Saturday, October 1, 2011

Open Letter to Chancellor Birgeneau Regarding Tolman Hall Arrests

From Lines of Demarcation:
To: Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, EVCP George Breslauer, Chief Mitchell J. Celaya III, Stephen Stoll, Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, Tyrone Morrison, Records and Communications Supervisor

Accounts from on-site witnesses and from videos raise some disturbing questions about the behavior of UCB Police last Thursday night, September 22, toward students participating in the open occupation at Tolman Hall. According to witnesses, sometime shortly after 9 pm, police blocked the outside doors of the building, deliberately preventing students from leaving the building. The police did not communicate to the students their reasons for taking this action nor did they give any other information to the students prior to or after the unexpected blocking of the exit doors. No dispersal order had been given. One protestor when trying to leave was tackled by police and restrained aggressively. That protestor was subsequently arrested was refused medical care while in custody. Students had previously planned to respect the closing time of the building and to leave the building when the police gave an order to disperse. We reiterate the fact that the police did not give such an order, nor communicate any instructions at all. Since the actions of students had been entirely peaceful, the sudden blocking of the doors to keep students in without explanation was unexpected, illogical, and traumatic to the students inside.

We request that the administration and the Police Review Board undertake an immediate review of what happened at Tolman Hall and we ask that the administration and UCPD provide answers, in a document to be published in the Daily Cal, to the following questions:

Who was in charge of the police response to the student activities on September 22, 2011? Who decided that police should block doors and prevent students from leaving? When was this decision made and when did the police at Tolman know of it?

What policy or policies govern the level of aggression and risk of injury permitted in police responses to student protest activities? To what degree were police actions consistent or inconsistent with those policies?

Given that the police are carrying guns, what are the guidelines guaranteeing the safety of those they are supposed to protect, or, in cases of protest, to monitor? What are the guidelines guaranteeing the safety of the police officers? Of bystanders and people from the media?

Upon what authority did the police tackle and injure the student who tried to leave the building? What was the reason for that violent response? Why was that student not allowed to receive a medical examination and care while he was in custody?

Do the police or administrators claim that one or more students engaged in any violent or aggressive act that justified this threatening and violent response? Or does the current policy and practice allow UC Police to violently restrain students whose behavior is not actually violent or threatening? What are the current criteria for arrest of students on campus?


Amanda Armstrong, Head Steward, UC Berkeley, UAW 2865
Kyle Arnone, Trustee UAW 2865 (UCLA)
Jessica Astillero, UC Berkeley undergraduate
Erika Ballesteros
Andrea Barrera, Undergraduate, Rhetoric Dept.
Joi Barrios-Leblanc, UC Berkeley Lecturer
Axel Borg, Librarian, Shields Library, UC Davis, Vice-President for Legislation, UC-AFT
Shane Boyle, Head Steward, UC Berkeley, UAW 2865
Gray Brechin, Dept of Geography
Natalia Brizuela, Associate Professor, Spanish & Portuguese
Jordan Brocious, Sgt. at Arms UAW 2865 (UC Irvine)
Chris Chen, Department of English
Natalia Chousou-Polydouri, Head Steward, UC Berkeley, UAW 2865
Mandy Cohen, Recording Secretary UAW 2865 (UC Berkeley)
Jean Day, UC Berkeley staff, UPTE member
Ivonne del Valle, Assistant professor/Spanish and Portuguese
Cheryl Deutsch, President UAW 2865 (UCLA)
Charlie Eaton, Financial Secretary UAW 2865 (UC Berkeley)
Katy Fox-Hodess, Head Steward, UC Berkeley, UAW 2865
Judith Goldman, 2011-12 Holloway Lecturer in the Practice of Poetry, Dept. of English
Ricardo Gomez, UC Berkeley undergraduate
Jane Gregory, graduate student, Department of English, UC Berkeley
Lyn Hejinian, Professor, Department of English
Shannon Ikebe, Member, UC Berkeley, UAW 2865
Nick Kardahji, Trustee UAW 2865 (UC Berkeley)
Kathryn Kestril, UC Lecturer
Elliott Kim, Southern Vice President (UC Riverside)
Seong Hee Lim, Graduate Student, History Department, UC Santa Barbara
Larisa Mann, Head Steward, UC Berkeley, UAW 2865
Brenda Medina-Hernandez, Trustee UAW 2865 (UC Davis)
Blanca Misse, UAW 2865 Guide (UC Berkeley)
Dustianne North- UCLA Social Welfare, Doctoral Candidate
Megan O’Connor, Graduate Student, UC Berkeley English Dept.
Gabe Page, Steward, Comparative Literature, UAW 2865
Gautam Premnath, Dept of English
Brian Riley, Student Unity Movement
Manuel Rosaldo, Head Steward, UC Berkeley, UAW 2865
Robert Samuels, Lecturer, Writing Programs, UCLA, President, UC-AFT
Chris Schildt, Head Steward, City and Regional Planning, UAW 2865
Sara Smith, Northern Vice-President, UAW 2865
Ann Smock, Department of French
Michelle Squitieri, UCB Alumna and Field Representative, UC-AFT
Daniela Torres-Torretti, PhD Candidate in Education, UCD, Student Unity Movement
Jennifer Tucker, Unit Chair, UC Berkeley, UAW 2865
David Vandeloo, graduate student, Department of English
Megan Wachpress, Recording Secretary, UC Berkeley, UAW 2865
Josh Williams, Head Steward, UC Berkeley, UAW 2865

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