IYSSE mounts campaign against university police censorship at University of California, Berkeley
2 December 2017
The International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) at the University of California, Berkeley, is mounting a campaign against the university’s efforts to establish police censorship over student groups. UC Berkeley’s new policy, known as the Major Events Policy, subjects all student group meetings on campus to an eight-week process of police review and requires that clubs pay for any police presence required by the administration.
The new policy empowers the police to declare any student group meeting or protest not sponsored by a department to be a “major event,” making a police presence at the event mandatory, subjecting to search those who attend, and billing the student group holding the event for the police presence as well as for additional insurance charges. The process of police review is protracted, requiring a minimum of eight weeks prior notification. It is opaque, as the police can bill the student group for a number of unspecified security concerns. The decisions that the police reach are not subject to appeal.
This policy has already been used against the IYSSE. The university denied, without explanation, the application by the Berkeley IYSSE for David North, the chairperson of the International Editorial Board of the WSWS and a leading expert on the Russian Revolution, to deliver a lecture in late October on the centenary of the Russian Revolution. On October 6, the IYSSE was informed that its request required processing by the University of California Police Department (UCPD) because David North was listed as the event’s speaker. The event, in other words, was being reviewed for its political content.