March 4, 2010 Public Education protest

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protests_ca_aggie_stungun.jpgPhoto Copyright [WWW]California Aggie, with permission.

March 4, 2010 was originally a day of action to defend public education but involved a myriad of issues sparked by events leading up to March 4. The struggle was in solidarity with actions taking place on a state-wide, nation-wide, and international level in support of reforming education in order to improve its quality and accessibility for all. At UCD, protesters consisting mainly of students, joined at AM at and began . There was also suppose to be action at elementary schools from 8-8:30 a.m. and from 7:45-8:15 a.m. at junior and high schools where Davis Teachers Association members leafleted to keep more cuts to education from happening. See the March 2, 2010 Letter from the UC Davis Organizing Committee for background on reasons for the protest, proposed group actions, and various suggestions for how faculty might respond to the strike.

  1. Civil Disobedience and Police Reaction
  2. I-80 Confrontation
  3. Aftermath
  4. Reasons for Protesting
  5. Police and Highway Patrol Concerns
  6. Discussion of the Protest
  7. Related Pages
  8. Footage
  9. User Contributed Photos

Civil Disobedience and Police Reaction

Demonstrators were forcibly barred from marching onto I-80, with less-than-lethal weapons deployed and one student arrested. The SacBee confirms that the California Highway Patrol were authorized to use less than lethal force, including pellet guns, which were used to fire a pepper ball and either rubber bullets (according to KCRA) or beanbags (according to the Aggie), hitting some people in the legs ([WWW]story). The protests coincided with [WWW]student protests around the country.

Early in the day on their Twitter feed, the California Aggie claimed that the California Highway Patrol was using tear gas on protesters, but has since stepped back from that claim, having contacted the UC Davis Police Department who confirmed there were no tasers or tear gas used. UCDPD did confirm that officers used [wikipedia]pepperballs. Since then, some witnesses have defended their claims of having heard tasers, and one of those people — an Aggie photographer — took a [WWW]photo that appears to show a stun gun in use. The Aggie paraphrased the CHP as saying "that the computerized evidence shows beyond any doubt that only one Taser was deployed, and it did not successfully release its charge." An AGTV video contradicts this account, clearly showing a Taser being used in drive-stun mode, it's distinctive clicking clearly audible. UC Davis Police Department Chief Annette Spicuzza watched the video and the Aggie paraphrased her response as saying "it was unlikely Nadimi was stunned since her visible reaction did not match what one would normally see after a 50,000-volt current hits a target." The CHP subsequently admitted that a taser was used on at least one student.

Fire alarms were pulled repeatedly all over campus throughout the day. Graffiti like "Defend Public Education" was spray painted on campus buildings.

I-80 Confrontation

The most notable confrontation occurred when [WWW]students moved toward I-80 and the police set up a line with cars and law enforcement armed with crowd control gear ([WWW]photo). Fifth year student Laura Mitchell [WWW]was arrested by Davis Police and Yolo County Sheriff deputies, but the SacBee is reporting that she was cited for grabbing an officer's baton and has been released with charges of resisting arrest, unlawful assembly and failure to disperse.

The protests were stopped by a line of police just short of the interstate, but similar protests in the Bay Area resulted in the closure of the 880 in Oakland.


The sustainable and affordable student co-op, Davis Student Co-op, was agreed to be saved but the residents would have to pay higher rent. As usual when there is a protest, there was criticism and controversy. At the same time, the UCD protest received world-wide attention and got people talking about many, many issues. People were awoken from their sleep to ponder the issues facing their lives, with the intention of making things better. And perhaps through the education and learning that took place in the aftermath, people would get closer to solving the problem(s).

Reasons for Protesting


Once the protest began, it turned into a large mob-like atmosphere. Statewide, the protest was about public education and budget cuts within the UC and CSU systems.

Major "big picture" protest issues were:

photo004.jpgStrike sign — HarrisonM In terms of educational cuts at UC Davis, the protest broadened to complaints about:

Other issues that people allegedly came out to support and protest about include:

Police and Highway Patrol Concerns

photo011.jpgStandoff — HarrisonM

Discussion of the Protest

Discussion of the Goals of this protest movement.
There's also some discussion of this particular day below.

Related Pages



User Contributed Photos

photo001.jpgProtesters by I-80, after Laura Mitchell's arrest. —JeremyKoo

photo002.jpgASUCD President-elect Jack Zwald brings water to the protesters. —JeremyKoo photo003.jpgSit-in at Russell Blvd and Anderson/La Rue. —JeremyKoo

photo005.jpgLaura Mitchell —HarrisonM photo007.jpgBus Circle sit-in — HarrisonM photo008.jpgProtester at the gates — HarrisonM photo009.jpgLine heading towards the Freeway — HarrisonM


olson-banner.jpgbanner by protesters featuring swastika (the Nazi symbol is supposed to go the other way around)

graffiti-1.jpgGraffiti on MU construction graffiti-2.jpgGraffiti on MU construction

free-uc-graffiti.jpgDestructive Graffiti on contractor rented fence

costly-removal.jpgSome of the expensive Graffiti removal in progress spelling.jpgProtesters provide evidence of their spelling abilities

banner.jpgIt wasn't all destructive

battle.jpgbattle banner on-brick.jpgGraffiti over previous Graffiti

cockroaches-hide-from-the-light.jpgsecurity light bagged near Graffiti site, leaving campus less safe

Because the discussion has gotten somewhat off track, many of the comments have been moved over to a Controversy page. This page should be used to document the protest and related coverage. Arguments about it, both in favor and against, should be taken up in the Controversy page.

Stories and Information on the Protest

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2010-03-04 19:47:30   I'd like to point out how much money these protests have cost the University, City, county, and state in terms of overtime, cleanup costs, and a wasted workday for many. In an era where the state is more or less bankrupt, protesting like this is not the way to help your cause in the eyes of anyone with a brain. Trying to shut down I-80? really? Just plain dumb. —ARWENNHOLD

2010-03-04 23:25:35   I'm starting a counter-protest movement to (peacefully) combat and speak out against these irrational wacko protesters. I've tentatively named the movement "the UC Loyalists" but it could be changed if anybody thinks of a better name. E-mail me at jameschalmers84@yahoo.comJamesChalmers

2010-03-05 00:20:10   This I-80 protest reminds me of when I was an anti Vietnam War student activist at Cal State LA. In 1970 after the shootings of Kent State students and at the height of student protests, some students were gathered and one male student (I still remember his name.) said, "Lets go to the Freeway." (The I-10 San Bernardino Fwy in East LA - I didn't go.) They walked there and stopped traffic for about 20 minutes if I remember correctly. It was a big news story of a questionable protest. —BruceHansen

2010-03-05 08:19:12   What surprises me is that people are surprised by the I-80 thing. It makes a ton of sense - what else would give more publicity? I imagined it more like a game of chicken: the protestors hoped they'd be stopped in time, but had to carry on the bluff and the police couldn't chance it not being a bluff. There is no surer way of getting on national news and having people in every state hear of you than being the dummies who almost got on a major highway. —EdWins

2010-03-05 09:27:10   I agree with the sentiment: clearly taking out our state's budget shortfalls on individual students trying to obtain higher education is problematic, however destructive protests seem counterproductive to me.

Picketing, sit ins, etc., sure, but blocking freeways and vandalizing buildings all while wearing masks doesn't help your cause. It gets you attention, sure, but it makes people think "screw these dumb kids, they're just criminals anyway". Wearing a mask sends the wrong message. The point of a protest is to visibly take a stand for something you believe in. Making yourself anonymous is an indication that you are embarrassed by or ashamed of the actions you're taking. It also sends the wrong message to the public as it makes them mentally associate you with criminality, especially when you wear what frankly looks like the kind of mask a stereotypical criminal would wear.

Getting attention is only half the battle. You need to get attention and get people on your side. —rfrazier

2010-03-05 16:25:36   to reply to rfrazier, we only put on the masks when police starting firing the pepper spray or tear gas or whatever it was that they were using. —ashiggins

2010-03-06 09:06:17   Its funny that anti-semitism and Israeli aggression are both listed in the reasons for protesting section. —jefftolentino

2010-03-06 11:19:42   I thought it was a public education protest. —TomGarberson (Please see my [WWW]lengthier criticism for a more complete explanation of my throughts)

2010-03-06 11:28:51   No, it was a protest for anything that was bothering you at the time. —ScottMeehleib

2010-03-06 11:35:27   Me too. I'm particularly confused about how things like protesting Israeli politics or the size of the Taco Bell waiting area are related to education funding.

I would imagine that some protesters might be rather unhappy to learn that their protest for one goal had been hijacked to protest completely unrelated causes that they might strongly disagree with. It's a bit like writing a letter and signing your name, then having someone else come along and add a new sentence to the letter that you are opposed to, and signing their name too, so now it looks like you support *their* cause.

On the other hand...perhaps you could show up at a random protest with a sign suggesting that everyone place all of their money in your bank account. Since being present and taking *some* position apparently implies that the group is protesting in support of your particular position, maybe that will pay for your retirement! —IDoNotExist

2010-03-06 14:26:53   Someone pulled fire alarms in lab buildings. It did not impress students or professors who have time sensitive materials and lose a week's worth of work because of a false alarm.

Way to alienate a potential support base protesters. —OliviaY
truth, I know of some research that got fuddled as a direct result of fire alarms Daubert


2010-03-07 12:37:13   Have there been any allegations of police misconduct arising out of the protest? —TomGarberson

2010-03-07 16:41:04   Jessica, I'm still hoping to hear how you (or anyone else) feel the activities of the 4th in any way furthered any of the goals expressed above. Your only response in the thread that got moved to the Controversy page was that "the protest was for education." If people had a moral obligation to be out there joining in the protest, surely it must be because it is reasonably likely to have a positive impact on the problems. How so? —TomGarberson (Please see my [WWW]lengthier criticism for a more complete explanation of my throughts)

2010-03-07 19:06:48   (replying to the thread above about Palestine/Israel). Alright...but this wasn't World Protest Day or "Protest about every injustice you care about day." It was supposed to be about budget cuts and fundin to the UCs/CSU. Tacking on a million other issues really weakens the whole thing, as it merely invites anyone and everything onto the streets. This has nothing to do with their merits as causes, but couple that with all the on campus shenanigans and it really seems more like a day of random chaos with noclear message: just agnst. I'm also in the sciences, and if my lab buildings fire alarm was pulled without cause....well, few things would so quickly piss off a couple hundred grad students. I do care a ton about budgetary issues and funding, but the more that got added to this page, the less in favor of this mass protest I'm becomming. The cause is one thing, the actions taken in it's name (and apparently in the name of lots of other issues) are another. —EdWins

2010-03-07 20:29:56   SNL skit about the protests...hahahaha [WWW]

Where my frisbee at? —OliviaY

2010-03-07 21:47:17   This discussion is supposed to be about Stories and Information, so: "Story":
I really needed to use the library that day to send an important email for one of my classes, but somebody pulled the fire alarm; we had to evacuate. Luckily, I had my laptop, granted uncharged, and so I thought I'd plug it into the wall of one of the lounges in the MU. Someone pulled the fire alarm again. Then I went around looking for a non-evacuated lecture hall that might have someplace to charge my computer. Hahaha, funny story. Or it would have been, if my education hadn't been threatened by my own fellow students at the time. I was at school non-stop from 8:30am until 6:00pm that day — getting the most out of my education! By the end of the day, I just wanted to go home and eat a budget-friendly dinner. Oh yeah, and my busline changed, adding an extra 20 minutes to my route home, in order to avoid protesters, blocking the street. I was thinking, "Well, at least I didn't have to go to the emergency room today." It seems, according to this Jessica person, that at least one person would be happy at such a prospect. Better dead with a heart attack than alive with an expensive education... an education that protesters should apparently deny other students of for more than a day, in order to accomplish a shocking story at the end of the day for people to watch on their TVs. The end. [WWW]

Does anyone actually know who is responsible for the budget cuts? Was anyone protesting directly at the source on March 4? Or at least distributing corresponding contact info, or some sort of pertinent information, so that the slightly annoyed passerby might potentially be interested or get involved in a more constructive manner...? —Myself

2010-03-08 10:57:51   Hi everyone, Given the amount of debate this event has spawned, I just wanted to let you know that we welcome your letters to the editor (200 words or less) or guest opinions (aka op-eds: 600 words or less) to be printed on the Aggie opinion page, which runs Tuesdays and Thursdays. Send your opinions to editor at theaggie dot org. Thanks! - Jeremy Ogul, Managing Editor, The California Aggie —jsogul

2010-03-10 22:03:26   I must say that the actions of these protesters only serve to strengthen my resolve against the issues they are protesting against. I'm all for protest and getting to speak your mind, as long as it does not inconvenience me. Blocking roads or inhibiting traffic is perhaps one of the things that irritates me the most (I got stuck back in '06, I think, when students were protesting against Sodexho).

I understand what these students are protesting about (namely the cost of education), but to be completely frank, our UC degrees are a steal. The UC system is the greatest and most highly regarded public school system in the world. Our degrees are comparable to some of the top private universities in the world. Even after the increases, our tuition is still a steal compared to other institutions. Now, I've heard the argument that education SHOULD be free. However, in the real world, things that SHOULD happen, often can't happen due to limited resources. This is the situation we find ourselves in now, limited resources, and Economics is wholly based on the allocation of resources to maximize utility when resources are limited. But all of this (what I am saying) is pointless. College students are going to protest so that they may feel like they are part of something bigger and fighting for "social justice". It's too bad that life is so much more difficult to poor people, but that is just the world we live in. Blocking traffic (and my life) is not going to make life any easier for them. —puttputt

2010-03-14 22:46:20   OK, I watched the video on Aggie TV and I thought the protesters made an ass of themselves to be honest. Before I go any further, I would like to state that their reason for anger and frustration is 110% justified and something needs to be done. But all those protesters managed to do is make total tools of themselves and piss off the rest of the student body. A lot of people were in class and these people forced them out with fire alarms. This protests was anything but peaceful. (Well with exceptions of that dude trying to give that cop a flower...Thought that was kinda cool) These assholes, held up an intersection and buses and tried to hold down a freeway. They terrorized a town trying to FORCE people to do what they want. Do you guys see the hypocrisy here? Also the Aggie reporter was so biased and stupid. She kept saying how brutal the police were and how the protesters were being peaceful and breaking NO laws. I watched the video and counted 8 laws the protesters broke. But there was a few protesters who went on (Right after the reporter made her remarks BTW) to say things along the lines of: "I understand why the police are trying to stop us. We are breaking the law, but we have to do what we have to do and they have to do what they have to do. But the ends justify the means". God bless those protesters who said that. Although I dont agree with their means, at least they are in reality. Then to over exaggerate the injuries at the end was pathetic. You had some bruises. Watch videos of protests from the 60's and compare injuries. Oh and stop wearing Che Guevara t-shirts. The dude was a murderer and a war criminal. If you want to promote peace, wear Ghandi and Martin Luther King. (Two personal heroes of mine)

Laws broken
Town terrorized
Students caused pain and anguish to those who have nothing to do with the problem at hand
Problems still stand.

I just wish this wasnt so misguided. I personally wouldve liked to have us all lined up Russell shoulder to shoulder. Gaining support from those who surround us, rather then harassing the citizens of Davis and making their life difficult. The businesses here have been good to us, we should return the favor, not cause them harm. —Dozer

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