(Updated, 9/13/2012, 9:01 p.m.) The University of California on Thursday released the final version of a report, first outlined in May, that offers a series of recommendations on the handling of campus protests. The university’s president, Mark G. Yudof, commissioned the report after students and police officers clashed last year on the system’s Berkeley and Davis campuses.
Those confrontations included a now-infamous incident at Davis in which a police officer was filmed pepper-spraying seated student protesters. That police officer was later dismissed. (The university system’s Board of Regents approved on Thursday a proposed settlement under which the university would pay damages to students and alumni who were pepper-sprayed, the Los Angeles Times reported. The agreement requires a federal judge’s approval. Neither the ACLU, which filed the lawsuit, nor the university would disclose further details.)
The final version of the report on handling protests draws on 84 online comments, e-mails, and letters submitted by the public over a five-week period. It includes 49 recommendations in the same nine areas that the draft report covered, including challenges related to civil disobedience, communicating with protesters, and post-event review. In a letter presenting the report to Mr. Yudof, Charles F. Robinson, the system’s vice president and general counsel, and Christopher F. Edley Jr., dean of Berkeley’s law school, outlined key changes between the two versions.
“As a general matter, many campus administrators and police commented that the recommendations should be revised to give them more flexibility in responding to the varied challenges posed by protests,” they wrote. “Some students and faculty commented that the recommendations should further limit the ability of the police to use force.”
The final version adds a recommendation about increasing the opportunities for students and others to express their concerns to the university’s Board of Regents. It also clarifies earlier recommendations about decision making and the authorization of force during protests. The report now recommends that, “absent exigent circumstances, police should give warnings before using force options that pose health risks to individuals with particular medical conditions (such as pepper spray for pregnant women or those with asthma). The warning should clearly state that individuals with those medical conditions could be at risk of harm, and police should then allow people sufficient time to leave following the warnings.”
The university said in a statement that Lynn Tierney, associate vice president for communications in the the university’s office of the president, would take on a one-year assignment to coordinate systemwide activities stemming from the report.