Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Outrage at UC Santa Cruz [link]

This story is beyond the pale. Violent student protestors at UC Santa Cruz prevent the military from attending an on-campus job fair.

Four military recruiters hastily fled a job fair Tuesday morning at UC Santa Cruz after a raucous crowd of student protesters blocked an entrance to the building where the Army and National Guard had set up information tables.

Members of Students Against War, who organized the counter-recruiting protest, loudly chanted "Don't come back. Don't come back" as the recruiters left the hilltop campus, escorted by several university police officers.

"The situation had degraded to the point where there was a possibility of injury to either a student or law enforcement officer. We certainly didn't want that to happen,'' said Capt. Will Griffin, one of the Army recruiters.

University officials had been aware for weeks that Students Against War planned a protest to prevent military personnel from participating in the school's biannual job fair held for students.

And what steps did the university take in response to the fear of violent student protests? Why, they separated the military recruiters from the rest of the job fair. Supposedly, this was so the rest of the job fair could go off without interruption. But it also made it easier for the protestors to target and disrupt the military recruiting.

Universities that receive federal funds are required to allow military recruiters on campus. But campus officials had worried that Tuesday's protest would get out of hand as it had last April, when Students Against War protesters surrounded the table where military personnel sat, and hundreds of other demonstrators engaged in an angry protest outside. Some of the recruiters reported that their tires had been slashed and one employee at the career center was injured.

David Kliger, campus provost and executive vice chancellor, said the school was most concerned Tuesday about safety issues, but also wanted to preserve access to the recruiters for students who wanted to speak with them, while still allowing protesting students their right to free speech.

Kliger said officials had tried to engage the anti-war student group in discussions in the weeks leading up to the fair. But when talks broke down, officials began privately hoping for rain and brought in extra police.

The rain probably accounted for a decidedly smaller turnout -- about 100 students compared with about 300 a year earlier.

Still, the Army's Griffin said he sensed that some of the students were "looking for action" and decided to pack up their table before things got out of hand and someone got injured.

Students Against War members said they were pleased that their counter-recruiting effort forced the military personnel off campus, at least for the time being.

"We're saying it's not OK to recruit on high school campuses, it's not OK to recruit on university campuses,'' Marla Zubel, a UC Santa Cruz senior and member of Students Against War, said. "In order to stop the war, you have to make it more difficult to wage war."

One would think that protests this disruptive would violate rules for student conduct. One would think that these protestors should be identified and punished by the university. Gee...if a high school student in that area points a finger as if it is a gun, he gets suspended or expelled.

Frankly, if I were the dean in charge of student discipline, I would have all of these protestors up on academic charges. After appropriate due process, I would have them expelled and their academic records erased.


The link above takes you to the website for Mountain States Legal Foundation which is making a request to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to cut off federal funds to UC Santa Cruz.

The university should not be allowed to pretend to comply with the Supreme Court's decision in FAIR so that it can continue to suck at the public teat while allowing protestors to shut down military recruiting. At a minimum, the university should uphold its standards for student behavior and punish students who "cross the line." Failure by the university to do so indicates a failure to abide by Federal law and they should suffer the consequences.


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