After the incident at UC Davis, where campus police were videotaped shooting pepper spray into the faces of seated, noncombative protesters, officials at UCSB are trying to avoid a similar incident. In a memo released to the university community today, Chancellor Henry Yang said he had heard from concerned students, faculty, and staff over the weekend and that he wished to affirm “our campus commitment to civil discourse, freedom of expression, and nonviolence.”
While no violence on the part of police or protesters has occurred at the Occupy Isla Vista protest, which is headquartered at People’s Park, the Isla Vista Foot Patrol have made seven arrests, all for sleeping or illegal camping in the park. Sheriff’s spokesperson Drew Sugars said that the protesters are allowed to be in the park all night if they want, but they can’t camp. Some of the protesters have made the conscious choice to perform acts of civil disobedience “that target specific laws and their relationship to a nationwide package of policies that target the poor,” said graduate student Vikas Malhotra.
According to Sugars, when Eliot Ray Burk, 22, was arrested on Saturday morning, Mohammed Hafez, 28, “jumped into his sleeping arrangement, wrapped himself up, and said he was sleeping, too.” Hafez was then arrested, as well (for the second time in five days). Protesters say that all of their materials, including signs and tents, were confiscated by police on Saturday evening. General Assembly meetings four nights a week and tutoring three nights a week will continue at People’s Park with rallies — including performers, faculty speakers, and workshops — on Saturdays.