SCPD and UCSC Police Brutally Break Up Peaceful Tent U Gathering

Officers: Various SCPD and UCSC officers
Charge: excessive force, police brutality
Date: April 19th, 2005
Location: Base of UCSC campus Santa Cruz

In the wee hours of April 19, University of California at Santa Cruz officials sent 30 cops to strangle, drag, and arrest nonviolent Tent University students for unlawful assembly. After 19 students were arrested, Elizabeth Irwin, the public relations representative for the UCSC administration, tried to explain the actions of university officials by saying: "We care about the safety of our students very much."

Below is a video of the event and the assault by the police.

The arrest of 19 protesters at Tent University Santa Cruz occurred after 90 students sat down together in a tent, linked arms and refused to leave after the 8 p.m. "free speech" time had ended.

Police ripped down several tents which had been assembled, including one with two small children still inside. UCSC students were shocked by the show of force and institutionalized violence as a response to their setting up of tents.

Students who organized the Tent University said their goals were a better and more humanized education, greater respect for free speech at the university, more democracy and dialogue between UCSC students and administration, and the rebuilding of humanities programs. Students demanded that the administration address the lack of diversity on campus and low wages of university workers.

Though the US administration refused to give permission for participants to camp, Tent U delegates voted to stay the night in tents at the base of campus in violation of the University's camping ordinance. "If this is what homeless people face every night, we can do this for one night," one student declared.

Liz Irwin, UCSC Spokesperson, tried to justify how the decision was made to send in 30 cops in riot gear to arrest 19 students for sitting on the ground in a tent at night. "So the final decision was made by the senior administration and it was made with the understanding that there would be every precaution taken for safety," she said.

She blamed the students for escalating the situation, saying, "there seemed an intensive interest in accelerating on the part of the students."

Faced with rows of police in riot gear, dozens of students locked arms and sat on the ground under the "Nome," the biggest tent raised at Tent University. Police with riot helmets and blue latex gloves systematically pressed on pain compliance points, and squeezed arms and thighs in an effort to cause enough pain to cause the students to lose their grip on each other.

Nearly 90 students were locked on the ground, and adhered to the discipline of the civil rights protesters trained by Martin Luther King Jr. Committed to nonviolent resistance, no student raised a hand against any officer. None of the 19 arrested (17 UCSC students and two others, age 20 and 21) were charged with assault on a police officer, an impressive fact considering it doesn't take much for police to concoct such a charge at a protest like this.

Officer "M. McDonald" was seen jabbing people with his baton

SCPD Officer Mark Eveleth struck protesters in the face with 
a club according to the victim and several witnesses.

After two non-stop hours of the police removing students one by one for arrest, only 19 had been taken into custody. Dozens more remained on the ground, arms locked, resisting removal by police. It was clear the police did not have the manpower to arrest everyone. The UCSC administration called off the police. The students had won.


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