On November 20th, the Harvard Undergraduate Council (the undergraduate student governing body) voted unanimously to pass an act supporting peaceful protest for all students. The text of the statement is below:
Whereas the Undergraduate Council unequivocally supports the fundamental right of students to peaceful protest;
Whereas video evidence indicates that students at UC Davis were seated, silent, and at no point resisted removal violently, in action that epitomizes non-violent civil disobedience, despite being pepper-sprayed directly as per (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AdDLhPwpp4);
Whereas the Undergraduate Council recognizes the continued need to protect this right of all students, regardless of their political affiliation or perspective;
Whereas speaking out publicly in condemnation with other student unions can prevent future injurious incidents at American universities including our own;
Whereas police brutality in response to student protests on college campuses has been historically well-documented since the 1960s, including at Harvard, and most notably at Kent State on May 4, 1970, when four students were shot by National Guardsmen;
Whereas students nation-wide stood in solidarity in the aftermath of the Kent State shootings with a 4-million student strike to protest the police brutality;
Be it therefore resolved the Undergraduate Council condemn the decision by UC Davis officials led by UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to authorize this use of disproportionate force against peacefully protesting students;
Be it further resolved that the Undergraduate Council condemn the spraying of non-violently protesting students;
Be it further resolved that the Undergraduate Council stand in solidarity with the students of UC Davis and call for appropriate redress by the UC Davis and University of California administrations for affected students;
Be it further resolved that the Undergraduate Council President express this condemnation via telephone and email to Lt. John Pike, the officer responsible for the incident, Annette M. Spicuzza, the UC Davis Police Chief, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, Chair of the UC Davis Board of Trustees Kevin Bacon, and University of California President Mark G. Yudof;
Be it further resolved that the Undergraduate Council call for the continued support of the right of students to peaceful protest without violent response by the Harvard administration, the Harvard University Police Department, as well as student unions, university administrations and police departments across the US.
Emphasis is ours. We, too, hope that the Harvard administration continues to support the right of students to peacefully protest without violent response. Thank you for the solidarity, Undergraduate Council!