Victims Of The System

Posted: December 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

Remember this past summer when a bill was passed allowing police departments on Oregon university campuses?  I sure do.  Like many of my fellow classmates at the University of Oregon, I was stunned to hear the bill would permit campus police officers to carry firearms.  After reading about the events that took place on campus at the University of California Davis, I was no longer stunned, but frightened.  A group of UC Davis students were demonstrating their support for the Occupy Movement when a campus police officer decided to take matters into his own hands.  When the students refused to move, the officer proceeded to shower them with pepper spray creating a horrific scene of terror.

Things got even more serious when a video of the incident appeared online, displaying the severe actions of the police officer. (Police officer pepper spraying students) If you watched the video, you can imagine the affect it had on the UC Davis community.  People were outraged to witness college students as victims of violence from one of their own campus police officers.  Not only does the video exhibit brutality, the officer appears to have no restraint from spraying the students.

After watching the incident unravel in the news, I couldn’t help but wonder what might have happened had a similar event taken place on the University of Oregon campus.  It’s hard to predict the same outcome, but considering U of O police officers are now carrying firearms, who knows what could’ve happened.  I seriously doubt anyone would have been shot, but I wouldn’t have expected a UC Davis police officer to act so maliciously either.  Three days after the video went viral, the University announced that two police officers had been put on administrative leave and that there is an ongoing investigation.

The UC Davis campus has been in the public spotlight since a campus police officer pepper sprayed protesting students. Photo credit to Pat Slayton. students

If I were a parent of one of the students pepper sprayed, I’d file a lawsuit immediately and ask for a tuition refund.  The events that took place at UC Davis are a prime example of why campus police officers should NEVER be permitted to carry firearms.  In my opinion, it takes a special type of person to serve as a university police officer because dealing with college kids on a college campus requires a different approach.  You have to have patience or college kids will get the best of you, and clearly that’s what happened at UC Davis.  The officer clearly was frustrated and acted on his emotions, which is exactly what you can’t do.

The situation is unfortunate for everyone, but especially for the University of California Davis.  Universities around the nation can learn from this incident and modify their own procedures to ensure something like this never happens again.  The University of Oregon might want to reconsider allowing campus police officers to carry firearms.  No one wants to be the next YouTube sensation for all the wrong reasons; just ask that UC Davis police officer.


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