In an attempt to foster dialogue between the university administration and student activists, executive vice chancellor Alison Galloway and other members of the UC Santa Cruz Demonstration Advisory Group (DAG) will be hosting a forum in the Porter Fireside Lounge on June 3. The forum is designed to provide a venue for students to share their experiences in past protests.
The function of the DAG, headed by Galloway and College Nine and Ten provost Helen Shapiro, was detailed in an email sent to the student body in April of 2011. The group is staffed by a mixture of administration, faculty and students on an entirely volunteer basis.
Though partially a response to last year’s Kerr Hall occupation, Shapiro said that the group has been in the wings for a few years.
“The former EVC was interested in starting this, but it’s been a combination of a new EVC, a push from students and faculty, and general dissatisfaction about what happened last year with Kerr Hall,” Shapiro said.
Galloway’s intent is to allow students to openly communicate with the administration about protest management and policy.
“[The DAG] is here to look at the policies we have in place to interact with demonstrations, how they’re regulated, how they’re surveilled, what sort of limits are set, how the police are involved,” Galloway said in an interview during the early stages of the group’s formation. “Essentially, we’re asking, ‘How do we help the people who are forming the demonstration and help them get their message to the people who need to hear it?’ If the message does not get through, then everyone’s time has been wasted.”
As the year draws to a close, the DAG stated in an email that the group will be hosting the June 3 forum to gather student input as it reviews university policies with regard to demonstrations and protests.
According to the email, “[the] DAG would like to have this information because we’re reviewing campus policies and procedures, in part because we see problems with them. We want to be sure we hear from students about their concerns and receive their recommendations for how to revise current practices.”
In an earlier interview, Shapiro expressed her wishes for the decision-making process involving protest regulation to be more transparent and inclusive.
“The hope is to not simply react. We want to have people who are concerned about the campus sitting down and working towards a better community,” she said. “That does not mean there won’t be differences, but our goal is to have a clear, fair procedure.”
Some have expressed their concern with the methods adopted by the DAG. Noah Miska, a College Nine second-year and member of the DAG, feels that the DAG fails to address the underlying problems inherent in student protest.
“The group’s focus is on how to address demonstrations, rather than how to address the structural issues that motivate students to organize those demonstrations,” Miska said.
A May 27 email to the campus community informed students of the June 3 forum and said that those who share and participate can choose to be anonymous.
“Neither any information you give at the meeting, nor your presence at it, will be given by any member of [the] DAG to anyone in Student Affairs or the campus police, nor would it ever be allowable in any judicial affairs procedure,” Galloway said in the email.
Scheduled for the last weekend before ﬁnals, the timing may be less than optimal, but the email explained that there are many more meetings to come.
“We realize that the timing is not ideal by any means,” the e-mail said. “This forum will not be the last formal opportunity that students have to give input to DAG, but it will be the only formal opportunity this school year.”