Campus officials consider changes to public expression policy

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Following the July settlement of a lawsuit alleging UC Berkeley administrators failed to mitigate an anti-Semitic environment on campus, Berkeley officials announced Tuesday that they will consider implementing changes to public expression policies.

The changes to the campus’s Regulations Concerning the Time, Place, and Manner of Public Expression aim to clarify policies that currently prohibit the use of firearms on campus and the obstruction of pathways and traffic during campus demonstrations.

The new policy states that “groups engaging in activities in or around campus buildings must leave open an unobstructed path sufficient for pedestrian traffic to flow into and out of the building.”

Additionally, the policy prohibits the display of imitation firearms unless “it would be obvious to a reasonable observer that the imitation firearm or other weapon is not a real firearm or other weapon.”

The policy further clarifies that prior to displaying any imitation firearms, members of the campus community must obtain permission from UCPD.

The last clarification specifies that demonstrations around Sather Gate must leave the gate unobstructed to allow pedestrians and emergency vehicles to pass through.

The policy changes follow the July settlement of Felber v. Yudof, which was filed in March 2011 and accused a member of Students for Justice in Palestine of ramming Jessica Felber — who was a member of Tikvah Students for Israel — with a shopping cart.

The suit alleged that the campus and the university failed to adopt policies that addressed that campus climate. It was dismissed by a district court in December and by the plaintiffs in July under the conditions that changes to the policy were considered.

Dean of Students Jonathan Poullard said that the policy clarifications “merely put in writing existing practices” of the campus and UCPD.

“Those practices are just one aspect of the substantial efforts that the campus undertakes on a constant basis to promote civil dialog and a elcoming campus environment,” Poullard said in an email.

Still, Abraham Levine, a campus sophomore and president of Tikvah, said the policies will be effective.

“These policies will protect every one who engages in the free exchange of ideas from harassment and intimidation,” he said.

Tom Pessah, a campus graduate student and SJP board member, said he believed the group’s demonstrations would not be affected.

“The lawsuit tried to say we were stopping traffic, which is untrue,” Pessah said. “We don’t completely block the traffic on Sproul, and we don’t use realistic weapons — we use weapons made of wood, which aren’t realistic at all.”

Campus administrators will accept comments from the campus community on the clarifications until Nov. 21. After reviewing the comments, the campus Division of Student Affairs will make a determination on whether the new policies are necessary, according to Poullard.

Honest Chung, an organizer for Students for a Democratic University and a UC Berkeley fifth-year, said that the language of the policy changes are “too vague” to properly protect students’ rights to assemble.

“It’s pretty clear what the policy says in regards to Sather Gate — it doesn’t want you to block it,” Chung said. “But for the other policies, the language is so vague that whatever demonstration or assembly or protest happens, the university can interpret it the way that they want.”

Contact Geena Cova at [email protected].

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  • police.always.lie

    Has there been an incident vis-a-vis the Israel/Palestine spate (or otherwise for that matter) wherein someone mistook a nerf-gun/super-soaker/cap-gun/etc. for an actual weapon?
    To my knowledge no, no there has not.

    UC Admin/UCPD are a bunch of authoritarian clowns, constantly attempting to exploit the politics of fear and racial/ethnic hatred to expand their power to suppress dissent. UC admin represents the ultimate in cynicism (same as it ever was).

    ATTN PIGS: STICK TO WHAT IS SPELLED OUT W/IN CA PENAL CODE SECT 626 – NO MORE, NO LESS.
    POLICE ALWAYS LIE ABOUT THE EXTENT OF THEIR AUTHORITY.
    POLICE ARE TRAINED TO LIE TO/MANIPULATE/AND OTHERWISE DECEIVE MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC.

    • Dan Spitzer

      You call the police “pigs.” Yet w/o their presence, crime would be even more rampant on campus as the bums from Pinhead Park would come over and steal students blind. And Stupids for Just Ass in Foul-Asstine would make getting to class even more difficult.

  • Guest

    Honest Chung, an organizer for Students for a Democratic University
    and a UC Berkeley fifth-year, said that the language of the policy
    changes are “too vague” to properly protect students’ rights to
    assemble.

    This idiot would have graduated on time had he not wasted time on bullshit like this:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/18/local/la-me-0719-uc-regents-20120719:

    Among them was Honest Chung, a UC Berkeley history major, who had patches of fake blood painted on his face and said he wanted to portray one of the “walking dead” that he said many students had become.

    http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Occupy-Cal-protesters-vote-to-strike-on-Tuesday-2323696.php:

    On Thursday, Honest Chung, 21, a history major, was still wearing a wristband from Alta Bates hospital,
    where he was treated for bruises to his forearms and midsection. Chung
    said his older sister called after seeing video footage of officers
    using batons, and he assured her not to worry.

    “I convinced her I
    was OK and I understood her concern,” he said. “But it was kind of left
    unsaid that it was probably best if my parents didn’t know about it.”

    How did this idiot get accepted into Cal? History majors have no excuse not to graduate in four years.

    • retard.isas.does

      lololololol
      of course you cannot objectively substantiate any of your claims

      what the hell do you care if some asshat undergrad wants to pay an “extra” year’s worth of tuition and fees? how does that alter your affairs? (ans: not in the least!)
      Just love the fact that you presume to be qualified to make admissions decisions!

      GET OVER YOURSELF.
      Don’t like what some 5th year clown has to say? Don’t read about it, don’t bother to comment on it.

      • Boo

        Of course, by replying to him instead of ignoring him you subject yourself to your own rant. heal thyself.

      • Guest


        of course you cannot objectively substantiate any of your claims

        what the hell do you care if some asshat undergrad wants to pay an “extra” year’s worth of tuition and feees?

        lol. Can you objectively substantiate your claim that Honest Chung is paying an extra year’s worth of tuition and fees?

        http://www.dailycal.org/2012/01/27/obama-outlines-blueprint-for-higher-education-in-friday-speech/

        “The (UC) already has tuition that is highly redistributive: One
        third of every tuition dollar goes to financial aid, and more than half
        of our students pay no tuition,” the statement reads.