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Related Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Racial Justice
A Personal Narrative By Alette Kendrick
by UC Activist Defense Committee
Wednesday May 23rd, 2007 6:23 PM
My name is Alette Kendrick. I’m a third year student here at UC Santa Cruz, majoring in History. For the past three years, I’ve devoted a great deal of my time and myself to social justice movements here on campus. Specifically, I’ve done a lot of work in labor solidarity organizations with different campus workers’ unions, and with student organized anti-war efforts. It seems a lot of what this university purports to cultivate within students is a sense of social responsibility to the world around us. So to me, it only makes sense to step outside the classroom and engage in the struggles happening right here on campus.
This is why in the weeks approaching October 18, 2006 I was involved in a coalition of students from different organizations that wanted to address the upcoming Regents meeting at UCSC. As folks who had been to multiple Regents meetings before, we were familiar with the typical experience of going up before the Regents with our thirty seconds of time, only to address our concerns to a group who would chatter and laugh aloud, walk in and out of the room, read the newspaper, and altogether show no regard for who we were or what we had to say. Thus this coalition concluded that to put on a student speak-out where everyone could voice their concerns, to share with and inform each other, would be a much more empowering alternative. And for a while, this is exactly what October 18th was.

“That’s the one we want, get her!” is what I heard shouted at me from a cluster of cops. “What’s going on, what are you doing!” is what I had wondered aloud seconds before. I was at the megaphone when someone shouted that the regents were exiting, so I went to the rear of the building to check. In the short time it took me to return to the front, the cops had broken their line and scattered into the crowd. A few were grabbing at a shirt-less and bruised man. I saw this and in wondering aloud my confusion, caught the officers’ attention. I heard their call at me and next I knew, I was on the ground being forcefully dragged by the arms through the crowd; sustaining injuries I am still to this day treating. Pulled inside away from everyone else, I was face-down on the floor, only able to see the dozen or more black boots surrounding me. Handcuffed tightly, I was dragged up stairs right before the Regents, crying aloud the whole time from fear and pain. The two others pulled inside during the shuffle around me, were handcuffed standing up and allowed to walk up the stairs. We were kept in a big empty room that had large windows looking into where the Regents were. At one point they, and others present, gathered around those windows to look. I remember sitting handcuffed and exhausted while some of the older white men tapped on the glass, waving and smiling.

In the six months since then, I’ve endured the long legal process of battling the charges I was given. Facing not only the possibility of a criminal record that would prevent me from doing what I’ve worked long and hard for, to become a teacher, but also the possibility of jail time. This was particularly devastating as someone who has never had any degree of trouble with the law. And now, six months later, I have to fight the 3 year suspension I’ve been sentenced by the university.

Since mobilizing support against this outrageous sentence, some folks have asked me to what extent I really believe the events I’ve just detailed have anything to do with race. What seems like such an obvious answer to me, (perhaps because I’ve had the experience of being a Black woman at this university) I understand may require further explanation for others. This university has shown time and time again that supporting and sustaining communities of color on this campus is NOT a priority concern for them; and that in fact, the university creates and perpetuates a hostile environment towards these communities. This can be seen in the twenty year long unkept promise to develop an Ethnic Studies program. This can be seen in the gross lack of outreach and retention to students/faculty of color, and the refusal to give certain faculty tenure. This can be seen in the administration’s consistently inadequate response to hate/bias incidents on campus. But most of all, this systemic racism is visible in the simple fact that every year staff, faculty, and students of color quit, leave, or fail to graduate because of the hostile environment that exists on this campus. Only in this environment could I go to a rally on campus and immediately stand out as a woman of color, because there are so few else around (an experience I also have in nearly every classroom). Only in this environment, could Chancellor Blumenthal condone the violent treatment I suffered from the police. Only in this hostile environment could I be sentenced such an extreme punishment so as to ruin my entire academic career that I’ve worked so hard for; as if my contributions to this university as a woman of color are not valuable. So yes, I believe the arrest, the charges, the suspension, have everything to do with race, without question! Because they cannot be understood outside the racism that exist on this campus.

Yet these actions also have everything to do with the growing atmosphere of repression students and workers face here on campus. It was not merely incidental that I was arrested and charged at the speak-out. Students and workers have made considerable gains from the university, in recent years, through exercising our basic rights to voice concerns about what happens on our campus. And now each of us has to second guess our participation in a rally or protest on campus for fear that we’ll be swept up in arrest, fear of getting kicked out of school or losing one’s job. These are the important connections behind what’s happening with my situation that cannot be lost!

Some Notable Facts:
  • It took the chancellor more than a week and half to respond to the gross racial slurs recently scrawled in buildings on Science Hill, whereas he took less than a day to send out a campus wide notice condemning the Oct.18th rally and condoning the police violence that occurred there. Including the first incident of pepper-spraying protestors in campus history, wherein a dozen students were sprayed without warning.
  • Chancellor Blumenthal, at a student townhall meeting, responded “no comment” when asked if he felt sending Alette Kendrick to jail for three years would be in any way beneficial.
  • Of the three people arrested on the 18th, the only white male in the bunch was also the only person to have all his charges dismissed. He also received only a quarter of academic probation, whereas Alette is facing a three-year suspension.
  • On April 24, 2007, administrators pointed out a Black woman at a protest and said, “There’s the girl that was arrested at the Regents protest.” It was not – in fact, the woman they were referring to looks completely different from Alette, except for the color of her skin.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Jimmy
Friday May 25th, 2007 1:26 PM
Paragraph 3 where Alette explains her side of what transpired in the moments leading up to her arrest seems to be missing. At least it seems that way to me. Is there a legal reason for that?
by JImmy
Friday May 25th, 2007 1:29 PM
Never mind, she relates that part later, sorry.
by Not what I saw.
Friday May 25th, 2007 3:30 PM
While I don't question if racism exists in our society or on the UCSC campus, I do question and disagree with your assessment that racism was the sole reason you were noticed or arrested.

I think the fact that you were seen pushing a cop played a part in it. So too did the fact that you climbed on a bus, spitting and cursing. Being front and center at the doorway as the cops grabbed the front row of protesters played a part as well. Biting a police officer in front of 40-50 witnesses also is something that nobody but you is accused of doing.

Why did the white male get a lesser charge? I think it's at least in part due to the fact that he wasn't seen doing these same acts.

You deny any such actions in this letter, but I understand that the video taken by the police shows very specifically that you did engage in these activites, and I expect that that video will be shown in the hearings next week. I think that the reality of that day is likely somewhere in the middle between what the police claim and what you claim.

Being a teacher means being a role model. It means instillling values like honesty in your students, and teaching them to be responsible for their actions. To teach such values, you have to first embrace and practice them yourself. I wish you all the best in your goal of becoming a teacher, but I don't think that you're yet at a point where you're ready to be one.
by slugger
Friday May 25th, 2007 4:00 PM
This is not true:

"I think the fact that you were seen pushing a cop played a part in it. So too did the fact that you climbed on a bus, spitting and cursing. Being front and center at the doorway as the cops grabbed the front row of protesters played a part as well. Biting a police officer in front of 40-50 witnesses also is something that nobody but you is accused of doing."

What fact? Alette was not seen pushing a cop. Alette did not climb on bus, spit and curse. And this it about biting a police officer in front of 40-50 people... is some serious BS. That did not happen.

And this sounds like you work for the UC Regents, "I wish you all the best in your goal of becoming a teacher..."

No, I don't believe you. You would not be spilling lies onto indymedia if you really wished the best for Alette.

Supporters
http://www.ucactivistdefense.org/supporters/
by Not what I saw.
Friday May 25th, 2007 5:31 PM
..and I'll apologize if it doesn't support what I saw. But I don't expect to have to retract my statement; I saw it.
by show me
Saturday May 26th, 2007 11:14 AM
what video, where? produce this video and it would speak volumes
by -
Saturday May 26th, 2007 12:26 PM
" On Tuesday, she pleaded no contest to interfering with an arrest and disturbing a public assembly, and she apologized for her conduct, Sherman said."
She got knocked down, bit an officer's leg and was basically out of control screaming."
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/05/25/BAG6RQ1AKK1.DTL&hw=Kendrick&sn=001&sc=1000

Quotes from public attending the event:
"I was spat on by strangers".
"The woman beside me...she was hit in the head with a thrown projectile."
http://www.santacruzphotogallery.com/gallery/protest/ucsc_protest2

Police sprayed defensively from inside the building, as shown in the picture. Can you show a picture of them spraying outside of the building?

<img src = "http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2006/10/20/640_d.jpg">
<img src = "http://www.santacruzphotogallery.com/albums/protest/ucsc_protest3.sized.jpg">

by Victim of Violence
Saturday May 26th, 2007 1:22 PM
"...she apologized for her conduct, Sherman said."

First you are quoting prosecutor David Sherman.

"Quotes from public attending the event"

Then you quote greg@santacruzchamber.org who works "to promote economic vitality and prosperity" for UCSC, a member of the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce.

"Police sprayed defensively from inside the building"

The police maliciously aimed for the eyes of students with their pepper-spray before closing the door behind them.

Victims of Violence: When UC Police Attack
by -
Saturday May 26th, 2007 1:38 PM
Why is quoting the prosecutor as a source any less genuine than quoting Alette as the sole source who claims to have heard police saying "She's the one we want"?

Alette claims in her personal statement that she did nothing. The prosecutor states that she bit a cop. She pled no contest and apologized. What is she apologizing for if she did nothing?

Why is a quote from the man who was spit on and pushed any less credible than the quote of a student activist who claims they didn't push?

As for the pepper spraying; spraying at the eyes was the issue in question. The issue was did the police charge out into the quad and begin spraying?

Indymedia has repeatedly claimed that there was no student violence. That there was no spitting. No throwing of projectiles. No biting. That police stormed out of the building and then began spraying.

I'm stating that there are contradictory statements and witnesses and video that discredit the claims your making, and I've shown some of them.



by not convinced
Monday May 28th, 2007 3:23 AM
why is the statement of a cop not valid- are you kidding? they work for the state- the college is the state and the prosecutor is the state. that's why. the cops assaulted the kid and were totally brutal as they did it and have to justify their actions. THAT's why we should be skeptical in believing his statement.
by Becky Johnson
Monday May 28th, 2007 10:25 AM
The students blocked all of the entrances to the meeting where the Regents met. Alette had the megaphone. What instructions was she giving to the crowd thru the megaphone? Did she attempt to interfere with the arrest of another protester? People should know that when you interfere in an arrest (even if it later turns out to be an unlawful arrest) you have committed a misdemeanor of interferring with a police officer while in the course of conducting his/her duties.

Did she bite an officer?

I note that in Alette's personal narrative, she neither confirms nor denies that she bit the officer. However, all of the photos show she did not cooperate with the arrest and had to be physically restrained.

Protesters should be aware that if an officer chooses to arrest you, if you do not instantly comply, you risk resisting arrest charges, another misdemeanor.

Alette plead to two misdemeanors in order to avoid jail. If she had a good case, she would have plead "not guilty" and gone to trial. She didn't. And that speaks volumes.

According to UCSC policy, committing criminal activity on campus is cause for suspension. Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

Now, as to the claim that she was arrested due to the color of her skin. I believe this is a real red herring. I believe that dozens of students could have been arrested for trapping the regents and those attending the meeting in the building. However Alette, due to her use of the megaphone while violence was being committed ( those people who tried to exit the building were spit on, sworn at, and had to retreat into the building), her interference in the arrest of another protester, was singled out. She further added to her charges by resisting arrest.

This was not a bogus charge. She RESISTED arrest.

The police also bear some responsibility. They should have set up barriers that ensured egress and exits from the building, since a protest was planned and likely. It looks as though they failed to anticipate proper security precautions.

It's frustrating dealing with the Regents. They live in their ivory towers and insulate themselves from public criticism. They choose to use public universities for military research, continue a wage structure that is two-tiered, and have set tuitions where fewer and fewer low-income or people of color can attend the university. These are real issues and the protesters were correct in addressing them.

But violence, mob action, trapping people in a building, and attacking those who attempt to exit the building are the wrong tactics.
The serve no one and only allow critics off the hook.
Organizers need to think long and hard about the errors that occurred at this protest.
We don't need to have any of our organizers suspended or convicted of crimes. This serves no one.



by 2121
Friday Dec 28th, 2007 8:57 PM
I went to the press center after this protest and I saw Alessandro Tinonga videotaping the event. Where are the videotapes? Why are there videos of Tent University but not the Oct 18 protest?

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