Page One

Press Release: ACLU Says UC Davis May Have Spied on Student Protesters

From ACLU press office / Debra Reiger
Monday April 11, 2011 - 03:23:00 PM

DAVIS, Ca. – High-ranking University of California, Davis administrators – including several vice chancellors – and campus police may have conspired to monitor and control constitutionally-protected fee hike protests at the university, according to internal documents uncovered by students involved in the demonstrations. 

A news conference to release those documents will be held TUESDAY, April 12, at 10 a.m., at UCD (South Plaza of the Memorial Union, near the central quad of the UC Davis campus.). 

Participants will include representatives from the ACLU, undergraduate and graduate student communities and various campus workers’ unions. 

"The Sacramento Chapter of the ACLU is extremely concerned about what appears to be violations of the free speech rights of students at the University of California, Davis during fee hike protests," according to a joint statement by the ACLU in Sacramento and Yolo counties. 

The documents, obtained through the state public records act, reveal high-ranking administrators, and staff members, and leaders of the campus police department formed a network called the “Activism Response Team” to keep close tabs on student activists, including monitoring student Facebook activity, infiltrating protests and attempting to obtain information about “anticipated student actions," and individuals involved in the protests. 

In one case, a campus police officer marched with students in plain clothes and refused to identify herself as a member of the UCD police department. UCD has apologized, calling it a "mistake." 

Protests have been held at campuses across the state as the University of California Regents and administrators have increased tuition dramatically. Undergraduate tuition at the University of California has increased by more than 40 percent since 2009 as essential services have been cut.