Police shot and wounded an armed man last Tuesday in UC Berkeley’s Hass School of Business. The man, identified as Christopher Travis, was confirmed dead hours after the shooting. Although it is not known whether the man was part of the Occupy Cal protests, police Capt. Margo Bennett noted the gunman’s “unusual” behavior leading up to the incident.
Campus protests on the UC Berkeley Campus had already met resistance before the shooting. Police officers attacked students violating the university ban on camping with batons and arrested 40 people.
Serious investigations by the University of California administration are now taking place after a pepper-spraying incident shown in the video below. Occupy Cal protestors at UC Davis appear to be sitting next to each other as police officers spray throughout the line, forcefully grabbing and moving some in order to sprayed those missed after the first pass. The police cited “health and safety risks” posed by the protestors that refused to remove the tents.
Early this morning, UC Davis placed police chief Annette Spicuzza on administrative leave. In addition, the Davis Faculty Association has called for Chancellor Linda Katehi to resign. She was responsible for authorizing the use of pepper spray.
The University of California has only recently addressed the system’s apparent suppression of free inquiry and speech. “Free speech is part of the DNA of this university, and non-violent protest has long been central to our history…I intend to do everything in my power as president of this university to protect the rights of our students, faculty, and staff to engage in non-violent protest.” said UC president Mark Yudof. Can police officers be trusted on college campuses, or does the threat of excessive force outweigh the safety and peace of mind that they supposedly represent?