This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
November 15, 2011 Robert J. Birgeneau, Chancellor George Breslauer, Executive Vice Chancellor Harry LeGrande, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dear Chancellor Birgeneau and Vice Chancellors Breslauer and LeGrande, We, the undersigned members of the Berkeley Law faculty, write to condemn in the strongest possible terms: 1) the violence directed against non-violent student, staff and faculty protesters at Sproul Plaza on November 9, 2011; 2) the temporary detention by police of two law students near the law school on the same day; and 3) the Chancellor’s public and explicit defense of the police action of November 9, 2011, which made inaccurate distinctions between violent and non-violent civil disobedience and which he apparently signed without having viewed the videos of the incidents at issue. Sproul Plaza. The First Amendment enshrines the right to assemble peaceably, to speak freely, and to petition for governmental redress of grievances. Interference with these rights, particularly in the form of violence that was visited upon protesters in Sproul Plaza last week, is inexcusable by any government entity, but is particularly troubling at a public university. While the University may enforce its rules, including citing or arresting those engaged in acts of civil disobedience (such as linking arms and refusing to disband), there is no place for instigating violence in a community dedicated to the free exchange of ideas. Kroeber Plaza. On November 9, in separate incidents, a group of officers detained two Berkeley Law students who were attempting to return to class after participating in the peaceful demonstration at Sproul Hall. The officers detained each student near Kroeber Plaza, though there had been no protest activity at the Plaza or the law school, and the students were simply walking back to class. Ostensibly, the officers were asking for identification. However, the accounts of these incidents provided by the two students and other witnesses – law students and law school faculty and staff – describe police actions that were unwarranted and excessive. Going Forward. The police conduct at Sproul Plaza, and the humiliating and frightening police activity at Kroeber Plaza, have caused a number of our students to question whether they can safely come and go from the law school, much less exercise their First Amendment rights at our university. In addition to the urgent need for a thorough review of these events – including holding accountable those parties responsible for any actions that violated the civil and political rights of our community members – we call on the administration to: 1) implement immediately the recommendations of the June 2010 Brazil Police Review Board Report (http://www.berkeley.edu/news2/2010/06/16_prb-report.pdf); 2) publicly support and defend the rights of community members – and especially our students – to engage in non-violent political expression; and 3) take all other actions necessary to reestablish Berkeley’s reputation as a beacon of peaceable assembly and free speech.
2 Sincerely, Kathryn Abrams Herma Hill Kay Distinguished Professor of Law Catherine Albiston Professor of Law Ty Alper Assistant Clinical Professor of Law Roxanna Altholz Assistant Clinical Professor of Law Michelle Wilde Anderson Assistant Professor of Law Lila Bailey Clinical Teaching Fellow Kenneth A. Bamberger Professor of Law Ed Barnes Lecturer Robert C. Berring, Jr. Walter Perry Johnson Professor of Law Martha Brown Director of Finance and Administration, East Bay Community Law Center Stephen McG. Bundy Professor of Law Richard M. Buxbaum Jackson H. Ralston Professor of International Law, Emeritus David Caron C. William Maxeiner Distinguished Professor of Law Erin Clarke Lecturer in Residence Meir Dan-Cohen Milo Reese Robbins Professor of Law
3 Brendan Darrow Lecturer Allison Davenport Clinical Instructor Holly Doremus Professor of Law Sharon Djemal Lecturer Lauren B. Edelman Associate Dean for Jurisprudence and Social Policy Agnes Roddy Robb Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology Laurel Fletcher Clinical Professor of Law Mary Louise Frampton Adjunct Professor of Law Faculty Director, Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice Mark Gergen Professor of Law Jennifer Granholm Distinguished Practitioner of Law and Public Policy Rosann Greenspan Executive Director, Center for the Study of Law and Society Sheila Hall Director, Health Law Clinic, East Bay Community Law Center Henry L. Hecht Lecturer in Residence Joan H. Hollinger Lecturer in Residence Kristin Holmquist Lecturer in Residence Jesse Hsieh Staff Attorney and Clinical Lecturer, East Bay Community Law Center
4 Patricia Plunkett Hurley Lecturer in Residence Sushil Jacob Skadden Felow and Clinical Supervisor, East Bay Community Law Center Kate Jastram Lecturer in Residence Amy Kapczynski Assistant Professor of Law William Kell Lecturer in Residence Helene Kim Executive Director and Lecturer in Residence International and Executive Legal Education Tanya Koshy Supervising Attorney, Clean Slate Practice, East Bay Community Law Center Prasad Krishnamurthy Assistant Professor of Law Christopher L. Kutz Professor of Law Taeku Lee Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science Professor, School of Law Gillian Lester Associate Dean and Professor of Law David Lieberman Jefferson E. Peyser Professor of Law Wendy Lilliedoll Lecturer in Residence Ian Haney Lopez John H. Boalt Professor of Law Stanley Lubman Distinguished Lecturer in Residence (ret.)
5 Robert MacCoun Professor of Law and Public Policy Justin McCrary Professor of Law Peter S. Menell Robert L. Bridges Professor of Law Director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology Alice M. Miller Lecturer in Residence Saira Mohamed Assistant Professor of Law Melissa Murray Professor of Law Osha Neumann Clinical Instructor, East Bay Community Law Center Anne Joseph O’Connell Professor of Law Jamie O’Connell Lecturer in Residence David Oppenheimer Clinical Professor of Law Richard Perry Lecturer in Residence Victoria C. Plaut Assistant Professor of Law and Social Science Kevin Quinn Professor of Law Russell Robinson Professor of Law Bertrall Ross Assistant Professor of Law Andrea Roth Assistant Professor of Law
Lindsay Sturges Saffouri Lecturer in Residence Sue Schechter Field Placement Director Jason Schultz Assistant Clinical Professor of Law Jeffrey Selbin Clinical Professor of Law Elisabeth Semel Clinical Professor of Law Marjorie M. Shultz Professor of Law, Emeritus Lucinda Sikes Lecturer in Residence Jonathan Simon Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law Fred Smith Assistant Professor of Law Sarah Song Professor of Law and Associate Professor of Political Science Tirien Steinbach Executive Director, East Bay Community Law Center Talha Syed Assistant Professor of Law Eric Talley Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Professor of Law Linda Tam Director, Immigration Clinic, East Bay Community Law Center Karen Tani Assistant Professor of Law
7 Yvonne Troya Staff Attorney & Clinical Supervisor Health Law Clinic, East Bay Community Law Center Jennifer Urban Assistant Clinical Professor of Law Leti Volpp Professor of Law Kate Weisburd Lecturer in Residence Steven Weissman Lecturer in Residence Wilda White Executive Director, Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice