Friday, October 05, 2012

Pepper-spraying California taxpayers

UC has reached a $1 million settlement with UC Davis students who were pepper sprayed at an Occupy-inspired Nov. 18 demonstration to protest rising tuition. UC will pay student plaintiffs $30,000 each, and the ACLU will pocket up to $250,000. Everything that is wrong in California resides in this story.

For $30,000, I'll get pepper sprayed.

Students think tuition costs too much, so what do they do? Sue the university - it has deep pockets.

This episode began because students know that if they stood around smoking pot and demanding more money from Sacramento, the administration would be tickled pink. UC brass and students are in complete agreement on this issue. Thus, if students want to get arrested and bask in their fictional oppression, they must set up tents in an illegal encampment or lock arms so that police cannot do their job.

That's what happened at UC Davis. Students surrounded campus cops, who warned students that if they didn't disperse, they would be subject to the use of force and pepper spray.

They stayed. They videotaped. They sued. That's how so-called civil libertarians conquer. They break rules designed not to squelch free speech, but to protect everyone's right to public space. Then they sue, secure in the knowledge that state officials will settle with them.

UC spokesman Steve Montiel explained that the university "estimated it would cost more to take it to trial." It's a class-action lawsuit, so other parties cannot sue.

I see the point. I also believe that UC inevitably will buckle in any case with a "social justice" element. Remember how, lest famished or parched activists fall from a tree, UC Berkeley delivered energy bars and water to tree-sitters who trespassed on campus for two years. At the University of California, there's always a safety net for protest, lawful or otherwise.

These students chose to get arrested - and the pepper spraying was memorialized on camera. Still, UC spent close to $1 million investigating the episode. A task force concluded that the pepper-spraying incident "should and could have been prevented."

The campus police chief and two officers no longer work for UC. Eleven students were treated for the ill effects of pepper spray. The Yolo County district attorney announced last week that no officers will be prosecuted because guilt could not be proved "beyond a reasonable doubt."

In a statement announcing the settlement, the ACLU announced it will use the money "to advocate for free speech rights and other fundamental civil liberties." In other words, university solons have managed to feed the ACLU money to fuel the next legal complaint based on a manufactured violation of free-speech rights.

ACLU attorney Michael Risher counters that the students were breaking a campus rule, not a criminal law. Some suffered "excruciating pain," and they should "get some compensation for that."

The $30,000 payments are close to what it costs to attend UC Davis for a year, Risher added. He'd rather have a system where culpable officials pay damages instead of taxpayers, but "unfortunately, that's not the law."

It might be that UC students have to work to get arrested, he added, but "the folks at segregated lunch counters, they were working to get arrested" too.

No, those civil rights heroes were fighting for equal rights. They had real grievances. African Americans were targets whether they chose to be or not. They weren't privileged recipients of a top-notch university education partially subsidized by California taxpayers.

Risher told me that the lawsuit will improve university policies so that "something like this never happens again."

Of course it will happen again. UC academics encourage students to think of protest as an integral part of a college education. As a result, some students clearly are more interested in a long-term gratifying protest experience than mastery of rich academic content.

UC President Mark Yudof even assigned a university associate vice president to implement a different report on how UC should manage protests. That's her full-time job for a year.

As part of the settlement, Chancellor Linda Katehi will send these students written apologies. Spokesman Barry Shiller wants you to know that Katehi has been apologizing ever since the incident and she's very sincere. Why wouldn't students see themselves as blameless victims who were entitled to break campus rules? There's a $1 million payday to prove it.

The next UC settlement, I think the ACLU should demand that the offending yet craven UC biggie has to clean the protesters' dorm rooms.


New Hampshire school board member calls for end to high school football

Football and boxing are regularly targeted by the do-gooders.  That people may willingly takes health risks is incomprehensible to them  -- and respect for other people's choices is also alien to them

A medical doctor who serves on the board of a New Hampshire school district wants to end the high school's football program over fears that players could suffer concussions that would lead to brain injuries later in life.

Paul Butler, a retired physician and member of the Dover School Board, proposed eliminating football at both the high school and younger levels, telling fellow board members Monday night that the move is crucial for the players' safety, reports

Butler, who played football himself, cited medical evidence that suggests even a single blow to the head can lead to multiple brain injuries, because the impact can cause the brain to rattle around in the skull.

“These people have studied brains [of] football players who have died prematurely and have found, in some of them, significant changes that they have only seen in eighty and ninety-year-olds who have Alzheimer’s,” he told the station.

Butler’s proposal was quickly sacked by parents and other board members who say it would ruin a Dover High School tradition.

Amanda Russell, vice chair at the Dover School Board told the station, “I think the longstanding tradition here in Dover says that football has to stay.”

Athletic Director Peter Wotton said all sports involve a certain amount of risk.

“With every sport we have at some point in time a student athlete gets a concussion,” Wotton said.

Wotton says concussions are taken very seriously at the school, and Dover High School is even partnered with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital in a brain concussion study

Rather than eliminate the sport completely, Board Chairman Rocky D’Andrea said coaches can ensure safety by instilling safer methods in players.

“I’d much rather see them do better job with the coaching and teaching of proper tackling techniques,” D'Andrea said.

The issue will be on the next month’s school board agenda, and Butler vowed to force it to a vote.


Australia:  Students have 'too much choice'

Absolutely typical Leftist authoritarianism.  Government must tell you what to do "for your own good".  Evans is  right that a  vocational focus is often lacking in choice of courses but how people manage their lives should be their choice.  Some may be happy to do arty things in their own time and earn their living in humble ways

TERTIARY Education Minister Chris Evans says the government's $10 billion-a-year student-demand-driven system of allocating places is not working because students have too much choice.

In what amounts to an about-face, Senator Evans told a Future of Work Conference in Sydney yesterday that the system was too driven by student choices.

"We've got lots of students wanting to do gaming design and no one wanting to do IT or computing now, but we've got thousands of jobs in IT and computing, and about three in game design and lots of graduates."

The new student-demand-driven system was introduced earlier this year.

In January, Senator Evans crowed about the massive increase in university offers, saying the government was producing qualifications necessary for the knowledge economy.

"We are opening the doors of our universities and giving more eligible Australians, from all regions and backgrounds, the skills they need to take advantage of the high-skilled, high-paid jobs of the future," he said.

But yesterday Senator Evans said universities were too focused on meeting student demand rather than meeting the needs of employers.

Universities have come under fire for lowering ATAR cut-offs to attract more students, after the federal government removed limits on the number of undergraduates they could take.


1 comment:

Sean said...

"That's what happened at UC Davis. Students surrounded campus cops, who warned students that if they didn't disperse, they would be subject to the use of force and pepper spray."

Where Im from they call that false imprisonment. These students should have been charged with that felony instead of given money.