Call for accountability, democracy and transparency at UC Riverside Jan 5. 2012 | Comments (10)
A open letter was sent to UC Riverside Chancellor Tim White calling for accountability, democracy and transparency in his administration and the task force on speech and assembly at UC Riverside.
Tim White has appointed a 'task force' (here too) whose members were invited by the university administration to rewrite protest guidelines. The first meeting is scheduled 9am-12pm, Jan 05, 2012. Guanyang Zhang, a co-author of this petition has written to Tim and called for his administration to be accountable for the previous protest guidelines, and make the 'Task Force' democratic, transparent and representative.
Puzzlingly, Tim did not disclose the meeting time and venue in his email to the campus community. He did not announce the invitation of Chris Edley, Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law in his email either.
Open letter to Tim White:
I applaud your removal of the previously posted UC Riverside Student Protest Guidelines. However, your administration has not been held accountable for infringing on the right of students by drafting and releasing them. The freedom of speech and assembly is a constitutional right as well as fundamental human right. You have called a task force to rewrite the guidelines on free speech and assembly. This action itself is an intent to undermine that right.
By forming this task force in a bureaucratic manner, Tim, you are losing trust and confidence in your leadership.
I decline your 'invitation' to join the task force. I stand by my statement that the meeting and the 'task force' have to be democratic, transparent, and representative. The way that the 'task force' is formed by invitation from the university administration is no way a reflection of those principles. Four student representatives in a group of 20 is the result of a hegemony of the university administration and a failure to respect democracy and diversity.
Your Jan 03 2012 announcement on the task force's first meeting did not disclose the meeting time and venue. Also, the meeting is not open to the public. You have invited Chris Edley, Dean of Berkeley School of Law to the meeting, but you did not announce that to the UCR campus community. Please explain those decisions.
The previous protest guidelines posted specifically for students were a discrimination against students. University policies on basic human right should be agreed by and applied to the entire campus community. Also, you have not drafted guidelines to regulate the police force to protect students in a protest.
I have outlined a proposal for forming the task force in a democratic, transparent and representative way. Please review it (see below).
Please answer my questions (see below) on your role in drafting and releasing the previous 'protest guidelines', who should be held accountable for them, why the guidelines were released without announcing to the university community, etc.
cc. The media: LA Times, The Press Enterprise, SF Gate, Inside Higher Ed, Huffington Post, The Highlander, and various citizen media and blogs; concerned UC members and citizens; Chancellors of UC campuses; President of UC; various student and union groups.
Encl. Questions to Tim White and a proposal for a democratic and representative task force.
1. What was Chancellor's White's role in drafting and releasing the 'Protest Guidelines'? Did he know the guidelines? If he did, why did he let the guidelines be drafted and released, given that he acknowledged later that it was not worthy to have the guidelines. If he did not know or was not involved, how could his administration release guidelines that would affect all students on campus without letting the Chancellor know? Would that be a failure of the White administration?
Background info: On Nov 21, 2011 Tim White joined a group of students to discuss issues related to campus protest and assembly. Chancellor White was asked by a student about if there would be guidelines on protest and he answered that those were being drafted. I would like to know what 'guidelines' White was referring to.
2. Who drafted the guidelines? I request a public hearing from the person/people who drafted the guidelines, their supervisors and Chancellor White. Those who drafted the guidelines and their superintendent administrators including Chancellor White should be held accountable for committing an act to undermine students' constitutional right.
3. Why were the guidelines released (published on Dean of Students Website) without any official announcement to the campus community?
My proposal for forming the task force. I welcome suggestions from the entire campus community.
1. The university administration can only decide the administration representation. It cannot decide students or faculty representation. Forming a task force by invitation from the university administration is not acceptable.
Students and faculty are to propose their own representatives. Positions
will be elected by students and faculty respectively or determined by
other means deemed democratic and accepted by the students and faculty.
Students are the majority on campus. Following the principle of
democracy, student representation will be ~60%. Faculty representation
will be ~25%. Administration will be ~15%. The total number will be seven
whatever the number the administration representation is. (e.g. if the
administration proposes 5 people, the total number will be 35, students
will be 20, faculty will be 10). Personnel with both administration and
faculty titles shall decide the category themselves.
4. Student representatives should reflect active student groups or reflect legal representation and come from diverse ethnic and racial groups, e.g. Occupy UCR, 'FreeUCR', UAW2865 UCR Unit, and various other groups that have, may or will have public assembly or protest.
5. All meetings must be open to the public (students, faculty, staff). The public is allowed to comment and ask questions anytime.
6. Meeting agenda must be announced early enough and meeting minutes must be posted to the public.
7. Meeting quorum is 2/3 of the total number.
8. Student representatives must report to all students following a meeting or be available for report if requested by fellow students.
9. The ‘Task Force’ will be co-chaired by a student, a faculty and the chancellor.
10. Student and faculty chairs should have the right to communicate with all students or faculty through mass email.