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Review of Police Response to November 2009 Demonstrations

Law enforcement’s response to the large-scale demonstrations outside the UC Board of Regents meeting on campus in November 2009 generated significant concern and important questions among the campus community, including many faculty who co-signed an open letter to me. In response, I appointed a review panel to conduct an analysis of what transpired and to make recommendations on how these kinds of occurrences might be managed in the future. The panel’s report is now available for your review.

The report concludes that the police response to aggressive actions by protesters was reasonable and within the law and policy. However, the panel said the use of force may have been minimized through greater communication and coordination by police and administrators. It also said some meeting participants may have exacerbated matters by seeking to leave Covel Commons before police had an opportunity to secure exits.

Among other recommendations, the panel called for a use-of-force policy specific to crowd-control scenarios and more easily understood rules regarding the time, place and manner in which demonstrations may be staged. These are useful suggestions as we continue to work to protect both free speech and public safety, and I have directed administrators to adopt and implement each of the panel’s recommendations.

I want to thank the members of the panel for their extensive work: Robin Garrell, professor of chemistry and immediate past chair of the UCLA Academic Senate; Stephen Yeazell, professor of law; and William Cormier, director of UCLA administrative policies and compliance. I also want to thank those who took time to be interviewed by the panel and those who provided input to me following the demonstrations.

Constructive dialogue and the dispassionate work of the review panel represent the type of discourse critical to continual improvements as we carry out our mission as a public university.

Sincerely,

Gene D. Block
Chancellor

December 08, 2010

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