A few moments ago, I replied to a commenter on my Huffington Post piece about yesterday’s incident in which a University of California police officer pointed a gun at a group of student protesters with the following:
Ultimately the issue here isn’t this one officer’s actions. That wasn’t the focus of my essay, and it’s not the focus of my concern. The issue is the University of California’s systematic undermining and marginalizing of legitimate student protest, and the radicalizing effects that this strategy has had on activists and campus police alike.
Yesterday five UC students were threatened with arrest for chalking on their campus. Today several UC students were cited for putting up posters that included an image of the officer who drew his gun yesterday. Is this a sane way for a university to behave? Is this an approach to legitimate student protest that makes any sense at all?
I say it’s not. I say it’s dangerous.
Once again, as I have so many times in the last twenty-four hours, I find myself saying something I can’t believe I have to say: Chalking your campus to announce an upcoming event is a legitimate form of expression. Putting up caustic satirical posters criticizing university policies is not a crime.