SF State incidents create mixed reactions among students

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SF State hosted its share of excitement this past week with six arrests, two protests and a load of stress to students, staff and faculty.

The arrest of six non-resident persons at SF State on the night of Thursday, May 16 sparked a protest of about 50 students and citizens led by SF Commune members who said their friends were victims of “police brutality,” the following day at Malcolm X Plaza. Viral YouTube videos documenting the event aroused city interest in the event and lured activist group Anonymous to join the protest and organize a rally of about 30 people Tuesday afternoon.

The recent events on campus have created tension throughout SF State and provoked conversation among students and SF State officials. Some involved in the conversation were prospective SF State students as well.

“I’m going to be coming here (next fall), but I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye out for myself,” 18-year-old Hannah Stutz said. “I definitely don’t think I’m going to be living on campus.”

The dorm arrests

Police arrested and forcefully removed six non-residents in Mary Ward Hall Thursday, May 16.

A group of eight to 10 non-residents were invited into the dormitory earlier that evening, according to resident Luis Garcia. The group was followed by San Francisco Police Department officers from a commune on Capital Avenue and Broad Street that had been shut down by police the previous day according to Tiffany Wages, who invited them into her room.

Police identified where the non-residents were in the building and began forcefully removing them.

Mary Ward Hall residents Miranda Gonzales and Kenneth Anyanwu said that residential advisers rushed down the halls to tell tenants to “evacuate the building” at around 7:30 p.m. after a fire alarm was pulled by one of the non-residents.

The non-residents stay at Mary Ward Hall violated several University housing agreements, University spokesperson Ellen Griffin said.

One overnight guest is allowed per host resident. The maximum room occupancy is five people. SFPD told Griffin two dogs were with non-residents, and only service animals are allowed in University housing.

Additionally, a portion of section 1.20 of the Residential Life policies and procedures states, Residents will be required to sign in their guest at the residential community desk and present a registered Guest Pass, when asked, while visiting the residential community.

The group of guests did not have registered guest passes.

“They’re acting as if they always follow it,” student Nick Camacho said. “Every single guest you have over during the day isn’t signed in.”

Six arrests were made overall. Five were for resisting a peace officer, trespassing, conspiracy, battery of a police officer and lynching, which is an attempt to remove a person from custody of a peace officer, said Griffin. The other arrest was for drinking in public. They were sent to San Francisco County Jail, said Griffin.

A University-wide SFSU Alert about the incident was sent out at 10:45 p.m., about three hours after the incident began.

“The mass communication system was used in an attempt to dispel far-ranging and false rumors, notably rumors on social media and on the internet in general,” said Griffin. “Management of the situation itself did not require mass communication — direct communication between residence hall staff and residence had taken place.”

During the arrests, UPD Chief of Police Patrick Wasley was taken away on a stretcher, said Griffin, and put into an ambulance because of “cardiac arrest,” according to San Francisco Fire Department personnel.

Friday’s protest

Friday, May 17, a group of 50 students and citizens gathered in Malcolm X Plaza at 5:30 p.m. to discuss their concerns described as “police brutality” the night before.

The group met with Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell and asked what was being done to aid the people who were hospitalized and arrested.

Greenwell responded with, “We’ll see what we can do.”

Freshman and Mary Ward Hall resident Jaclyn Clark said it’s not the arrests that bother her, but the protest in response.

“The protestors are making things uncomfortable,” 18-year-old Clark said. “They’re sitting outside the building yelling and protesting.”

Clark thought there was “nothing wrong” with what the officers did and added she feels safe with the extra police officers around the building. She also said no one has informed her of any additional security measures or addressed the incident in general.

Greenwell tried his best to field a slew of questions coming from a combination of students and non-residents who were involved in Thursday night’s incident.

“I think the dialogue went well,” said Greenwell about the Malcolm X Plaza gathering.

Wages, who was also in attendance on behalf of her non-resident friends, felt that “little progress” had taken place during the gathering.

“We’re going to go to the jail and hopefully try to demand some medical attention for our friends,” said 19-year-old Siobhan Wynne, a friend of Wages. “Apparently, two of them were hospitalized, but another four haven’t been and they were all beaten.”

The gathering was preceded by a march to the Administration Building to confront SF State officials. A group of about 20 people sat on the lobby couches and conversed with Greenwell about medical attention for the non-residents now detained.

Greenwell then advised the group to gather in Malcolm X Plaza to discuss what the protesters wanted. Shortly after the Administration Building sit-in, emergency coordinator Kit Bomar requested that everyone, including employees, leave the building immediately.

Anonymous’ Tuesday rally

Tuesday, May 21 at 2 p.m. in Malcolm X Plaza, protesters announced that suspects arrested in Thursday night’s incident at Mary Ward Hall would be released by 5:30 p.m.

About 30 people congregated in front of the Plaza where they hung signs that read “Welcome to San Francisco Police State University” referring to the amount of force used by the SFPD after they removed and arrested the individuals at the dormitory. The charges made against the six arrested were downgraded to misdemeanors.

Protesters claim the injured suspects were not given medical aid after being arrested. They criticized administration for not doing enough to help.

“If you have any kind of ethics you would help a human being and make a phone call to get them medical attention,” communications major Celia Gonzalez said. “This is not the first or the last police brutality incident.”

Protestors urged administration and UPD to take responsibility for injuring those arrested.

The crowd later marched to Mary Ward Hall, but were denied access to the building after officials closed all entrances.

At one point, protestors blocked traffic on Lake Merced Boulevard as they walked toward the University Police Station.

Police officers stopped protestors at every entrance of the station. After a few minutes of standing outside the building, the group discovered that the suspects would be released from San Francisco County Jail before 5:30 p.m.

“They still have charges pressed against them, so they’re not completely free,” demonstrator Issac Kirk said. “Furthermore, they are still being targeted by police officers. Until these police officers are held accountable for their actions, I don’t think this battle will be over.”

25 Comments on "SF State incidents create mixed reactions among students"

  1. I got a chance to hear Tuesday’s protest. It had to be one of the least persuading protests I’ve ever seen, and it probably turned more people off than anything else. Especially trying to go back to the dorms and occupy it during finals week? Things like this is what turned many away from the Occupy movement.

  2. Small minds, especially those brain washed into affinity to police, are hard to show the light to.

  3. Hola Juan Valdez | May 22, 2013 at 3:32 pm |

    Anonymous did not call for the march and there were more than 30 people there. Try 50-75.

  4. Not only were they not trying to occupy the dorms, but the even was not called on by anonymous , it was put together by students and had a turnout of about 60 people. This article is a poor representation and statement of what the event actually accomplished and its purpose

  5. Concerned Student | May 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm |

    Sloppy reporting. Fuck Dan Nelson. Journalist hack.

    • Thank you Melissa and concerned. This sounds like it was UPD influenced to build hatred towards the protests and is a mockery of our fight for civil right and humanity.

  6. What did they accomplish? Disrupting the lives of various students dealing with stress of finals. Good Job. This desire to emulate, or in some cases supersede, the movements of the 60s and 70s has grown rampant among the collective minds of urban youth. This a desire stemmed out of frustration, and anger that has no real direction, or just cause. Because of those two conditions we as a nation have been forced to bear witness to the unorganized, ineffective, and bottom line regressive actions of young men and women against all forms of authority. This is not the 60s, and this is not the 70s. The civil rights movement has largely been won, and in many instances over corrected. We are not fighting a draft, and are pulling out of this current military engagement. Feminism has conquered, and women are proving statistically that they will soon be taking over the job market. Our president has finally openly supported gay marriage, which is slowly, but surely being legalized through out the U.S. . These are not days of oppression, these are the days of progression. All that will soon be left is a bunch of angry adolescents yelling about petty, and minuscule event like this, because that’s all they know how to do. So, what is the point of this long, and exhaustive rant? Young people get a new hobby!

    • Josh, you need to get your head out of the sand. Racism, sexism, homophobia and many other isms are well and alive. Do a little bit more prodding outside of your middle class (or slightly affluent), white, young mind and come to find that there’s still plenty of oppression going on, particularly to the middle class and lower income.

  7. Concerned Student | May 22, 2013 at 6:05 pm |

    Josh, I’m guessing you are a white, middle-class college student. Just because you’ve never faced oppression doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

  8. I found these protestors to be well meaning but sadly naive. not only in terms of how they were pursuing their ’cause’ but in what they term brutality. yes I heard the rumors of beatings in back of a cruiser etc. however one should remain sceptic of such stories especially when they rather too easily fit the narrative of oppression. propaganda is not limited to govt./corp/big pharma/other group to righteously fight against. i can only say what i saw on the phonecamera footage was a clearly resisting arrest, officers using force to subdue is hardly shocking.

    It is really hard to take a group seriously when:
    1. those arrested were in a sense in the wrong, (over guest limit, the guy in the video resisted arrest)
    2.They decide to ‘protest’ rather than go through the proper channels. (I’m sorry, you may not trust the system, but you have to use the system or at least make an attempt to before protesting if you want to be taken seriously.) If truly denied medical attention, tell your attorney you may have a good arguement for leverage in either getting charges lowered/dropped or against the dept.
    3. they use the ‘c’mon bro, be on my level/why cant you treat us on a human level.’ speel. Appealing to ‘human decency’ needs a proper context to be argued effectively; not taking the consequences of your actions (resisting arrest, trespassing, whatever) however unfair is a pretty hard sell. (similarily,the fine for forgetting to move for street cleaning here is steep, perhaps even unfair in regards to the act…you still gotta pay the fine.) ps. most of us grew out of the whole ‘fight the man, fuck the system’ thing by senior year high school.
    4. given that i have only seen footage of the guy being taken down in mary ward who was clearly resisting arrest, both by running and stuggling, it is hard to say there is a clear case for ‘brutality’ other than rumors, which are themself dubious given the eagerness to demonize ‘pigs’ by some of those protesting.
    4.2. it is extremly naive to call some minor rough treatment brutality when there is footage of south african cops dragging a guy down the street behind their van, a berkely area guy hospitalized by a CHP officer and chinese police hit and running pedestrians. it comes off sort of almost #firstworldproblems status.

    • oh yeah, and when the school vp tries to address the concerns by speaking to your group interrupting him with ‘why are you calling them trespassers, why are you supporting police brutality’ and generally appearing to having your mind set when the guy is only telling you what he knows about the situation (as in verified information and not just rumor) really doesnt help in making your group seem like reasonable people.

      • Jon, sounds like you’re puckering up quite well and kissing cop ass. Didn’t realize you were that into scat.

  9. These people aren’t reasonable. They want their way, to do whatever, whenever. Sounds like they never advanced beyond the age of 4 or maybe 5…

    • I think it’s reasonable to ask for respect and to be left alone as a guest, as well as to not live in fear of police violence. Don’t you agree?

      But you and your cop sucking cronies don’t seem to know otherwise.

      • its reasonable for the campus to have to enforce a rule on limits for guests that is clearly stated when one signs an agreement for living in the dorms. The school has a responsiblity to provide a safe environment for students, having too many people as guests can easily get out of hand. someone gets raped, someone overdoses or whatever, thats all grounds for a lawsuit for the school which already has budget issues…seriously, if you aren’t just trolling, what world do you live in?

        kissing up to the cops? if you read my post i cited a CHP case where a man was hospitalized…in this case, I have seen no real evidence of ‘brutality.’ it is amusing that sometimes protests are terribly ironic, when the BART police were protested last year it resulted in overtime pay for the cops who had to monitor the march.

        • Funny how as many point out, these rules are selectively applied and seemingly in a case where it’s to bust up political protests that aren’t agreeable to the government and its profits.

          As for the CHP bit, if you actually wrote what you were saying in a logical way, I might have actually understood it. However, your run on and fragmented sentences make you sound clearly like the dipshit you are.

        • Oh and of course, cops have to find a way to justify massive OT. I’m sure overstating policing of protests is a great way to pay for holiday gifts.

  10. When protests are staged by morons bent on violence-which includes property damage-then they have to be policed. Have to keep the animals under some sort of control. You don’t want police at your protests, behave.

  11. March mirrored the interest. I heard that the police didn’t even bother to show up and the group had to wander around in search of them.

  12. These aren’t even middle class white kid activist, they are upper class and will soon be home for the summer before returning here in a few months.

  13. Skattersal | May 23, 2013 at 10:14 am |

    Did you notice the beautiful, well fed well groomed dogs with the group. Doesn’t add up. If this was truly a hungry homeless group, those poor dogs would be on a spicket down by the lake instead of being led around by the gang on leashes from rancho cuca wealthy

  14. Chief Parker of LAPD coined a name for characters like these: “swimming pool Communists.” Typically well fed privileged youth who had bought into the message of the Party. Fits most of the Occupiers…

  15. Not all of the marchers are white, overall was a pretty diverse crowd, nice to see, but racism, sexism and homophobia are dead issues at state, archaic. Time to focus on stopping the violence on the streets.

    • rightright | May 25, 2013 at 9:12 am |

      Sexism is dead at State. Right. Just like a fully qualified woman was not passed over for the President of the University position for some unqualified man last year. Right. You must be white and male to not see the huge problems at SF State. We’re not some utopia.

  16. Observer, totally agree!

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