Ad hoc group forms in response to arrest

An ad hoc group of nine students and one faculty member will advise protocol changes, Kim Goff-Crews announced at an open forum Wednesday.

By Brittany Birberick

An ad hoc group of nine students and one faculty member will advise protocol changes in response to the February 24 arrest of a student in the Reg’s A-level, Vice President for Campus Life Kim Goff-Crews announced at an open forum in the Reynolds Club Wednesday.

The Alliance for Community and Student Rights (ACSR) sponsored the forum and presented the 12 demands it has made regarding the administration’s response to the incident.

Vice President for Campus Life Kim Goff-Crews, UCPD Chief Marlon Lynch, Associate Director of the Library Jim Vaughan, and Dean of Students Susan Art, spoke in response to the demands and many questions that were raised by the audience of about 50 students.

Despite the administration’s plans, many students were not satisfied with the responses. Students mentioned incidents where they felt racially profiled, and others voiced the need for more open dialogue about the issue of race on campus, rather than closed door ad hoc groups. The visibility of the student’s arrest was also criticized.

Students brought up past incidents as evidence of long-standing race issues on campus, like the “Straight Thuggin’” party that took place nearly four years ago.

Goff-Crews described fourth-year Mauriece Dawson's arrest as “tremendously painful for the institution, students, faculty, and staff,” and she was open to recommendations and discussions that can possibly remedy this issue.

In the next week and a half, an ad hoc group, to be co-chaired by a faculty member and student with eight other students involved, is expected to form to advise protocol changes, including on the library noise policy, what information students receive during orientation, police authority on campus, and the role of the dean on call in regard to student arrests.

Some of ACSR’s demands, including a public apology and a commitment to improving the climate on campus, have already been met, while others, such as the University providing Dawson full legal support, will not be fully met, although the administration does plan to provide some legal aid and information to all students in the future.

Delays on many of ACSR’s demands, including its request that steps to meet its demands be instituted by May 15, are due to the time it will take the ad hoc group to meet and agree upon updates to University policy. The administrators expect most of the changes to go into effect by the end of the 2011 school year.

ACSR formed after the March 2 forum on the student’s arrest, and has lobbied for changes since.

Specific details of the arrest and the actions taken afterward were given at the forum. The officer who made the arrest was reprimanded for his use of using excessive force with a one-week suspension with no pay, mandatory trainings, and a mark of the offense in his file. The library staff member who made the police call was removed from the entry and exit position and is working in another section of the library. Dawson’s criminal trespassing charge has been dropped, and his charge for resisting arrest is dismissible through community service or by paying a fine.