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UC report recommends changes for dealing with student demonstrations

A UC Davis campus police officer is seen pepper-spraying demonstrators in Nov. 2011.
May 4, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A University of California report released Friday recommends school administrators should consider using mediators instead of law enforcement at campus demonstrations.

The report lists 50 such recommendations in the wake of a UC Davis incident last year in which a campus police officer pepper-sprayed a row of students point-blank in their faces during an "Occupy" protest on the school grounds. Batons were also used against protesters during demonstrations at Davis and at UC Berkeley last year.

Friday's report is part of a series of investigations. It recommends that campus administrators should be trained in de-escalation techniques to be used before a dispute rises to the level of police action. The report also recommends disciplinary measures for students instead of arrests by law enforcement and criminal charges.

The series of reports found that use of force could have been avoided in last year's demonstrations.

Video recording of clashes between police and protesters also played a role in what happened last year. Viral videos of seated students being pepper-sprayed in the face and others being jabbed with batons caused outrage.

The report said the UC should establish a program for video-taping protests "designed to develop a fair and complete record of event activity solely for evidentiary or training purposes."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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