[Marxism] FW: Help Berk Anti-War Students

Ben Halligan B.Halligan at yorksj.ac.uk
Tue Nov 25 12:29:46 MST 2003


11-24-03
Drop All Charges Against The Berkeley 3!

Free speech at Berkeley is under attack.  Anti-war student organizers
need 
your immediate help.  

Call, email or write to:
Vice Chancellor Genaro Padilla
Office of the Chancellor 
200 California Hall #1500 
Berkeley, CA 94720-1500

uga at uclink.berkeley.edu
510-642-7464 

**Please CC your emails to the administration to:
DefendBerkeley3 at aol.com


Dean of Students Karen Kenney turned the clock back decades by approving

sanctions against three Berkeley students for their part in a peaceful
on 
campus 
sit-in on March 20 (for more details go to www.antiwarnetwork.org).  The

protest was organized by the Berkeley Stop the War coalition and
involved 
4,000 
students at a rally with 400 participating in the sit-in.  Rachel Odes
and 
Snehal 
Shingavi face 20 hours of community service and a letter of reprimand 
permanently placed on their academic record.  Michael Smith faces 30
hours of 
community service, plus a stayed suspension for one semester.
Outrageously, 
Smith will be forced to submit to "anger management" at the university's

infirmary.  If 
he completes that "successfully," his suspension might be commuted to a 
letter of reprimand.  This use of psychological treatment as punishment
for a 
political activity recalls the classification of dissent as a
"psychiatric 
disorder" in Stalinist Russia.  Dean Kenney's actions mock Berkeley's 
reputation as a haven for freedom of speech and progressive political
action.  

Besides the obvious chilling effect on student's exercising their civil 
liberties on campus, the university continued its disregard for due
process 
procedure in sentencing the students.  For example:

*Chair of the Disciplinary Hearing Board Prof. Robert Jacobsen
arbitrarily 
ruled that only 25 members of the Berkeley campus community could attend
the 
hearing, despite repeated requests on the students' part that the
hearing be 
open.  At least 15 university police and private security guards
barricaded 
the 
entrance to the hearing site to enforce this decision.

*Jacobsen missed the university-mandated deadline for issuing the 
disciplinary report.

*The university provides only unpaid undergraduates "advocates" to help
with 
the defense.  When the three students obtained legal representation on
their 
own initiative, Jacobsen announced that he would allow the lawyer to 
participate only marginally in the hearings at his discretion as chair.

Following the hearing, the university announced that it would eliminate 
students' right to legal counsel so as to make the process more 
"educational."  The 
Berkeley Daily Cal student newspaper editorial board correctly noted
that: 
"To suggest students have something to learn from defending themselves 
already 
assumes their guilt."  (http://www.dailycal.org/article.php?id=13525)  

Perhaps the most shocking component of the administration's prosecution 
stemmed from its conception of "progressive discipline."  Under this
theory, 
students who take part in more than one political protest face harsher
and 
harsher 
punishments.  So, for instance, the university based its argument to 
prosecute 
Shingavi, at least in part, on the fact that he was the "point person"
for a 
previous protest conducted by the Students for Justice in Palestine.  
Although 
he was not arrested or charged in connection with that protest, his 
association with that organization and protest helped single him out for

"progressive 
discipline."  This legal theory of "guilt by association" led the Daily
Cal 
to 
editorialize that "by picking out only three, the message sent from the 
university seems to be that free speech includes the right to
participate in 
a 
protest, but not the right to organize one."  
(http://www.dailycal.org/article.php?id=13176)

As the Bush administration carries out unprecedented attacks on hard won

civil liberties, the Berkeley administration is shamefully jumping on
the 
band 
wagon.  Now that Dean Kenney has rubber-stamped Jacobsen's verdict, the
last 
appeal goes to Vice Chancellor Genaro Padilla.  He will issue his final 
decision 
within 15 days.  

On November 20, Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! received the Mario Savio
Free 
Speech award at a mass meeting one building over from where the sit-in
took 
place.  She asked the Berkeley 3 to stand in recognition of their fight
to 
defend free speech at Berkeley

We urge everyone who cares about free speech, the right to protest and 
academic freedom to take immediate action, by calling, emailing or
writing to 
Vice Chancellor Padilla today to demand that he drop all charges against
the 
Berkeley 3.   Especially, the frightening and irresponsible use of 
psychological "treatment" as a punishment for political activity.

Please take action before Thanksgiving if at all possible, as we expect
the 
university to issue its ruling over the long weekend in an attempt to
quell 
publicity.

We thank you in advance for you solidarity,

Todd Chretien
Committee to Defend Student Civil Liberties

PS  Many of you generously sent contributions towards the printing of a
full 
page ad in the Daily Cal defending the Berkeley 3.  That ad ran on
October 27 
and we believe it played an important part in forcing the university to
back 
down from even harsher punishments for the students.  (It can be viewed
at 
www.antiwarnetwork.org)  Some of you may have had your checks returned
to 
you.  
That is because after the university found out that the Berkeley Stop
the War 
coalition was soliciting defense donations, they took the unprecedented 
action 
of freezing all mail to that on-campus address.  We are sorry for the 
inconvenience this may have caused you.  If you'd like to re-send your 
contributions 
(or send one for the first time), you can send them to:
BSTW
PO Box 4001
Berkeley, CA 94704-0001





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