Students protesting tuition hikes pepper-sprayed by police in Santa Monica, CA

(video: Jenna Chandler, Santa Monica Patch)

Last night at Santa Monica College (about 20 blocks from the beach here in Los Angeles, CA), police pepper-sprayed some 30 students in a crowd of about 150 protesters. The students want affordable education. They gathered during a meeting of the college's board of trustees to voice opposition to planned tuition hikes that would raise the cost of bread-and-butter courses during the summer session by as much as 400%. I was close enough to the location last night to hear helicopters and sirens as it happened.

The LA Times reports that Santa Monica police are today "trying to sort out" who used pepper-spray on the peacefully assembled students. Reports I heard last night indicated that the person or persons responsible were campus police, not Santa Monica police, who were called in later to secure the site. Among the injured: a child, who looks to be about 4 or 5 years old from these photos.

One student eyewitness tweeted:

More eyewitness video plus photos of two of the victims follow, at the end of this Boing Boing post.

Student blogger zunguzungu in Berkeley, who has been covering student protests and campus police brutality throughout California, rounds up news link and posts about the incident this morning. An excerpt:

I have seen no allegation that any of the students were violent or even used civil disobedience; the main problem seems to have been — in the college president’s words — that the small boardroom wasn’t able to accommodate all of the students who wanted to speak: ”We expected some students, but we didn’t expect that big of a crowd with such enthusiasm.”

When students demanded entrance to the room the meeting was being held — a tiny room, with room for only a handful of outsiders (by a great coincidence) — the police went wild.

(...) How does this happen? How does pepper spray become the act of first resort? Even the anodyne phrasing of the LA Times admits that pepper spray was used proactively (“Several were also overcome when pepper spray was released just outside the meeting room as officers tried to break up the crowd”) and not in response to some kind of clear and present danger.

Or, rather, it was. A crowd must be dispersed before it does something, goes the logic of the new preemptive policing; a crowd is, itself, a clear and present danger. If you wait until the crowd actually does something, you’ve waited too long. And so you preempt it by striking first.

If you doubt that this is the way these people think, I’d invite you to read Jeff Young — the current assistant police chief at UCLA — writing his “operational review” of UC Berkeley’s police actions against protesters from last November 9th, and note that his main takeaway was that campus police should have probably been allowed to use pepper spray. For more successful protest management, he decides, what the police need is more force options. Perhaps Tasers?

More coverage of the incident: Santa Monica Patch (who were first and best on this as it broke, notably!), KTLA, LA CBS, NBC LA, LA Times story with background on the fee hikes.

Below, photos from "Lady Libertine" on Twitter: Marioly Gomez and Jasmine Gomez, two of the students she identifies as having been pepper-sprayed and assaulted by campus police at Santa Monica College last night.


    1. If there wasn’t a revolution in the US after Haymarket or Kent State, I don’t see how recent events like this would indicate revolution is much more immanent.

      1. We live in a MUCH more violent society than we did then, on both sides. It can’t just escalate forever. Once I thought the American people wouldn’t complain until they were all living in cardboard boxes, every one of them. Now I’m not sure it will have to take that long.

        Based on the types of domestic preparations the US government has been making lately, it doesn’t look like they think things will continue long as they are, either.

        1. The violent crime rate has been going down for decades. The most publicized violence these days is on the part of soldiers and law enforcement officers.

        2.  In the 1880s, it was generally accepted that Americans had the right to carry a gun everywhere they went.  In 1970, America had more crime (murders, rapes, robberies etc.) than today.  What are you basing the idea things are more violent now?  Video games?  That’s balderdash.

    2. I wonder how long before students start carrying their own pepper spray and start spraying the sprayers right back in their faces?

      People have fucking had it.

      1. I occasionally have fantasies of ordinary citizens massing up with black uniforms, body armour, helmets, riot shields, batons, pepper spray and tasers. The People’s Police.

        1. I’m sure you can find some underground fetish clubs in NYC that cater to that sort of thing. ;D

    1. Based on what we saw at UC Davis, the cops will methodically remove the goggles from your face and spray it directly into your eyes.

      (EDIT: orig wrote “riverside” i meant “davis”)

    1. Though my initial response is similar, I must take a step back and respectfully disagree. We do not want to start an arms race with the police*. In their eyes, that will just validate their ever-increasing uses of force.
      If you come to the party looking like you’re asking for violence, you will be met with violence.

      *I can’t remember the article or a commenter, but on a past BB article, someone pointed out that if you enter an arms race with the police, you will end up paying for it anyways, since our taxes buy their equipment. Consider this my weak attempt at crediting that previous commenter with the idea.

  1. Someone please inform me when Americans are ready to fight back so I can catch the next plane out of Heathrow.

    1. I had the same feeling watching the Occupy protests unfold in Oakland over the last several months. The city had recently cut back police responses to almost any kind of crime due to budget shortfalls—you pretty much couldn’t even get a cop to show up for anything shy of a murder in progress. But get a bunch of non-violent demonstrators outside of City Hall and they suddenly find enough cash for SWAT teams, helicopters, tear gas canisters and military-style riot vehicles.

  2. I have a bad feeling that a pattern has been established:

    1. Individuals protest.

    2. Police use pepper spray or other excessive force.

    3. Business as usual resumes. 

  3. ‘(“Several were also overcome when pepper spray was released just outside the meeting room as officers tried to break up the crowd”) and not in response to some kind of clear and present danger.’
    Ah, I see what happened here, somehow, the pepper spray, which heretofore had been in custody, was released, whereupon it, the pepper spray, became violent and attacked the protestors’ eyes, noses, and respiratory tracts. I’m sure the police tried to stop the pepper spray, but once it was released there was no stopping it.

  4. “Trying to sort out” which cop used pepper spray. I would think it wouldn’t be too hard to make pepper spray devices with little black boxes – something to record what time they were used. Maybe a library check-out policy to track the devices. Or a low tech solution might be a little backlash that squirts dye on the hand of the pepper spray user, something that can’t be washed off for a day or two, so it would be easy to see who had used it. Either you just voted in Iraq or you pepper sprayed somebody, ossiffer.

    1. Can’t they just check to see who DIDN’T turn in a full cannister of pepper spray, or check for residue on the nozzles of the cans? Surely it would be wet or something.

      They have an effing forensics lab — but surely this only requires Poirot, rather than CSI, levels of forensics.

      1. “I am Spartacus”..  All the “innocent” cops on that shift would simply empty their own canisters before turn-in.  Discharge it under water in a toilet or some such.

        1. Like I said — any cop who turns in a canister that has been used would face disciplinary action. The fact that all of them might be willing to take the fall for one of them shouldn’t stop IA from holding them responsible. 

          I don’t know what sorts of actions are appropriate for this sort of thing (docking vacation days seems to be the norm over on the east coast) — but hitting them in the wallet seems like an appropriate start. There’s basically NO opportunity cost (aside from chants of “shame!”) for choosing to use pepper spray or tasing, which is likely why we see so much of it. 

    2.  We’re thinking too small here. It should be possible and not too expensive with current technology to mount a video camera on all pepper spray, firearms, maybe even batons? No need to turn the camera on or off at key moment, just leave it on and stream it back to a server that records everything in view at all times. (Maybe a modesty shield could be put over it when going to cop-potty?) There would still be simple ways to subvert this, but you’d need to explain to the public or to an honest supervisor if your camera was conspicuously covered at important times when it was activated.

      I assume they’re working out or have worked out best practices for this kind of thing when it comes to dash-mounted cameras in cop cars, potentially capturing the actions of suspects and abuses by cops.

  5. “Remember, as you all go out there to keep things orderly, we want to be sensitive about how we respond to any protesters. We don’t want a repeat of UC Davis’ pepper spray incident.”

    “Something about pepper spray and protesters! Got it!”

  6. Jesus, the police are out of control in that country… pepper spray is more synonymous with the boys in blue than donuts. 

      1. You just gave me a great idea.  Next time you go to a protest, hang donuts all over your body; maybe make a pair of goggles out of a couple.  The stress resulting from the thought of ruining perfectly good donuts will incapacitate the police…

  7. It looked pretty chaotic in the second video, it was quickly turning into a mob situation. There was no way the 4-5 officers could stop the pushing mob and it continued even after a few students got hurt in the front.

    Put yourself in the officers shoes for a minute and think about how you would deal with that size of mob with students showing an aggressive posture towards you. I don’t condone the use of pepper spray, especially in a small area, but what other option did they have? 

    1.  Good point, it’s much better to have a half-blinded mob tearing towards you in a rush to get fresh air, throwing elbows and kicking both you and each other in a frenzy.

      You know in soccer, when a ref holds up a card he’s pretty much lost control of the game, because taking a player aside quietly isn’t working anymore because the players don’t respect him?  Dropping pepper spray is the police’s way of saying they’ve lost control of the situation.

      1. You’re totally right, the students in the first video were running towards the police, please. Everybody ran away which is the purpose of the spray in the first place, to disperse a crowd.

        The officers had a clear goal in mind, keep people out. They didn’t hate the students or chose any side, they got orders to keep people out and they did that.

        The situation got out of control when the pushing started so they used the spray. What would you have them do? Stand there and get pushed through a glass door?

        I’m looking at this with a non-biased POV and in this situation, with the amount of shoving and aggression, the students in front would have gotten trampled if that door opened.

        1. I’m looking at this with a non-biased POV and in this situation, with the amount of shoving and aggression, the students in front would have gotten trampled if that door opened.

          No you’re not.  Because there is no such thing as a non-biased POV.  It’s right there in the phrase: point of view.

        2. The situation got out of control when the pushing started so they used the spray.

          You should educate yourself on what happened.  There was zero violence from the protestors and they were preemptively striked on.  The pushing and wild aggression started with the COPS.

          Being an apologist for the cops is sad.  I guess the small child was peppered sprayed for her own safety?  Are you fucking for real?

          I swear to God I think some of you won’t be satisfied until the USA becomes fucking China.

          1. I’m responding to what was shown in this article, I wasn’t there. The second video clearly shows the crowd pushing into the doorway.

            Like I said in the last post, using the pepper spray was wrong but did you even watch the video?

            Were you in the crowd when all of this was happening? If not than your point is as good as mine.

            I’m looking at the evidence provided. If you can show me evidence that the police preemptively struck the students than we can have a real debate.

            Apologist? really? if you were in one of those cops shoes with a crowd of students chanting and advancing on you, wtf would you do? step aside?

            Relax, take a deep breath. Now respond.

          2. did you even watch the video?

            Yes, I did. Did you? There’s multiple videos and if you watch them you can see the cops aggressively shove people to the ground in the beginning. There’s also plenty of eyewitness accounts at this point.

            I’m looking at the evidence provided.

            Not closely enough, it seems.

            if you were in one of those cops shoes with a crowd of students chanting and advancing on you, wtf would you do?

            Ah yes, here we come to the crux of your bias. It was the students “advancing” on the cops, not the other way around. Once again, if the cops are to act as professionals, they should look at public safety and not escalate the situation.

            If one bothers to look, you can see the cops are violent towards the protestors and shoving them to the ground in the beginning.

            I’m not going to tell you what I would do. I will tell you what professionals should do.. and that’s keep your fucking cool and don’t escalate by shoving and throwing people because you’re scared of student protestors. And, certainly don’t pepper spray them either.

            You may not think you’re an apologist for the cops, but you sure play the role pretty good.

    2. I think that by the time you have police confronting the students, you already have a problem. Faced with a symbol of authority, young protestors are going to escalate until the situation plays out into one of two scenarios (a) protestors victims of unfair assault by police; (b) protestors overcome police – or better yet, both.

      My opinion is that police have no place in schools in the first place.

      1. Just to put my comment in context…

        Young people can be really unpredictable. They are as powerful as the rest of us in terms of free will but haven’t really had much of an opportunity to exercise that power yet. They still have a strong sense of principle and haven’t had the experience to see that shades of grey prevail over most problems and things aren’t as black or white as they may initially seem. They are brave fools, just like we were then. We should indulge them, as I think a society that does is better for it. And our schools should protect them from the police as much as possible, for as long as possible.

        1. Could be as we get older we wimp out and find reasons to justify our behaviour to ourselves and others. Maybe you’re just an old wuss!

          1. You just had to go for the cheap insult instead of catching my drift…

            In fact I think that as you get older you have kids and you start to have more compassion for young people and their motivations. But also you are humbled by how much they teach you.

          2. No. I just wanted a more nuanced argument which says at different times of life we have different responsibilities and see different things in terms of black and white and shades of grey. As an old wuss I haven’t forgotten what it’s like not to be one. I am looking forward to an irresponsible old age! I don’t think I made any accusations. I think all I did was suggest that there are other ways of looking at things.

        1. Police usually escalate the situation.

          Agreed, we only have to look at the Occupy movement and how often it’s the police/authorities that make the first violent moves to squash dissent.

          The sad thing is many cowardly Americans are commending this draconian approach to destroying the VERY American, very brave and VERY patriotic dissent of their fellow Americans.

          I really think some of these Americans would be happier in China where they can just get in line and keep their mouth shut like good peasants do.

      2. Campus police is great for escorting students late at night or whenever students don’t feel comfortable making a commute by themselves. They are also great for keeping creeps away and/or put.
        Pepper-spraying students…kinda puts ’em in the approximately same category as creeps…

        1. Re: late night escorts – I’ve seen this job done by students, either volunteer or paid. Campus police only seem to be useful for bullying people.

    3. But the mob wasn’t making any progress — it was a standoff, for sure — but they were holding the ground. There were no violent moves being made (aside from some strong language). 

      The “other option” they had was to simply remain there and allow the crowd to air their frustration and grievances peacefully, albeit noisily. If the officers simply stood in the doorway and not moved, I am doubtful the crowd would have tried to push through. 

      Alternately, and I like this option better, the police could have asked the crowd to pick a delegate to meet with them, and have that person speak to negotiate the terms. I think the reason these things seem to escalate is due to lack of communication on both sides. Tensions run high and snap decisions are made.

      The police always want to talk about how first amendment rights are curtailed by “time, place and manner” and I think the same should apply to the use of pepperspray. The inside of a building, in a small space like what this appeared to be, IN A HIGHER ED ESTABLISHMENT WHERE NO ONE IS ARMED, is not the time or place to be spraying the pepper. 

    4. “What other option did they have?”

      Standing aside and letting them in.

      This wasn’t a crime. This wasn’t a violent mob needing to be suppressed. It was political action about public policy intended to make a viewpoint heard. It’s called democratic process and it is unacceptable when police violence is used to suppress it.

      1.  And now the police get to use punitive strip/cavity searches on arrested students, instead of the usual pro forma arrest, citation, and release.

      2. “Let us it, Let us in”… hmm that might not be violence per se, but rushing the doors surely puts both those in the mob and those inside the building or at the door in danger…

        Think of what people like you would say if one of those protesters was trampled??

        You would probably blame that on the police too…

        1. I don’t think you really read what I wrote.

          I said that there would not have been a need for it to happen at all, what did happen, or your bizarre hypothetical wherein it was the protesters and not the police causing an uncontrolled and dangerous situation. If the student group that showed up had simply been allowed to come in, and were allowed to make their voice heard at the meeting, there wouldn’t need to be any chanting or pushing forward.

          You apparently are proceeding from the assumption that it is acceptable to use police force to exclude their voice from the process. I don’t. When the deployment of that force, and the resulting violence it inevitably and unnecessarily results in causes injury, I rightly blame the party responsible for the inappropriate use of force. You apparently just blame democracy.

          1. You apparently just blame democracy.

            I honestly think some of these weaklings would be happier in China.

    5. Are these the officers standing behind the 4ft tall woman who used speech – another non-lethal weapon – to get the ‘angry mob’ to stop pushing because people at the front were getting hurt?

      I’ve seen an officer take on a pitbull with her bare hands, simply by using stern words. Tell me how this is so much worse. 

    6. … Look again, first it is chaotic, than Jasmine chomez (the one with the strokes t-shirt) managed to relax the crowd and stop the pushing. Then, the cops apparently feel the need to react with violence. 

      Another thing that can be seen is that the room isn’t nearly full. Judging from the video, I think they let noone in. 

    7.  My, but there’s always a good little sheep to baaa for it’s master.  It takes a brave man to pepper spray a bunch of kids.  Campus cops are always so professional. 

    1. I wish Naomi Wolf was a mindless, raving hack… instead of the prescient genius she really is.

    2. Thanks very much for the link…that was incredibly interesting (although also a bit scary). Normally I’m quite dismissive of the idea that any group of people are “manipulating the populace” to create a fascist state…but she’s right – it has happened in many countries throughout the world, and the fact that they consistently seem to be working off the same essential blueprint as each other lends the idea a lot of credibility @_@
      Thanks again, will have to read more!

  8. Ummm, how about postponing the meeting for a day and moving it to a larger room? It seems to me that would have been a much more rational response to the situation.

    This has poor decision-making written all over it, and if the college leadership has any integrity at all, they need to make sure the person(s) are held accountable for this.

    1. Not quite, the meeting was almost over, the mobbing happened during the public comment period… It would have been better for the mob to have appointed representative to carry their collective weight and collective demands into the meeting….

      But let me guess, the great forsight of those in the meeting, naturally, should have agreed with your hindsight…

      The only people making poor decisions were those in the mob actively trying to disrupt the meeting, and it seems they paid a small price for that…     

      1. The only people making poor decisions were those in the mob actively trying to disrupt the meeting, and it seems they paid a small price for that…

        They weren’t trying to disrupt the meeting, they were trying to express their views in the Q&A portion of the meeting.  In other words, participate in the meeting — rather the opposite of disrupting it.

        What disrupted the meeting was probably the pepper spray.  Pain and screaming tend to be pretty disruptive.

        Yes, those in the meeting should have had the foresight to realize that students might object to harsh tuition hikes and have planned for such a reaction.

  9. And with the new Supreme Court ruling, police can start fist-fucking people too and call it a “cavity search.” Welcome to the police state Republicans and libertarians have been eager for years to install–all with the same line of “reasoning” communist China uses to suppress dissidents.

    1. What? Since when were libertarians eager for this? Wouldn’t anyone who supports this be anti-libertarian, even if they are in that pseudo-Libertarian Party? It was a Republican court and a Democratic administration that got us in this mess.

      1. You’re in a dreamworld if you don’t think that many libertarians have played a huge hand in these corporatist shenanigans.  They have helped bring much more corporatist power into our government that’s becoming more and more corporatist/fascist than people-powered.

        Go cry to the Koch brothers.

        1. No, police states and corporate states are authoritarian, very authoritarian.

          At some point we need to be able to say that police states and corporate states are *not* libertarian, nor are they liberatory, that plutocracy is *not* democracy, that war is *not* peace, and that ignorance is *not* strength. No matter how much the Kochs and others try to confuse the issue.

          1. At some point we need to be able to say that police states and corporate states are *not* libertarian

            It’s amazing the disconnect you have there.  The modern libertarian platform is pretty much privatizing almost everything for corporatist control.

            Please observe:


            You may think differently, but then that would mean you’re not a modern, American Libertarian either. Now go out and support the citizen’s united ruling some more…

          2. Sigh.

            I’m talking about libertarianism, not about the accursed Libertarian Party. When the Libertarian Party takes authoritarian positions, it is not libertarian.

            If you want a ‘normative’ description of libertarian positions, I think *An Anarchist FAQ* comes closer than any party platform.

        2. Isn’t Santa Monica College a public institution, and aren’t the police public employees?

          Not sure why you characterize this as “corporatist,” seeing how no corporations were involved.

          You can feel however you want about libertarians, but I don’t see it’s relevance to the topic of discussion.

          1. You should read what I said more closely. The public institutions are less and less so as corporatists continue to infiltrate them. We can certainly thank the Libertarians for that. If you still don’t get it, you never will. We can just agree to disagree, thanks.

  10. I’m all for peaceful protests and critical masses of people bringing about critical change but history doesn’t often allow us to be so sanguine in the face of rampant injustice. America has become a plutocracy that is frantically constructing a police state from Main Street on up to protect its gains. The Apparat will not listen to reason and does not care about the lumpen-99%. America needs radical change and I don’t believe that will come easily or peacefully. I wish it would, but unless a huge number of Americans are willing to get off their asses and bring the country to a grinding halt and stop voting millionaires into office etc…..well.

    And before you ask me – well what are YOU doing? – I got kicked around for 20+ years being a socialist activist and I finally decided I didn’t want to piss away the rest of my life continuing to fight for what seems like a lost cause and so I fled to Europe. There’s no paradise here but it beats the shit out of duh-Merica.

  11. Another video released by the AP: 1:23 shows what looks like Jasmine Gomez rushing towards an officer and being thrown to the ground.

    1. 1:23 shows what looks like Jasmine Gomez rushing towards an officer

      Oh, you mean where she jumps up and points her finger at the cop?  Yes, deadly finger pointing.  Nothing worse than when women point their finger at you.

      You know, especially after the cops were violent and shoved people to the ground in the beginning?  You know, after the cop sprayed caustic chemicals into their faces?

      Is that the part you’re talking about?

      Watch the same video you link to towards the beginning where the cops aggressively grab and throw people to the ground.


      1. I think the video adds context to the media offered in the post above, include directly relating to how one of the woman hurt her arm. Throwing someone down is clearly an abuse, but as long as you’re on a role do you want to highlight some of other instances in the video that people should check out?

        1. do you want to highlight some of other instances in the video that people should check out?

          I think it’s better to simply watch the video and try not to ignore who the true violent aggressors are.

    2. You mean where it shows what looks like Jasmine Gomez getting punched in the throat. That does not seem responsible behaviour. I don’t think spraying irritating gasses in close quarters is smart as well. Did these cops even have training?

  12. “The students want affordable education.”

    Well, at least some of them want “free” education (meaning: paid for by others).

    “Raw video posted on the Internet Tuesday evening showed students chanting ‘Let us in, let us in’ and ‘No cuts, no fees, education should be free.'” 

      1. Straw man argument is a straw man.  There is a complete and utter difference between prohibiting the poor from becoming educated and forcing others to pay for (even more of) their education.

        We as a society already pay for the K-12 education of every kid in the US (we actually require them all to attend, up to certain ages), and throw in free meals as needed.  (I think this is a good thing, even though you’ve probably already written me off as a heartless conservative who hates the poor and wants to keep them dumb and servile.)  We also heavily subsidize college and university educations through direct and indirect grants to (or outright government ownership of) many schools as well as programs for students such as Stafford loans and Pell grants (that’s not an exhaustive list, mind you). I pointed out that some of these protesters were demanding “free” college on top of that (meaning that they want the rest of us to pay for that too), and your response is that I don’t want the poor to become educated.  Nice substantive argument.

        Preemptively, I’ll also mention out that I’m not advocating the pepper-spraying of these demonstrators.  Just pointing out that the descriptive text here on BB may be a bit inaccurate.

        1. We as a society already pay for the K-12 education of every kid in the US (we actually require them all to attend, up to certain ages), and throw in free meals as needed.

          False, almost all funding for k-12 education comes from local taxes.  Your local community pays for your local schools, not Americans in general.  This is, in fact, a very serious problem with American education as it does in fact prevent poor people from getting decent educations.

          (I think this is a good thing, even though you’ve probably already written me off as a heartless conservative who hates the poor and wants to keep them dumb and

          Your bullshit “I’m martyring myself for pragmatism” attitude actually detracts from your credibility.  The notion that federal loans are somehow government handouts does the same (they’re loans, which is pretty fucking far from a handout).  State universities are funded largely by state governments, not the federal government.  For example, this particular institution probably receives very little in the way of direct federal government funding.  It’s probably almost all the state of California.

          Also, I’d rather pay to give people free college educations than pay for the shit I’m paying for now.  Indefinite detentions, DHS/TSA, two wars, several more secret wars, an increasingly Orwellian spying apparatus… yeah.  Somehow I’m having trouble getting mad about some college students wanting an education.

          1. I had no idea I was martyring myself.  Shouldn’t it hurt more?

            Anyway, Stafford loans most certainly are a form of handout.  There’s a reason they’re federally-based: they wouldn’t make good business sense to make otherwise.

             I never made any distinction between local or nonlocal funding of K-12 schools despite your claim that my comments about them were “false”.  I only talked about “society”, and I stand by my comments.  Some districts are poorer than others.  What’s your preferred solution, a national school tax redistributed equally to every district in the country on a per capita basis?

            “It’s probably almost all the state of California.”  So, like I said, government funded.  I never claimed that if states paid for school instead of the feds that somehow it wasn’t government funding.

            Thanks for at least making some meaningful effort at intelligent discussion though, as opposed to “I don’t like what you said, so I’ll pretend you said something much worse” a la oldmanraps.

    1. The specific, highly controversial measure being discussed at this meeting was a proposal that would let the college charge several times more in tuition (oh, I’m sorry—”fees”) for certain popular classes. This would give wealthy students a huge advantage over their poorer classmates in terms of academic opportunities, which is absolutely antithetical to the whole idea behind community colleges.

      1. Which doesn’t change the fact that protestors were chanting “education should be free”.

        1. Which, as I explained below, was more or less the case in California prior to 1970. So not really as batshit-crazy an idea as it might sound.

          Every change to California’s public college system since Reagan was elected governor has taken us farther and farther from “free” and this proposal is no exception to that trend.

  13. How are the protestors expecting to get free education? The state made over $800 million in education cuts last year. What are the schools supposed to do? Free education is probably the last possible option at this point.

      1. Okay, I’ll bite. How do we give them the free college education that they’re asking for?

        1. Divert money from the proven to be corrupt, military-industrial complex and their war profiteers. Decriminalize and tax marijuana and divert money from the prison-industrial complex and their drug war profiteers.

          Also, take another look at that chart and get back with me and think hard about that decriminalization stuff.

          There’s many, many ways to do it if you bother to put the mental effort towards it. I’ll never understand why it’s so difficult for some of you to see the advantages in investing in each other as a society. No wonder America is going to the fucking shitter.

        2. Prior to 1970 the University of California did not operate on a tuition-based system. It wasn’t quite “free” (there were a handful of fees for incidentals) but it was reasonably close. Then Reagan was elected governor and the rest is history.

          As for “how could such a system be economically sustainable?”, many beneficiaries of California’s public university system went on to found Silicon Valley. You know, that place which is responsible for putting approximately eleventy skillion dollars into California’s economy. Plus, having a college education makes you less likely to end up on the right side of Cowicide’s chart there.

          1. Thank you, Brainspore.  Let’s see if it the knowledge “sticks”.  It requires thinking past your nose, so we’ll see…

  14. Here are some facts (they’re always fun):
    1) They cannot move the meeting. In CA all public meetings must give notice (I believe 30 days) of time, topic and location and they cannot be moved unless the appropriate amount of notice is given. 
    2) It is not a tuition increase (which the local community college board doesn’t have the authority to do anyways), it is a fee for extra classes to be offered. Are they bread and butter? Since this is a preliminary plan and the particular class list hasn’t been released yet it is possible. But let me explain how the administration’s hands may be tied.

    Let’s say that the state cuts my budget and I will only be paid for offering 90 classes this semester instead of the 100 I normally do (this is how CA community college financing works). Lets say this school is a feeder for USC and we typically offer 10 classes in World History which are part of a transfer program to that school. For transfer students, these are “bread and butter” courses that they need.

    Now lets say due to the cruelties of fate those 10 classes are taught by adjuncts while the other 90 are taught by full time instructors. As an administrator I must cut those classes because the state will not pay for them to be offered and I cannot fire my full time faculty, even if their classes are lightly attended, due to their union contract. “Bread and butter” or not, it is the only place too cut.

    Unless I charge a fee that covers the cost of offering the class which the state won’t. A fee that is more than a Cal State school, about even with a UC and much less than the private USC. So for some students it is worth paying for.

    While it may not be a good plan and the legalities are still being debated, it is not a tuition increase or a money grab. And anything that takes pressure off the impacted community colleges will open up access to more disadvantaged and under-represented students. 

    1. It is as if a police officer, when confronted with the brutality of viciously and needlessly beating someone with a billy club, were to say: “At least I didn’t use my gun.” That the proximate cause of the problem is underfunding by the state doesn’t make the proposed plan any less outrageous. Perhaps the people who authored the plan, if they really do feel that the situation just isn’t right, should do something other than passing the burden onto a cash-strapped student body. But, of course, it really is just easier to take advantage of those without money and influence.

    2. You can call it “fees” instead of “tuition” but it amounts to the same thing: the price of education at that institution increases.  Perversely, you somehow assert that increasing the costs of students at the institution will “open up access to more disadvantaged and under-represented students.”  No, increasing the cost of education pretty much inevitably closes off access to more disadvantaged students.

      1. Increasing the cost of education past a certain point pretty much inevitably closes off access to more disadvantaged students.

        Giving something away for free means it has no value and can be easily consumed and rejected with no qualms, as there is no personal stake (as opposed to the stake of those offering the service). Giving something away for free means somebody somewhere has to pay for it. Or the ability to offer goods and/or services will be diminished as a result.

        If pro-football games were free, would attendance increase? Not past the point where stadiums could seat. Would the quality of the games increase? Not with player salaries going to subsidize free tickets, and the inevitable downturn in player and thus game quality. Which would lead to lower attendance, and more money in the pot for quality players, and the market would work itself out. Assuming both owners, players, and fans are rational players.

        Theoretically. Pro-sports is a lousy analogy. Except for the stadium-capacity issue.

        1. You’re right. All of this free firefighting, policing, and roadbuilding is really devaluing these services to the point of worthlessness. No one knows that they have received a well crafted truncheon to the head or been the recipient of a really exquisitely timed pepper-spray assault unless they get a bill for the service after.

          1. you mean, I can call for firefighters to come to my house at any time, and they’ll do it for free?!!!

            That’s so awesome. I thought it had to be an exceptional set of circumstances, ie, a barrier to entry to avoid overwhelming the system with frivolous requests.

            Sarcasm aside, if you call wolf on the firedepartment, the visit will NOT be for free….

    3. Actually they had a month’s notice about students coming. We plastered campus with fliers and even spoke directly with Trustees about students coming to this meeting only 2 days before.  The Trustees declined to respond to the request for a larger room.  There was a press conference about the rally and march to the meeting that very morning. 
      The contract ed classes in question ARE core courses and they have published a list of them; the Trustees brought them to Monday’s AS meeting where they kept spinning their sales pitch and refusing to consider any alternatives or complimentary strategies which could lessen the life span of contract ed at SMC, which they informed us was an indefinite program though DPAC had told us just last week it was a 3 year band-aid. 

      The major problem with this endeavor is that students who have late priority enrollment dates because they are 1st year or have a certain number of credits will be forced onto the contract ed track and if they do not have the minimum $540 they will not be able to take any classes. Additionally, for students supporting their college experience via Pell Grants a single 5 unit required science with lab will eat an entire semester’s grant therefore limiting access to 1 maybe 2 classes which will then alter your full time status and minimize your Pell Grant for the next semester. 

      Being a community college, SMC’s population consists of almost entirely working students. These are tax paying members of the community who are not looking for a “free ride,” but rather for the school to adhere to it’s shared governance policies and the state to honor the education master plan to provide affordable, accessible education for all in the system that they contribute to and will be able to contribute more to after they graduate. 

  15. Isn’t there an NWA song about negative feelings toward policemen? I’m trying to remember the melody.

  16. Democracy is dead in America. Corporatocracy is the ruling government now. Get rid of lobbying. Get rid of millionaire/billionaire politicians. Get rid of corporations having individual rights. America has become everything the founding fathers were against.

    1. Many of the ‘founding fathers’ were slaveholders.

      They weren’t going to let the constitution get in the way of systemic exploitation, murder, rape, or crackdowns on resistance and dissent. And their heirs haven’t been eager to let the constitution get in the way either. To give teeth to the Bill of Rights and the Reconstruction Amendments would mean going against centuries of practice and precedent.

  17. Same thing happened in Puerto Rico last year. I am glad that police are focusing their efforts where it matters; after all, nothing is more dangerous than a peaceful protester.

  18. A recent study of US millionaires found that 12% of them made their money as educators and administrators.

    The education industry and their government enablers need to understand that they have created a bubble, which needs deflation as much as the housing bubble.

    Americans who make $50,000 can not afford the product that colleges are producing at the price they are producing it. Massive cuts in costs and salaries are in order.

    But don’t expect it. Educators are entitled, just ask them.

    1. I’m an educator. Being accused of going into this field for the money is like being accused of joining the chess club for all the fast cars and loose women.

    2. Educators are entitled, just ask them.

      Colleges have been hiring unbenefited part-time professors for quite some time now. New tenured positions are not the norm.

      1. And most of the few openings for new full-time faculty have starting salaries below $50,000. Which is pretty low for a person with a Masters’ or Doctorate degree (and who is probably still making student loan payments).

  19. I think protesting is a waste of time. Protests just have an easy way of getting out of hand and people needlessly end up with police records from being arrested which would seriously dampen their future career prospects more so than a tuition hike. The school is going to raise prices no matter what the students say. The only effective way students have of letting the school administration know their displeasure is to vote with their wallets and transfer to a cheaper school or drop out. Given the crappy career prospects for many young people these days it doesn’t make a lot sense to spend all kinds of money on a post secondary education with no guarantee of decent job afterwards. At some point students need to take hard look at what they are spending on their education and ask themselves is it really worth it? Will I honestly get a good return on my investment and what will I do if it doesn’t work out? How will I pay back that student debt if the only job I am able to get is minimum wage burger flipper job?

  20. I can understand how commentors are saying that the police find money to use against protestors, but I think that you can’t compare educational funding to law enforcement funding – two different pools of money…

    1. you can’t compare educational funding to law enforcement funding – two different pools of money…

      Why not? Public funding for higher education and public funding for law enforcement are two pools fed by the same revenue stream. And one of those pools is drying up a lot faster than the other.

      1. In California last year we spent $8,667 per student and $50,000 per inmate. In the last 20 odd years we have built 1 university and 20 prisons. They don’t go to the state as 2 different pools of money. There is 1 big pool which is then divided in a really idiotic manner.

        1.  Guys, chill out. Look: the police perform the vital function of keeping your goddamn grubby mitts off rich folks money. Education just tells you why you don’t deserve it, clearly less important.

    1. More irresponsible for the police to discharge pepper spray inside a building where classes were going on. 

    2. Pretty irresponsible taking a 5-year-old child to a protest.

      Yeah.  Goddamn those evil motherfuckers for taking a child to a public meeting so that they could see students giving feedback to the administration.

  21. “It is not nice to challenge authority, disturb the status quo or offend the sensibilities of the high mucky-mucks.  The peasants will keep their opinions to themselves or be punished.”


    Let us pull away the sheets of shame to reveal the nasty rats hiding underneath.  Violence is not the answer to violence since it will only leads to more and more violence.  We need to protest in such a way as to put a strain on the status quo.  Make them spend money on keeping an eye of us and such.  Drain their resources.  Let them know we have not given up and will not be satisfied until things are set right.  If we give up then they have won and things will only get worse because they are not going give back anything on their own.

  22. They are pepper-spraying their own paying customers.   There needs to be a general house-cleaning in the upper management at that school, and the cop who lost it, needs to be fired immediately.

  23. More recently, with the recommendation of UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau, Provost Breslauer allowed campus police to use excessive force – rammed baton jabs – on students protesting Birgeneau‘s doubling of instate tuition. Opinions make a difference; email UC Board of Regents

  24. Good fucking God, what the shit is up with cops in California and pepper spraying unarmed students? When did America turn into Burma?

    1. it wasn’t Yesterday ! Remember KENT STATE   This type of thing has been happening more and more frequently and the aggressors for the most part always go unpunished. 
      HOW MANY MORE PEOPLE  NEED TO BE ACCOSTED BY POLICE BRUTALITY UNTIL SOMETHING IS DONE ABOUT IT ?   What happened to our civil right to gather and protest ?  

    1. Pepper spray is bad enough… for the love of God, please don’t give anybody the idea of letting the campus police carry hammers.

      1. If they got hammers, I would stand at a distance, behind the front line, with a sickle. Not menacingly, just holding it.

        And then presumably I’d be assaulted with pepper spray, possibly have an arm broken, and be strip-searched after I’m taken into custody for being an armed terrorist.

  25. To those who are 100% against free college: here in Finland students starting from high school actually get about 500€  of free money and up to 300€ of “free” loan per month and extensive discounts to almost all services. How has this worked out? I hear something about it being the best/top 3 school system in the world. Of course politicians are dreaming of America and want to ruin it all so “we can have more Harvards”.

    As for the video, I think more hate should be directed at the people inside and not the officers. Being “against” a mob must be scary. Of course the sprayer should be punished, officers all around made to really understand that force isn’t an option in situations like these and as an act of good faith the administrators could just re-organize a new meeting with proper student presentation.

  26. Here’s a video that gives you a view from above (I assume someone was holding their camera in a hand above the crowd) showing what happens before the police pepper spray, and then showing them using the spray.

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