Professors and college administrators need to condemn the recent police violence against nonviolent students.
On Nov. 9, police on the campus of the University of California-Berkeley used their batons on students who were peacefully staging a protest.
Then on Nov. 18, police at the University of California Davis pepper sprayed students at point-blank range who were passively sitting down.
The faculty at UC Davis responded promptly and appropriately, calling for the resignation of chancellor Linda Katehi. And the board of the council of University of California faculty associations also condemned the police violence against peaceful protestors not just at Berkeley and Davis, but also at UCLA and California State University at Long Beach.
“We are outraged by the excessive and unnecessary force used against peaceful protests,” the board said. “We are outraged that the administrations of UC campuses are using police brutality to suppress dissent, free speech and peaceful assembly.”
These condemnations, as imperative as they are, are not enough. As members of the entire higher education system in the United States, we all share a responsibility in this issue, and as such, we all have an obligation to act.
Professors and administrators across the country, and not just in California, must condemn this violence.
I just read an article on moral character by Peter Ludlow, a professor of mine at Northwestern, explaining how “if we only do what we are obligated to do by law we are all lost.” Such is the situation in which we all find ourselves as members of the higher education system in the United States.
When peaceful young students, exercising their freedom of speech and assembly granted by the First Amendment, are met with disproportionate levels of violence by riot police with batons and pepper spray, professors must ask themselves: What exactly are we teaching?
Faculty and administrators, whether from public or private institutions, must denounce police brutality on our campuses.
Rafael Vizcaino is an undergraduate student studying philosophy and history at Northwestern University. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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