April 13, 2010

Students publicize demands for University over student arrest

A group of students is advocating for a more precise response to the arrest of fourth-year Mauriece Dawson on the part of the University, which issued a report the group claims did not address systemic problems.

Called the Alliance for Student and Community Rights (ASCR), members of the group were consulted when administrators were drafting the report, released April 2, and will meet with Goff-Crews and other administrators today.

ASCR said in a letter to the maroon that it was generally pleased with the tone of the report but felt it didn't go far enough. To that end, the letter outlined eleven demands that will soon be posted on flyers around campus.

Some of the group's demands were addressed in the report, including that the University issue a public apology for the incident, that it offer new training in student interaction for University officials, and promote the role of Dean on Call.

"As we assessed the facts and shaped our administrative response, students’ concerns were very important to us, and you can see their influence reflected in our April 2 letter," Goff-Crews wrote.

But other demands were not addressed: ASCR wants the University to pay legal fees for those students who were affected, issue a strict zero-tolerance policy on the use of force on members of the community, and enter a relationship with the Edward F. Mandel Legal Clinic to provide students with 24-hour legal advice.

ASCR said the demands grew out of a concern that obstacles continue to stand in the way of full student participation in University life. "These demands are in reaction to our conception as students that the University should be an environment where all members of our community, regardless of race, sex, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, religious affiliation, or disability, have a reasonable opportunity to safely participate in the University’s intellectual, scholarly, and public life," the letter read.

Goff-Crews wrote that the University response to the arrest will continue to evolve, based in part on student input. "Of course, as we pointed out in that letter, we recognize that the immediate steps we outlined do not resolve every question that was raised. That requires a team effort, and we will continue to work with students and all concerned members of the campus community in the months to come."