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Davis, California

Friday, February 23, 2024

University releases proposed action items in response to Reynoso Report

In response to the Cruz Reynoso Task Force Report that investigated the November 18 pepper spraying of student demonstrators, the University has released a series of proposed action items to improve campus protest management and administrative communication.
The investigation was requested by Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and was headed by Former California Supreme Court Associate Justice Cruz Reynoso. Reynoso was appointed by UC President Mark Yudof.
Announced last Wednesday, the proposed action plan will include review of campus police operations and a heightening of university constituent involvement in major decisions. The University said efforts are already underway.
In the report, the Reynoso task force highlights its expectations of the University to implement all recommendations while consulting campus community stakeholders.
According to the proposed action plans the University will assign a campus task-force to make revisions to campus policies, concerning free speech and civil disobedience, as well as to improve communication between administration and the campus through the creation of a campus Community Council.

“[The campus Community Council] intends to proactively engage in community dialogue and community building,” the report states.

It will serve as a medium for communication between administrators and staff, students, alumni, emeriti and community members.

“The Campus Community Council is an important step toward greater collaboration among campus stakeholders precisely because it is so inclusive — with student, academic, staff and administrative representatives gathering regularly to address issues of importance to them,” said UC Davis Spokesperson Barry Shiller in an e-mail interview.

The task force report also calls for “external review of UC Davis police department protocols and procedures,” which the University responded to by involving the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) to review Police Department operations.

In the event of another future large scale incident, the task force recommended the development of National Incident Management System/Standardized Emergency Management System compliant procedures and protocols to establish uniform procedures to assist in properly managing the event.

The University will also review its Principles of Community so that it is better implemented and will create a system wide inter-agency support system that would require the support of campus decisions by parties who are involved or responding.

Kase Wheatley, a sustainable agriculture and food systems junior and a student who was pepper-sprayed, is not convinced of the University’s efforts.

“It’s the same thing every year… they come up with ‘recommendations’ to make the campus a ‘safer’ place then they slap the word ‘community’ or sustainable on whatever the change in policy is,” he said.

Kroll Report recommendations are also included in the proposed action plans. They underscore the importance in the establishment of a well-defined structure of operating rules for leadership through identifying what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable protest behavior and scheduling formal meetings.

Shiller said improving campus protest management is a top priority for administrators.

“It clearly also matters a great deal to students, faculty, staff and the entire UC Davis community. Clearer, contemporary protest management policies, police reforms and better administrative coordination and decision-making protocols are all important steps in ensuring that our community never again experiences what occurred last November,” he said.

On Friday, UC officials released a separate report that examines policies and practices in regard to UC-system responses to campus protests.
According to the Friday press release, UC President Mark Yudof appointed General Counsel Charles F. Robinson and the dean of the UC Berkeley Law School, Christopher F. Edley Jr., to identify an ideal set of practices that should shape university responses to future demonstrations following incidents of police involvement on the Berkeley and Davis campuses last November.

Edley and Robinson met with students and staff in public forums at various UC campuses to discuss the 50 recommendations which will remain public for three weeks to allow time for public comment before they are implemented.

“This report highlights the responsibility, shared by all members of the university community, to ensure that the rights of free speech are respected – in fact honored – and that peaceful, lawful protests exist on our campuses.  At the same time, it is important to recognize the role that civil disobedience may play in such demonstrations and the attendant consequences,” Robinson said in the release.
E-mail and YouTube video comments will be accepted until May 25 at campusprotestreport.universityofcalifornia.edu and will be taken into consideration when drafting the final report.
MUNA SADEK can be reached campus@theaggie.org.


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