SMCPD prepares for tentative protest “camp out” Monday

Officers from the Santa Monica College Police Department met with senior school administration today to discuss how to prepare for next week’s protests which are to include picketing and possible camping on school grounds. “We’re going to take orders from senior staff,” Sgt. Jere Romano said in a phone interview Thursday. “We’re going to see how they want to handle it. One option is calling in officers from the city of Santa Monica.”

Members of the Student Organizing Committee met April 24 on campus to discuss upcoming protests which will begin with a tentative “camp out” the night of Monday April 30 and continue into Tuesday.

On Thursday afternoon, the group painted posters saying "Make books, not bombs!" and "No Contract Ed" near SMC’s clock tower for next week’s demonstrations.

According to Santa Monica Municipal code 4.08.095, camping is “prohibited in a public place.” The code specifically cites the campus of SMC as one such place but also includes public parks and all schools within the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

Romano said he doesn’t know if the protesters are trying to create a confrontation with campus police.

Many members of the SOC were among the 30 pepper-sprayed by campus police outside a Board of Trustees meeting April 3 while demonstrating against Contract Ed. The board says the program was intended to offer 50 additional classes during the summer session at cost.

National attention from the incident and a call from California Community College Chancellor Jack Scott pressured the Board of Trustees to suspend the program indefinitely until it can be vetted through the school’s “shared governance” program.

So far, at least two investigations about the incident are ongoing at the college, one by the police and another by a committee appointed by President and Superintendent Dr Chui L Tsang.

Romano said that it may be six months or more before details of the official investigations is made public.

The SOC denied our request for comment.