Conduct an investigation of Santa Monica Colleges’ use of pepper spray.
  • Petitioned CA Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott

This petition was delivered to:

Chancellor of California's Community College System
CA Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott

Conduct an investigation of Santa Monica Colleges’ use of pepper spray.

    1. Marcy Winograd
    2. Petition by

      Marcy Winograd

      Santa Monica, CA

We expect the California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott to order an independent investigation of the circumstances leading up to and culminating in the pepper-spraying and physical abuse of students, a four-year-old child, and other community members at the April 3, 2012 Santa Monica Community College (SMCC) Board of Trustees meeting. These acts involved the campus police of SMCC. We want to know what directives the police received from the school administration, which police were involved, what protocols and preparations were in place for a large public meeting, and why access to this important meeting was severely curtailed, despite interest expressed by stakeholders in voicing their protest to a two-tiered course system.

California is on the verge of defaulting on its commitment to public education. This is due to multiple factors, including Prop 13's regressive tax policies and legislative stranglehold, plummeting property values, school privatization efforts subsidized by public money, administrators' excessive salaries and pork-barrel "capital improvement" projects that burden the state with unnecessary debt. The purpose of the April 3, 2012, SMCC Board meeting was to implement a partial privatization scheme for the college. The SMCC Board had directed its staff to implement a corporate "not-for-profit" contract to teach 50 core classes that are in high demand – at three to four times the price of the regular tuition. Students and the community were attempting to express their opposition to this policy. Community Colleges' Chancellor Jack Scott (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0405-pepper-spray-20120405,0,6834089.story) implied that this plan may violate state education codes. Despite the questionable legality of the plan, the Board chose a meeting venue that had a capacity for only 60 people, and would thus not receive the public review that such a drastic plan necessitates. According to eye witnesses, the police pepper sprayed and assaulted people outside the meeting room. Thirty people were reportedly injured and two people were taken to the hospital. Violent repression of dissent in this country is a threat to our entire social fabric. It is imperative that we uphold democratic values of free speech and assembly.

Recent signatures

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    1. Reached 250 signatures

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    Reasons for signing

    • Sarah Wells LOS ANGELES, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      Because this is ridiculous. I can't even believe we have to call for an investigation; I can't believe it happened in the first place. Oh, how different our world would be if we all refused to do things we knew were wrong.

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    • CM Gutierrez SANTA MONICA, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      Public education is the lifeblood of our democracy. If we believe in ourselves, in the ideals of our Declaration of Independence and in the potential of the U. S. Constitution and "We, the People," to "promote the general welfare," we need to honor the students at Santa Monica College. Pepper-spraying them slapped them down for standing up. We need to stand up for them. Our future together depends on it.

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    • Bruce Campbell LOS ANGELES, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      When something outrageous happens such as pepper-spraying of a number of students, then we must look deeply into the situation as independently as possible -- yes independent of the SMC Board of Trustees as well as of their police department. Also, look to see if there are elite special interests or orders coming down from "above" to abuse students who exercise that alleged US Constitutional right to Freedom of Speech and Assembly.

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    • Patrick Meighan CULVER CITY, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      I worship in Santa Monica each Sunday, at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church, and we as a faith community believe that humans have the right to participate democratically in their civic institutions without fear of repression or abuse. There is no call for the pepper-spraying of citizens who are exercising their rights to assemble and engage in political speech. An investigation is fully warranted.

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    • Christina Weston NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      excessive use of non-deadly force

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