action alert (fwd)

Jon Beasley-Murray jpb8 at acpub.duke.edu
Sun Apr 16 09:26:55 MDT 1995


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 1995 23:15:32 +0800 (WST)
From: Adam Bandt <bandt at cleo.murdoch.edu.au>
Subject: action alert (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 1995 05:37:55 -0600
From: mark selden <ms44 at cornell.edu>
To: Multiple recipients of list <psn at csf.colorado.edu>
Subject: action alert

>Subj:  ACTION ALERT: CULTURAL ACTIVIST RON SAKOLSKY ARRESTED
>Date:  Wed, Apr 12, 1995 2:54 PM MST
>
>Ron Sakolsky is a board member of Alliance for Cultural Democracy, author,
>and long time cultural activist. I urge all of you to circulate this alert
>and write letters. For those of you who know Ron you will immediately
>understand the absurdity of this arrest, Ron is dedicated to non violence
>while not bowing to the emerging fascistic powers. - Michael Schwartz - ACD/
>Editor: Cultural Democracy Journal
> --------------------------------------------------------------
>    CAMPUS FREE SPEECH ACTION ALERT!
>
>          Dennis Fox
>
>  On March 15th Ron Sakolsky and I went to hand out leaflets on
>the Sangamon State University (SSU) campus where we teach. Before we
>knew it, the campus police had arrested both of us on a variety of unfounded
>charges. We need your help. Especially Ron.
>
>  Ron is a tenured associate professor of public affairs and labor
>relations long controversial in Springfield because of his consistent
>activism. For 23 years he has taught courses at SSU on everything from
>Organizing for Peace and Justice to Workplace Democracy to World Music. I've
>been here seven years, and am a tenured associate professor in
>legal studies and psychology. I teach things like Law and Inequality and,
>this semester, a seminar in Conservative Efforts to Reclaim the Law. A few
>years ago Ron and I team-taught a course called the Columbus Quincentennial:
>Hype and History From 1492 to 1992.
>
>  Here's what actually happened last month to Ron and me. We went
>to give leaflets to people going to a mayoral debate because one of the
>candidates for Springfield mayor was State Senator Karen Hasara, who had
>co-sponsored a recently passed union-busting bill. (As part of the
>"restructuring" of higher education in Illinois, the legislature and
>governor, on the Republican "fast track," had just passed legislation to
>merge SSU with the University of Illinois system. The legislation
>included a provision to destroy the SSU faculty's collective bargaining
>rights.) The leaflets pointed out Hasara's role and the media's failure
>to report the story, and we listed a few questions we hoped the audience
>might ask during the debate.
>
>  I was arrested when I refused to stop leafleting in the hallway
>outside the auditorium. An SSU employee and someone from WICS-TV Channel 20
>instructed SSU police officers that no one was allowed to hand out what they
>called "campaign literature" at what was characterized as an
>"invitation-only" event (Channel 20, Springfield's only TV station,
>reported later that night that we had been taken away "for violating a
>ban on leafleting"). An officer ordered me to stop or leave the building. He
>also grabbed leaflets out of the hands of a few people who had taken one.
>After 15 minutes of intermittent warnings, he said I couldn't even stand in
>the almost empty hallway with the leaflets "visible." Then I was handcuffed
>and taken away, charged with criminal trespass to state property (the cop
>told me I no longer had permission to be there) and interference with a
>police officer (I never did find out what that was about, since the police
>report didn't say I had done anything disruptive).
>
>  Ron Sakolsky's case went much differently. He was inside the
>auditorium, quietly handing leaflets to people who had gotten there
>early. When the police discovered him inside, Ron offered to leave the
>auditorium and join me in the hallway, but the cop told him he'd have to
>leave the building instead. So Ron stayed where he was, leaflets in hand.
>Without telling him he was under arrest and without warning him they would
>use force, the police grabbed Ron, twisted his arm, and began to push him
>out. Ron says he then told the cop he would leave peacefully, but the cop
>just twisted his arm tighter. In pain, as the physical assault intensified,
>Ron tried to get loose. Now he's charged with aggravated battery, a felony.
>
>  I'm in pretty good shape legally. When the State's Attorney read
>the police account of my actions, he decided not to file charges. That
>police report makes interesting reading, by the way. It makes you wonder
>why SSU's campus police force thought anyone could be arrested for what they
>say I did.
>
> Ron's in greater danger. He's scheduled to appear in court on
>April 20th to find out what the state has in mind for him. If he goes to
>trial, he faces possible prison time if convicted; at the very least, he
>faces mounting legal fees. That seems pretty excessive, considering the
>whole incident began when the university's poorly trained police force
>improperly prevented us from handing out leaflets. (Perhaps not
>coincidentally, Ron and I led the opposition on campus a year and a half ago
>when the President decided to replace the campus security guards
>with armed police. Also disturbingly, although two years ago the
>Administration promised the campus community that there would be a
>police review committee with well-defined complaint procedures, that
>promise was not kept. There are no still campus procedures to
>investigate police actions. The Administration's decision to refer the
>matter only to the State Police for investigation clearly does not
>fulfill the earlier commitment to campus-based review.)
>
> We think this incident relates to a number of disturbing trends
>across the United States and elsewhere: Infringement of free speech and
>academic freedom. Efforts to hamper labor union organizing. "Restructuring"
>of higher education. Unleashing the police to prevent
>dissent. One-sided mainstream news coverage.
>
> This could happen to you next.
>
>       HERE'S HOW TO HELP
>
>PUBLIC PRESSURE IS URGENTLY NEEDED BEFORE RON'S APRIL 20TH COURT DATE!
>
>(AND AFTER THAT IF THE STATE AND UNIVERSITY PURSUE FURTHER ACTION!)
>
>SSU President Naomi Lynn has the power to get the State's Attorney to
>drop charges. Sangamon State is on the verge of becoming the University
>of Illinois at Springfield--a controversial transition that provides the
>context for much that happens here these days. A show of support from
>around the country and beyond, for Ron in this specific case and for the
>broader right to free speech on a college campus, would help.
>
>PLEASE SEND E-MAIL MESSAGES ENCOURAGING SSU TO DO THE RIGHT THING!
>Send to:
>
>Naomi Lynn, SSU President    lynn at eagle.sangamon.edu
>
>CONSIDER SENDING COPIES TO:
>
>Stanley Ikenberry     sikenber at uiuc.edu
>  (current U of I System President)
>
>James Stukel         James.J.Stukel at uic.edu
>(soon-to-be U of I System President)
>
>Doug Anderson, SSU's Lawyer danderso at eagle.sangamon.edu
>
>PLEASE ALSO SEND ME A COPY SO THAT WE CAN KEEP YOU POSTED!
>
>  Dennis Fox fox at eagle.sangamon.edu
>
>FOR MORE INFORMATION FROM ME OR OUR NOW-FORMING SUPPORT GROUP,
>MY E-MAIL ADDRESS IS fox at eagle.sangamon.edu
>
>        PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO APPROPRIATE E-MAIL LISTS!!!!
>
>--------------------------------------------------------
>Dennis Fox                                 (217)786-6535 office
>Associate Professor of Legal Studies     (217)786-7279 fax
>Associated Faculty, Psychology
>Sangamon State University
>Springfield, IL 62794-9243               fox at eagle.sangamon.edu

>
>





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