The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

DVC’s administration is out of line

(Scott Baba/The Inquirer)

Freedom of speech and the right to protest are two of the United States’ founding principles, but these rights are being trampled on by DVC’s administration.

At the Oct. 28 Inter Club Council meeting, members of the DVC club Students for a Democratic Society were found to have violated five charges brought against them by dean of student life Bill Oye because of the club’s Oct. 7 on-campus protest.

The protest was a peaceful, nonviolent rally to protest recent budget cuts and fee increases that have made access to higher education harder for California students.

The bulk of the charges brought against SDS were for failing to provide the Student Life Office with an itinerary for their rally and march route, for spray painting signs in the main Quad and for not filling out an activities request or having a club adviser present when the spray painting took place.

Not only are these fairly minor infractions, but some of them aren’t even against any written campus code or policy.

One of Oye’s arguments in favor of finding SDS guilty on the spray painting charges was that now that DVC is a smoke-free campus, spray painting is not allowed.

Yes, DVC is a smoke-free campus, but it is not a chemical-free zone. Citing students for this is just an underhanded way to make it harder for them to create protest signs and banners.

Part of the nature of a protest is to break the rules, disrupt business as usual and shock the public in order to make dissenting voices heard and to initiate real substantive change.

By sanctioning SDS for minor infractions, Oye and the ICC are undermining this goal. But the student protesters also need to stand up for what they believe in, take the punishments that are handed down and wear them as a badge of honor, much the way protesters have done in the civil-rights movement, anti-war and anti-nuclear movements.

Oye and the ICC should take a closer look at the true meaning of the First Amendment because enforcing nit-picking policies that do little else but keep students from practicing their right to free speech should be stopped.

Protesters in the 1960s held sit-ins that disrupted their campuses for days on end; they burned draft cards and broke into military recruitment offices. They were often punished or arrested, but unlike the DVC students who participated in the SDS protest, they broke big laws, not small policies. 

And while the argument may be made that rules must be enforced or chaos will ensue, sometimes rocking the boat is exactly what is needed. Would the civil rights battle have been successful if activists had only conducted tame, mild protests? Would the women’s movement have won the right to vote if women hadn’t forcefully protested and been arrested?

We should all be thankful that protesters are trying to wake the school up and get students out of their classrooms to protest the egregious budget cuts that are gravely damaging higher education in California.

It’s time that DVC’s administrators stop bullying students with repressive policies and for DVC students to stop being afraid to break a few rules in order to create change.


Contact the Inquirer editorial board at [email protected]

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DVC’s administration is out of line