APRIL 10, 2012 11:36AM

Jill Stein Champions Santa Monica Pepper-Sprayed Students

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Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein issued the following statement April 6, 2012:

Students and other members of the Santa Monica College community were cruelly pepper-sprayed this week for trying to participate in a public meeting about the sky-rocketing tuition costs for public higher education that are about to be imposed on them. They are heroes for standing up for this imperiled foundation of our economy and our democracy.

Specifically the students were voicing their objections to the proposed quadrupling of fees for many summer courses through a so-called "Two-Tiered Tuition" system. This comes in the aftermath of decades of tuition increases across the country which have made a college degree as much as ten times as expensive for students compared to just a generation ago. Most college students are going into deep debt to pay these high costs already, with roughly 30 million students and recent graduates struggling to repay college debt amidst desperately high unemployment rates for recent college graduates.

Back in December, 2011, Dr. Stein held a meeting with students at Santa Monica College, including Harrison Wills, president of the student association and a member of the Green Party. The subject was the impossibly high tuition costs they were facing.

Dr. Stein had this to say about the students she engaged with then:

I met many of the amazing students at Santa Monica College in my visit to the campus this past December. They are truly leaders in the fight for generational justice in their courageous stand against high unemployment, rising higher education costs, exploitative college loans, and escalating climate catastrophe that all fall most harshly on the backs of their generation. In fighting for justice for their generation, they are standing up for a healthy economy, democracy and ecology for us all.

On Tuesday of this past week, frustrated demonstrators denied access to a trustees’ meeting were turned on by the Santa Monica police when a couple of the students had broken into the board room.

About 30 people were treated for pepper spray, and two were transported to the hospital. No arrests were reported.

Priscillia Omon, 21, said she was standing behind a police officer when he pulled out the pepper spray and fired it in the mouths and eyes of people standing arm’s length away. She described a man next to her convulsing and spitting up foam after being hit with the pepper spray.

Roughly 200 students were involved in the demonstration, and 12 were allowed in the boardroom where officials were scheduled to discuss a controversial tiered payment program. Access to meeting was a point of contention among demonstrators, who said they requested last month that the trustees gather in a larger room to accomodate the crowd.


Some students, including Christine Deal, said police roughly handled many of the students in the front lines of the crowd. Deal, whose story was supported by at least two other students, said a police officer grabbed her by the neck during the clash.

A family, including a 4-year-old, were in the crowd when the officer used the pepper spray, Omon said.

A crowd of more than 100 people gathered in a hallway outside the door of a 60-person capacity room in the business building, said Omon, member of the activist group Student Organizing Committee of Santa Monica College. An overflow room with a closed-circuit video link was opened to students.


"The students wanted to be heard and we wanted to be in the room where we could fairly discuss this topic, and be seen by them," said Aura Chavez, 18, who was standing in the back of the crowd when the pepper spray incident happened. "We wanted to let them see how many students care about their education."

The subject of Tuesday's meeting has drawn the ire of students and professors claiming that the tiered payment plan would make in-demand summer classes -- like English, math, history and biology -- staggeringly expensive.


The program in question would cost $180 per unit during the summer session, up from the usual $46 per unit. That means a high-demand 3-unit course would run about $540, more than most students pay for an entire semester in the fall or spring.

Dr. Jill Stein asserted further April 6th:

We need these students to be fully educated so they can transform our Wall Street-run, fossil fuel-dependent, obsolete economy into a just, sustainable green economy for the 21st century. And as thinkers from Benjamin Franklin to W.E.B Dubois, John Dewey, and today, Diane Ravitch have warned, we need an educated citizenry in order to strengthen democracy, especially today in the age of Citizens United.

For all these reasons, higher education needs to be accessible to all. That's why I have made student loan debt forgiveness a key priority of my campaign. If we found a way to bail out the bankers who crashed the economy with 16 trillion in giveaways and free loans, we can forgive the much smaller 1 trillion dollar debt of the students, who are suffering the economic consequences of that waste, fraud and abuse.

I am committed also to making public higher education free and open to all students -- like our primary and secondary schools -- since a college education is as critical for economic security in the 21st century as a high school degree was in the 20th. This is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing, as shown by the GI bill which returned $7 in increased revenues for every $1 invested by the federal government.

[cross-posted at correntewire and sacramento for democracy]

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I (cc) save and distribute for wise instruction.
I always want to thank people who practice peace,
and pay a price.
I have suffered.
On one day alone:
a bank arrest for
Proofing - Oops -
Proving - Fraud,
lawyer's trickery,
and I spent-lost:
Good money . . .
I was shocked . . .
How corrupt . . .
Evil does incarnate.
I guess the $10,000
lost bought wisdom?
I an always shocked?
Evil sure does abound.
Vigilance is always noble duty.
I dealt with police yesterday.
Some authoritarian are Evil.
They a most dangerous foe.
Eventually, I made Peace.

A fool blurts out too much.
If I was cited I'd be in D.C.
I'd face Federal Magistrate.
Morel/morel mushrooms?
Beware. Caution. Wisdom.
Get a tattoo of a snarling
Waybesboro, PA's baker
had me arrested in a bank.
FBI knew about these cons.
Several lawyer stole back a
Kim Doan's Laundromat.
Banker (still) steal her cash.
Every bit of earned money?
Banker steal via bank fees.

I saw Kim this weekend.
She fears even breathing.
She's Amerasian. Well.
Eric Holder?
FBI Sonny?
Bush's regime left?
They are all in cahoots.
I was just gonna say just-
Kim Doan's family hurts.
Help her.
Do what's
the right
Bravo, Jill Stein! It took me years to pay off my meager student loan, which defaulted after I spent a year in Germany on a Fulbright scholarship for an educational pursuit. No leniency was granted me even though I wrote a letter explaining why I could not pay right away. College students should not be swamped with debt upon leaving college, it's a travesty. Thanks for another enlightening post, libby. Best, Erica
art, evil does abound! soul-trying times we live in. thanks for commenting and your own spirit! best, libby
So glad "law and order" folks like baltimore aureole feel it's OK to pepper-spray people who disrupt meetings. Because disrupting meetings is just about the worst thing anyone can ever do, and those who do it should absolutely be sprayed with noxious chemicals.

Spray first, ask questions later.
baltimore, I'm thinking maybe that darn little 4-year old was the mastermind! I'm thinking he had the advantage on the cops, being low to the ground and in the back.

not my spin, nbc report and Dr. Stein's.

thank God Obama and Romney and the like aren't taken in by the college ruffians trying to make our protective police look bad. 200 didn't break into the board room, a couple did. but I guess they all deserved to be roughed up because the game is zero tolerance for asserting one's rights against a zero tolerance, zero empathetic governance.

Dr. Stein says Bush/Obama regimes handed over $17 trillion plus to bail out the banksters who were in trouble over these economically shocking and awing years. Her platform is to use $1 trillion to bail out the students saddled with debt facing joblessness. And before people get hysterical, think again why $17 trillion went to the already wealthy top one percent?????

I say CHAMPION ON, DR. STEIN!!!! Nobody else in the political circle is even remotely standing by the kids, or the rest of struggling working or trying to work America.

thanks for commenting and for YOUR spin. libby
thanks, erica, for commenting! Germany on a Fulbright! What a smart cookie you are (but that was clear, already). How tough to have the loan default on you. What a punishment for something deserving a reward!

I too left college with a national defense student loan. Nothing like what is up today for the kids, though.

In high school I assumed I would go to a community college and commute from my parents home but that NDS loan gave me a more challenging college and let me live away from home for the college years, both very profound and gratifying opportunities for me.

I look at the diploma mills of today and know young adults personally who got scammed into going to schools that gave them little except colossal and insult to injury bills because of slickster buyer beware advertising propaganda.

Kids who can't even dream big any more or fathom going to college. I remember when I enjoyed college, learning for learning's sake, not the pressure to make oneself employable in a crap shoot society in which the leaders of Obama's job council keep on sending jobs overseas to make more money for themselves and their shareholders, of course. Profits over people. And then what the credit card companies have also done to students. Trying to learn the ropes of life and finance and self-discipline and lambs to the slaughter. Well, look at what this country has done to its young adult troops. Cannon fodder!

best, libby
Thanks, Janette!!!

In an above comment I am defending those who did not break into the board room of the 200, who had the nerve to be angry and agitated and shouting (how unruly!), but the ones that did were exercising their civil disobedience and daring to push for their rights. And the school deliberately knew what a hot topic it was, the tuition extortion and refused to get a bigger room. It sounds like they did arrange for a room where the demonstrators could WATCH but not speak up about the proceedings and I honestly don't know if that was pre-arranged or last minute. People went expecting to be allowed to attend. I also know the school volunteered to pay the medical bills which doesn't sound like the behavior of the police on behalf of the school leaders was in any way appropriate.

It reminds me of when Dr. Flowers and the physicians for a national health care (8 of them) bravely spoke out at Baucus' (gets 80% of his campaign funding outside of home state from juicy corporate backers) Senate Finance Committee meeting to lock in Obamacare plan funneling profits to the pharmaceutical and insurance companies and they were yanked out of the meeting in handcuffs and put in jail for daring to TRY to speak to the issues, to argue that single payer was popular with 2/3 of the country and would be sustainable and not leave 23 million plus dying every year even with full out Obamacare after 2014, but why on earth would Obama and Congress heed that. 8 activists for single payer were arrested that day for speaking up from the gallery. IMAGINE THE AUDACITY!!!. 41 people testified to the Congressional committee, and of course NOT ONE was for single payer or pro-citizen. Yeah, everything on the table for the one percent, for the 99% ZIP. Chris Hedges claims that the 41 at the table who got to testify had given a total of $3 million to those committee meeting members for their political campaigns. You know what kind of bang for the buck, that $3 million, those oligarchs and their puppets benefited from via Obamacare and if and when that mandate is forced on the country, everyone must buy inadequate insurance. 2000 pages of loopholes to ambush average Americans. But another incredible gift to the corporatists.

My niece graduated recently from Santa Monica College. I am picturing some cop grabbing her by the neck and shooting pepper-spray into her face and mouth, knocking her onto the ground! it is chilling and enraging!!!

thanks for commenting! best, libby
All I can hope for is that these kids keep on keepin' on... if they don't stay after us, we Boomers will bury them in debt.
thanks, jmac! the kids today so reminiscent of the 60s' student feistiness. where are the boomers that stood up then? can't they join the FINALLY and justifiably motivated and jerked around kids of today????? thanks for comment. best, libby

misquote in my comment to balitmore. $16 trillion plus has gone to the banksters and corporatists not $17 trillion. sorry. $16 trillion quite enough to be enraged about.
These increases are mainly artificial and they shouldn't be necesary; one of the ways they're using to hike tuition and edcuation costs are extreme copyright laws that enable people with power to "own" educational material and use the ownership of "intelectual property" to make edcuation much more expensive.

Ironically I went to the Occupy Wall Street web site today and found that the video of this was removed for copyright reasons. I was able to find it elsewhere and they made me watch a comercial before seeing it.

This should be considered a further attempt to supress democracy by using this law to restrict access to edcuational material that is vital to the threat to democracy.

Imagine if they started saying that we can't have access to the news we need because it was "owned" by someone that decided he didn't want to share it and decided to supress it!
Zachd, it is shock and awe opportunism. After paralyzing the country and plundering $16 trillion from the taxpayers due to some bargain bribing on the soul-less political class to pay off their casino capitalism which they continue on worse than ever with, now is the time to make even more hay, to break the middle and lower classes more thoroughly, to squeeze every last molecule of profit no matter whose lives we crush!!!! Slashing wages and jobs for $$$$. Why not pay themselves $9,000+ an hour as they can sink half the country below a living wage.

DEM Governor Cuomo in NY just put the knife in their heart of the working class and those struggling to stay bottom line alive with food and shelter. They got the budget out on time, so he is taking bows for being such a helpful recoverer of the state, rather than a non-empathetic crony of his BFF on Wall Street.

I am watching Obama on the NewsHour talking about taxing millionaires. Yeah, Barack, there's a safe stand, and since no one ever holds you accountable and continues to believe you, so many naive ones still left, Lucy and the football time after you have been pimped by the corporatists, you have the nerve, you American Judas, to look into the camera and nod with that righteous seriousness as if you are going to take ANY money from your rat bastard mentors for any of us. You will say it on the media with your wink, wink, wink to the corporatists. You know Congress will never let the rich guys get taxed!!! A safe faux-reform stance, Obama!!!! Let's hope those OWS kids are naive and will trust you???? Let's cash in on the branding of the OWS, the kids get roughed up by the police Gestapo that you encourage behind closed doors, but then you shamelessly pretend you have a molecule of populism in you.

And yet honest and smart and resourceful and empathetic Jill Stein can't get near a camera or a microphone because the rat bastards run the media as well as the government.

The assault of schools and teaching is breathtaking in this country from the youngest students schools to colleges and universities. You are so right, Zachd. Wasn't McGraw Hill a big winnah from the No Child Left Behind program? SHAMELESS SHAMELESS SHAMELESS.

Dr. Stein spent time with those Santa Monica students and listened to them and encouraged them. Unlike Obama she stands behind them, not out of crony loyalty either but out of respect and courage for their plight and the principles. Obama throws people who create any controversy for his electability under the bus immediately. And Bush on the other hand pins a medal on them as they take their perp walks (which is why Bush had more admiration than fair weather opportunist friend Barack), but cronyism without principle and tough love is gangster group think. Obama has that kind of loyalty to the Wall Street class, though. I have to give him that too, I guess. :(

Matt Taibbi did an article the other day saying how Obama's new Jobs act is a stab in the heart for the American worker and the biggest wet kiss once again for the corporatists!!!!! Well, look what GE did to its employees. And Mr. GE is Obama's #1 advisor.

Oh yeah, and Obama is bragging passively aggressively, don't give tax breaks to PEOPLE LIKE ME. Oh, Barack, the ugliness of the nouveau riche who sold out the citizens taking a little ego ride during his bullshitting. Oh, and Barack now talking about the lower 98% so in need. BULLSHIT, BARACK, BULLSHIT from you. Your new centerpiece of your election, another trojan horse hollow seduction. I keep praying people will leave the obama bubble. PLEASE!!!! You don't reward evil by re-electing it!!!

thanks for visit, Zachd. sorry to get carried away so. best, libby
Libby, as long as You continue to write like a "professional liberal," You will attract mindless cretins like fRANK and baltimore who cannot interpret the first amendment rights granted by the Constitution.

They are raising tuitions because they are running a loan sharking operation through student loans. I say everybody should borrow as much as they can then tell them to come and get it when they ask for it back. I have already done just this. The problem is most Americans will start whining about their “credit.” The whiners are the willing collaborator's of a corrupt and brutal empire that has usurped everything that used to be good about America. After the revolution a credit score of over 700 should place you in a Pol Pot style reorientation camp!
I'm not a generalizer, in general, but Los Angeles is a gross cesspool of corruption. There simply is no accountability here. The courts are bought off and the cops know this. They simply can do what thye want and get away with it barring some huge press interest but hey I hear the press here too won't take on court and police corruption. The Santa Monica Courthouse is notorious for its corruption. I have to go there this week and I have the fears. Thanks for reporting this, Libby. Law and order types are nasty, and the day should come where they see what the law and order types can do to them if they get unlucky.
Bravo for a great post and bravo for Jill Stein focusing on what should be the major issue in the Nov campaign - the plight of young Americans.
thanks, mark! more of an unprofessional liberal, but the importance is being earnest! :) best, libby
Jack, it is criminal the loan sharking operation not only exploiting most adult Americans, but young adults more economically naive having killer financial albatrosses chained around their necks. The banks are also loan sharking poor countries around the world. Corrupt and brutal says it exactly. But, hell, they are into money laundering for drug cartels so what should we expect.

thanks for commenting, Jack! best, libby
Libby, You and Dr. Bramhall are two of my favorite people that keep me coming back to these boards. While others diddle while Rome (actually the whole world} is burning, You two women represent the best that woman/mankind has to offer and that is REAL and genuine concern for the world we live in. Words are insufficient for me to express the esteem I hold the two of You (AND there are others) in.
fernsy, how depressing but unsurprising to hear your take on the LA political cesspool. the media is not trustworthy, either. re media, yes, initial exploitation titillation on some tragedies to people but we know the media has its puppet masters who in the long run are not on the side of average Americans.

I always expect more from California for some reason. Like I used to with New York. Sigh. Mario Cuomo stood by principle. His Gov. son is a Wall Street sell out.

Ulp. Good luck, my friend, with the Santa Monica courthouse. I'll say a prayer.

My father died in UCLA hospital which I thought would be a superior hospital and the incompetence I faced down there and the lack of accountability and "circle the wagons" refusal to show any respect to grieving family members with their legitimate questions was horrifying. Cronyism prevailed and obstructionism to accountability.

Re L&O types in support of a police running grossly amok with zip cuff, baton swinging, paramilitary thuggery. It seems so obvious how the police have jumped the shark. L&O at all costs, ends justifies the means and hang the bill of rights, have replaced basic protection of American citizens that the police should be supplying. Where is the fellow citizen empathy? The police, just like our political leaders have broken their oaths and allegiance to the citizenry, so have too many of them and their leadership. They have been co-opted by the agenda of the fascists, as the pols.

Why I like Jill Stein. Someone to tell the fascists to talk to the hand. Sure uphill fight doesn't begin to say it. BUT SHE IS WILLING TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT. I she knows the details and the scope of the corruption. I am going to do what I can to spread word of her before November and beyond, too. Hearing someone speak the right things and really commit to the right things with ideas for change that are based on intelligence and facts and not lazy mendacious lip service, and begin to walk the walk we haven't seen in so long, save for great moments of Feingold, Kucinich, Sanders standing up for social justice, is inspiring.

thanks for commenting! best, libby
Stuart, the selling out of the youth of America has got to be addressed. All the bullshit about our youth as the future of America from the pols but when easy push comes to shove, they go after their welfare for future profits. Time for accountability for what they are doing to the youth and have done to our youth.

The youth deserve the $1 trillion bailout Stein is talking about. Instead as Jack H. said above they are food for the loan shark banksters, cannon fodder for the military industrial security complex, and thrown under the school bus re charter schools opportunities for corporate profiteering while sabotaging careers in education by minimizing all that they entail. Obama's and Arne's shameless race to the bottom. The latest War, on Teachers.

Thanks for coming by once again! best, libby
Mark, what a gift to read your comment this morning. Thank you, my friend. it means more than you know! :) I too am such an admirer of Dr. B. What classy and noble company to be associated with. It makes me want to work harder to earn such a compliment!

I am feeling like the Debbie Downer of os at times. I can be clunky at times and too shaming and have my own talk the talk but not enuf walking of the walk, and I am seat of the pants learning all the time and can't always wrap my mind around the economic details especially and historical details about foreign countries. Crash learning about them as I watch America plan to destroy their peoples. But I have if nothing else a sense of urgency and horror! And I appreciate that with you and others here, too, thank God there is a momentum going on among us real liberals!

I heard Sy Hersch on Democracy Now say at the end of the show about the Iran war-mongering and the terrorist MEK that American politicians are supporting. "As bad as you think it all is, it is worse!" If American history books write the truth about what has happened in the Bush/Obama regimes, he said, it will be beyond ugly. EVIL.

There are so many fresh hells. Thank God the truth is coming out on cyberspace since the fourth estate is made up of lapdogs for access to their corporatist daddies and $$. One of the latest horrors is obama prosecuting a 14-year CIA vet who is talking honestly about the torture program. As someone wrote recently, if Manning and others had committed war crimes they would be fine and dandy. But to speak out on war crimes in Obamaworld you can face the death penalty. It out-Orwells Orwell!

Last night I switched off a repeat I hadn't seen of Bill Moyers new show and turned to Bob Newhart's old show. I had hit my saturation point I guess for the day, anyway. Mark, there is soooo much wrong. Evil is out of the shadows and in all our faces, and why are not more of us OUTRAGED!!!????? When the president and Congress and media are totally captured. I hold the media and especially the faux-progressive hipsters hawking for Obama as part of the problem instead of calling out all the exploitive bullshit of both legacy parties they are into gamesmanship and the Nov. horse race and cherrypicking and always pretending Obama is not a trojan horse of oligarchy. Very schizy. Rachel M. supporting drone warfare??

I see Cenk of the Young Turks and Current tv actually blogs here. Sometimes he takes Obama to task on his show, but still acts like the Green Party or any third party opposition is not serious and worthy of mention. Will he give the camera and mike to Jill Stein? She could clean any of their clocks if allowed to debate.

Anyway, Mark, thanks for being out there! I am so happy to see you and hear from you!!! Bolsters my spirit, always! best, libby xxx
Libby - You ROCK!!!