Fifty-two individuals were arrested following the sit-in protest at Mrak Hall on Wednesday, all of whom were released the next day. After 5 p.m. the protest participants were technically trespassing but arrests did not begin until 7 p.m.
The cost of calling in extra officials was not astronomical by any means, according to UC Davis Police Chief Annette M. Spicuzza. There were approximately 50 officers present at Mrak Hall. They represented seven different agencies from Yolo, Solano and Sacramento Counties.
Considering the peaceful nature of the demonstration, there was an excess of law enforcement officials present for the size and temperament of the protest. Calling in extra officials was not a bad idea, though. In case someone were to get hurt or some type of violence were to occur, the police would have been able to quickly hinder any violence.
Trespassing is a legitimate reason for arrest, but compared to the extent of the protests at UC Berkeley and UCLA, the arrests at UC Davis were unnecessary. Arrests should not have been made until the next morning when the building would reopen. The protestors were not disturbing business hours unless they were to stay through the night and into working hours. A little compromise on behalf of the law enforcement would have shown support for the students and their situation.
Neither students nor officials were hurt. The arrests were done quickly, efficiently, peacefully – and they were effective. The students arrested prepared for it. All things considered, they got what they wanted. Protestors sent the message that the building is theirs too, but feel left out of the decision-making process.
The message could have been stronger, however. The protest was like ripping off a band-aid quickly. Had it been ripped off slowly, people would have truly felt the pain of budget cuts.
People must appreciate that the protest was successful, particularly in contrast to the walk-out earlier this quarter. They should not, though, equate paying more for college to oppression, like many participants suggested by reacting so harshly to police presence.
If police had prolonged the arrests, students would have been able to express their frustrations more clearly. On the other hand, the speedy arrests will allow students to save their energy to protest the state legislature.