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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Education & Student Activism
Open letter to Chancellor Birgeneau
Open letter to Chancellor Birgeneau posted by SAVE Co-chair Peter Glazer Friday (2/26)
Dear Chancellor Birgeneau,
I condemn violence in all forms. For what it's worth, I was a Conscientious Objector during the Vietnam War. That may alienate some, please others, and mystify the remaining. So be it.
But I beg you to listen to what I have to say.
Many students here are very, very angry. Not outsider agitators, but UC Berkeley students, and I am hesitant to say anything on their behalf, but with the understanding that they can only speak for themselves, I will offer some of my impressions. They are angry with the way they were treated outside Wheeler Hall by police brought onto this campus who had no idea how to control a crowd, who never once told the crowd through a bullhorn what the rules were, how to avoid arrest, how to avoid injury, angry that police were allowed on campus who aimed rifles at their faces and beat them with clubs. They are angry that the review of police procedures has yet to be completed.
They are angry that the Code of Student Conduct was so poorly and, in the eyes of many, illegally and unfairly applied after the events at Wheeler Hall and the frightening attack on your residence. They are angry that while Dean Poullard publicly acknowledged, repeatedly, that the Code is seriously flawed, and its implementation regarding these events often questionable at best, that nothing has been done to give the students treated punitively by the University any sense that they deserved to be treated better, told, in so many words, that mistakes were made. They are angry that what Susan Trageser, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Center for Student Conduct, publicly stated that sexual misconduct charges on numerous students' student files were the result of "administrative errors," and yet, they remain there.
You must take the anger of these students seriously, take it to heart, acknowledge that Berkeley students have a clear right to be angry, and that the decisions and actions of the administration are responsible for much of that anger. You have a clear right to condemn the violence last night, but if you do, you must also condemn, in language just as strong, the other kinds of violence -- physical, ethical, legal, financial -- perpetrated on our students.