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Davis, California

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Brief: Pepper spray settlement calls for ACLU to assist in UC campus reforms

Details of the settlement between the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the University of California regarding the Nov. 18 pepper spray incident were released last Wednesday on the UC Davis Quad during a press conference at which some of the settlement’s plaintiffs and attorneys spoke.

A total of $1 million was distributed between the plaintiffs, the attorneys and the ACLU.

The settlement also details an agreement between the ACLU and the UC system, and UC Davis in particular. The ACLU will assist all UC campuses in a series of reforms that were decided on following the aftermath of the incident last November. The reforms will aim to reduce police involvement in on-campus incidents, garner increased student, faculty and university staff involvement and reexamine the UC’s Freedom of Expression guidelines. The changes will necessitate community involvement in major decisions.

“We are very, very optimistic about the upcoming year,” said Barry Shiller, executive director of Strategic Communications. “We know there are still potential concerns based on what happened in November … we’re going into the year well prepared to manage conflict.”

Students, including pepper spray plaintiff Ian Lee, agree that reforms must be made.

“I think the settlement is a step in the right direction, but we need to do more … If campus police are to exist, they must be accountable to the students,” he said.

— Rohit Ravikumar

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