University of California: Mediation, not police, for protests

SAN FRANCISCO — University administrators should consider deploying mediators instead of law enforcement at future campus demonstrations and better train school police, a University of California report issued Friday recommended after criticism of the force police used during protests last year.

The UC report lists 50 policy recommendations to help guide the system's future responses to campus protests. In general, it calls for a more measured response that relies on more discussion at the beginning of a possible dispute in an effort to avoid the need for police.

"At the University of California we have an important tradition of free speech and protests," one of the report's authors, UC Berkeley Law School dean Christopher Edley Jr., said at a news conference. "We believe that it's a significant component of the process of education and maturation that students go through because we want them to be an active part in political life and civil discourse."

It's the latest in a series of reports spurred by campus police officers' use of pepper spray and batons during Occupy-related demonstrations on UC's Berkeley and Davis campuses.

The previous reports investigated the recent incidents and concluded that the use of force could have been avoided. The report released Friday was meant to change the university system's future responses to protests.

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