In hopes of establishing a stronger relationship with student demonstrators, the Demonstration Advisory Group (DAG) will host a forum on May 7 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in College Nine’s Namaste Lounge. The event is open to all students, staff and faculty and is intended to update the campus of progress made by DAG in addition to allowing participants to voice their ideas and concerns as well as to receive feedback on demonstration-related issues.

“We’d really like to lay out what our campus is doing in terms of protests and how we continue to respond differently to student demonstrations than how some of the other campuses have reacted,” said Alison Galloway, campus provost and executive vice chancellor. “We want to make clear that we have a very different approach towards dealing with student demonstrations, especially in light of what happened at Berkeley and Davis.”

In November 2010, UC Santa Cruz began organizing its first Demonstration Advisory Group (DAG) comprised of faculty, students and staff to review campus demonstration practices and policies. With no anticipation of the Occupy and March 1 demonstrations that would later engulf UC campuses in student protest, the need for specific campus demonstration policies only escalated with the police brutality incidents at UC Berkeley and UC Davis, which shook the system only a year later.

“At the time, no one anticipated the incidents last fall that emphasized the need for each UC campus to have appropriate, clear and consistent demonstration policies,” Galloway said.

Through the forum, the DAG hopes to address issues including communication before and during an action, the role of observers, campus surveillance policies, post-demonstration review of police performance and the student judicial process. Galloway said the DAG also plans to introduce new ideas toward changing the judicial system to better handle issues with students who have been charged with protest activity.

With UCSC’s long-standing history of student-led demonstrations, the DAG hopes to address and improve student, staff and faculty concerns through direct discussion.

“We have always had major protests on this campus, and every time we’ve had an administrator present at demonstrations in order to not rely on second and third-hand word,” Galloway said.

Galloway said she hopes students will come out and get involved with the discussion in order to improve policies directed toward not only demonstration-related issues but campus communication as a whole.

“We’re trying to come up with a structure to protect the rights of people to be able to protest and keep this campus as good as a place it can be,” Galloway said.