The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Pepper-sprayed for a reason

A great outcry arose this last week defending the students pepper-sprayed at a Santa Monica community college board meeting in California.

Students were attending a board meeting  to oppose a motion to raise the cost of popular classes when police pepper-sprayed about 30 of the students.

Many people have used the constitutional right of assembly and freedom to petition to argue that the two officers using the pepper spray used excessive force and violated the students’ rights.

But there is more to look at here than crying, screaming students.

First of all, bravo to the students for coming to the meeting and not just sitting by complaining. Unless they are acted on in a productive manner, complaints are simply annoying noise.

That said, the constitutional right is to peaceably assemble, and videos taken by the students show the gathering was far from peaceful.

Students attempted to force their way into the boardroom after they were told the room was full. The videos show students continuing to crowd police officers and argue. A few successfully forced their way into the boardroom while the rest of the protesters chanted loudly.

After watching the video of college students beating another student almost to death over spring break on South Padre Island, it is hard to blame the officers for feeling threatened when cornered by the protesters.

Third, the mob outside the door was never necessary. While students say the meeting should have been moved to a larger venue to allow more people to attend, the college had already set up an overflow room equipped with an audio-visual feed so students who could not fit into the boardroom could participate.

This incident bears no resemblance to the pepper-spray incident at the University of California in Davis last November. While those students were truly passive, Santa Monica students were engaging in potentially threatening behavior when the college had already addressed the limited-space problem.

Protesting is a part of our society, and protests have led to positive changes. But it is very easy for them to slip and lose focus. This protest only shows a lack of cooperation with the college, never a good sign for change.

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