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'Human Microphone' Echoes at UC Riverside

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More than 250 people who identify with the “Occupy” movement recently shared their concerns about violence on other campuses as they engaged in direct, respectful and peaceful dialog with UC Riverside Chancellor Tim White and UCR Chief of Police Mike Lane.

“I’m proud to see our students, faculty, and staff outraged by the disinvestment in public education,” said White, who asked for protestors to direct their attention to the state capital. “Education matters to a just society,” he added, “I’ve committed my life to that. I want us to have honest, open and robust discussion on our campus.”

Protestors and administration leaders spent almost two hours together under a crisp November sky by the base of UC Riverside’s iconic bell tower. Using the technique that “Occupy” calls the “human microphone,” students, staff and faculty echoed each phrase. Questions came up about what constitutes violence, and what responses could be expected from administration in protest circumstances.

The chancellor and the police chief committed to provide a specific list of what actions would be allowed on campus. In all instances, the chancellor asked the students to “find that space where we can work together” to avoid violent situations in public demonstrations. Joined by Lane and by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jim Sandoval, White pointed out that there are already clearly defined rules and regulations for assembly on campus, most meant to assure public safety and continued access to classes and facilities.

“Police are our co-workers and members of the community, said White. “I can’t assure your safety without police staff support.”

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