come to dominate our universities to the point that excessive force is used against those who demand those elites pay for education.