As University of California-Davis held a club rush in the Memorial Union Quad on Oct. 6, students held a rally that countered the illusion of a peaceful campus life. Participants included students from Disarm the UC and Party for Socialism and Liberation. Speakers described in detail the history of violence perpetrated by University of California administrators and their police departments.
The UC system’s aggressive policing practices gained national spotlight on Nov. 18, 2011, when UCPD pepper sprayed peaceful student protesters within the Occupy movement on the Davis campus. The chancellor of UCD at the time, Linda Katehi, has since resigned while under investigation for unethical financial management and nepotism and is now working as a professor at the school with the same salary she had previously. Since Occupy, UCPD has made it illegal for protesters to link arms and UC administration is pushing policy changes to increase the number of police officers on campus and allow them to arrest students for engaging in first amendment protected protest.
The UC administration has gained notoriety for hate speech events which were organized on UC campuses under the guise of “free speech.” At UC Berkeley, white supremacist student organizations planned a “Free Speech Week” in September, at which so-called Alt Right white supremacist celebrities were scheduled to speak. Though the week was officially cancelled by the hosting organization, The Berkeley Patriot, conservative students demonstrated throughout the week causing the shutdown of numerous lecture halls, student centers and the entire art department by the administration due to “security concerns.” The campus was occupied by a heavily armed police presence and the administration shut down two student resource centers which serve marginalized student populations. The university spent $1 million of taxpayer money and student fee dollars to protect fascists from righteously angry students and community members.
Despite the canceling of the event, conversion therapy advocate Ben Shapiro spoke at the campus the previous week and Milo Yiannopoulos visited Sproul Plaza for 15 minutes to show support for the hateful demonstrations occurring throughout the campus.
The students at the UC Davis rally called for the disarmament and demilitarization of UC campuses, speaking out against Katehi’s replacement, Gary May, who sits on the boards of two defense technology companies, Leidos and Charles Stark Draper Laboratory. Both companies and May directly profit of the United States’ ongoing imperialist wars.
During the Oct. 6 rally at UC Davis, the on-campus police told the protesters they couldn’t use their megaphone despite being on a public campus. The students did not back down, and led chants of “Whose University? Our University!” and “Disarm UC!”