Eighteen individuals were arrested at D-Q University Mar. 31 for trespassing. Two more were arrested Wednesday when police were on a regular route patrol.
This is the second round of arrests this year since three students were arrested Feb. 20 on the same charges at the state’s only tribal college. Students are fighting to continue classes and programs after the college lost its accreditation in 2005 as part of an ongoing struggle involving the D-Q Board of Trustees.
Michele Wallace, public information officer for Yolo County Sheriff Department, said the individuals were booked and cited under a misdemeanor charge. Unless they had other warrants, they were released to see a judge.
“There was one female up in a tree who refused to come down,” Wallace said. “We checked with the fire department. They deemed it was best not to seek action for us to climb the tree and get her.”
No force was used and the individuals were peaceful and left the premises when asked, Wallace added.
Manuel Santana was one of the D-Q students who were arrested on Feb. 20.
“The cops kept calling us protestors, which wasn’t true,” Santana said. “We believe it is under false pretenses that they were sent there in the first place.”
For the Feb. 20 arrests, certain members of D-Q’s Board of Trustees asked the sheriff department to take action. Not all members of the board, however, were notified of the decision to involve the sheriff. The same situation occurred before the recent arrests.
There are six members on the board, three of whom were not notified of the decision to call the sheriff, said board member Calvin Hedrick, one of the board members who was left out of the decision to contact the sheriff. Other board members were not available for comment at press time.
“It’s frustrating when there are certain members of the board who are acting outside of their roles. I had been working to try to sort things out,” Hedrick said. “This was something that should not have happened. These things that happen take us away from the task at hand – to fix D-Q. When we deal with court and arrests and the media we’re not getting our job done as we are supposed to be doing.”
Sacramento attorney Mark Reichel said the case is a civil – not criminal – case.
“There should be a good civil suit about this to determine who the legitimate board is,” he said. “It’s not a criminal case. If you have some members of the board saying yes and some saying no, it’s civil.”
Reichel is a volunteer attorney for Daniel Cory, one of the arrested individuals from the Feb. 20 arrests. Reichel represented Cory at the arraignment Wednesday.
The arraignment is a court appearance where they tell you what the charges are and give you a copy of the reports, he said. On May 7 there will be further proceedings, where they will set a trial date for mid-June.
“What we hope for is that through that trial a lot of information is going to be released about D-Q University – its status and the status of the board,” Santana said. We are hoping that is going to help the cause of the students.”
Students are trying to continue programs and classes on campus since the university lost its accreditation.
“[Cory] is innocent because he has every right to be there,” said Reichel. “First of all, he is Native American, and the property belongs to Native Americans. The trustees have completely abandoned their role there. They have to be doing something, they can’t do nothing.”
Some people believe the board is not working to help regain accreditation, but Hedrick disagrees.
“There is a lot that has been done in three years. Some people think accreditation is something you go to Wal-Mart and pick up,” Hedrick said. “We have to fix a lot before we can begin the process of accreditation. Some of these same people who are saying you don’t need accreditation are saying, “Why hasn’t the board done anything?'”
Hedrick said he is in support of the students’ role at D-Q and has been trying to work with the students and sort out the problems.
“If we are gong to have students out there, we need to have classes. If we have some sort of syllabus and what the class is and who are the students, I’ll say yes – that’s a class,” he said. “I have no problem where people are just learning, and I’m totally in support of that.”
Hedrick said the next step is to have a meeting to restore communication with the board.
“We all have to get on the same page about what we can do together,” he said. “We need to get back out there cleaning the place up and sit down with the people who have backed away from us. Once the board is in control and we try to sit down with these people we can work on moving forward.”
D-Q is suffering largely from a lack of authority. As the university does not currently have an administration, the board has been struggling to straighten out the confusion.
Hedrick said he would welcome applications for board members.
“We need qualified people to take on this task,” he said.
Hedrick can be reached at (916) 752-7755.
POOJA KUMAR can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.