Council: UCPD to Disclose Protocol

    As part of the resolution, A.S. Council filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act, a federal law that requires most government agencies to disclose agency records. The request is designed to reveal all documents UCPD has complied on students they have been monitoring and the extent to which undercover police officers have been used. 

    A.S. Vice President of External Affairs 2011-12 Samer Naji drafted the resolution last quarter, and received sponsorship from former A.S. President Alyssa Wing and former Associate Vice President of Student Advocacy Bryce Farrington. The resolutions, which council passed during the third week of Winter Quarter, condemn the use of police violence last November at UC Davis and UC Berkeley. 

    According to Naji, student activists first suspected they were being monitored in December 2011, when they broke into CLICS to reopen the former library. University police officers were already present upon the students’ arrival. 

    “That automatically alerted us that they might be monitoring or keeping track of the things student leaders were doing on campus,” Naji said. 

    The student activists made sure that information disseminated online was distributed through secure networks, to prevent UCPD or the administration from uncovering the details of their plans, according to Naji.  

    Students from the Student Affirmative Action Committee, the Public Education Coalition and the A.S. Office of External Affairs — all three of which were involved in the re-opening of CLICS — suspected that their principal members were subject to police monitoring, Naji said. The groups’ leaders encouraged councilmembers to demand information from the UCPD during finals week of Fall Quarter. Their request ultimately led to A.S. Council drafting the resolution throughout winter quarter, and passing the resolution on May 9. 

    Naji said he discovered a police officer dressed in plainclothes standing alongside students at this year’s March 1 “Day of Action” protest at UCSD. 

    “I personally uncovered an undercover agent who was present at the protests,” Naji said. “He was talking to the police chief, and I know exactly what he looks like.” 

    According to Naji, a long debate went into the situation, between a group of students that included Naji and a group of administrators that included the Vice Chancellor for Resource Management and Planning Gary Matthews, the undercover officer and Chief of police Orville King. At the end of it, the protesters got the undercover officer to reveal his badge, confirming that he was a police officer, Naji said.

    However, in a March 1 story in the Daily Californian, UCSD spokesperson Jeff Gattas said that police officers dressed in “plainclothes” are used at all student gatherings. 

    “It’s our protocol,” he said. 

    Naji said he was concerned by the UCPD’s wide-ranging use of plainclothes police officers. “They try to differentiate and say that they’re ‘plainclothes’ and not ‘undercover,’ when they’re essentially the same thing.”

    A.S. Council and Student Legal Services will pursue the demands of the May 9 resolution, which call for increased transparency from UCPD. Naji said he is optimistic about the resolution’s ability to inform students about the UCPD’s internal policies regarding monitoring student activists. 

    “If they [UCPD] don’t give us the information voluntarily, we’ll get it legally,” Naji said.  

    Current VP of External Affairs Olamide Noah said that, as far as she knew, Naji is still working to ensure the demands of the resolution are fulfilled. President Meggie Le declined to comment. Noah and Le said that because the last A.S. Council passed the resolution, they would not be able to speak about it. 

    Assistant manager of the University Office of Communications and Public Affairs Christine Clark said the news of the resolution had not yet reached her office, or UCPD. 

    Vice Chancellor Gary Matthews and UCPD spokesperson Jeff Gattas could not be reached for comment as of press time.


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