At Joe’s suggestion, this blog is a space for us to share and comment on information – and develop content for Monday’s Teach-in and beyond.
Filed under General Background
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I guess I will kick off the comment thread. I am wondering aloud what people are interested in talking about on Monday and/or what is already planned and scheduled? I can move my schedule around to participate via skype if that is of interest. Below I have sketched out a few thoughts.
1) Strategy for Teach In?
Recently when we hosted a teach-in on our campus we placed much of our attention on getting other voices onto campus to be the teachers. In our case the focus was OCW and we focused our attention on getting as many occupiers from Occupy Regina up to campus to talk about their experiences and what it means to be homeless in these conditions. We had local issues sprinkled in to a more global conversation. That said, I think that the voices for this discussion will come from the UC community but not necessarily – what are people’s thoughts on this? There are a lot of people that work on policing and so there is the question of whether or not you want to target that group of people to assist and/or share their knowledge? There are other resources (electronic that I will plug in somewhere on this blog later tomorrow after I teach).
2) Similar to #1 – there is the organization of the actual Teach-In which can be session that is more teaching than interactive. There is also the approach of having a larger group of people each talking for a relatively short period of time followed by Q&A. I have done both approaches and I think the best is an attempt at something a bit more interactive. A targeted discussion that shares information with participants but then engages them in a discussion – to move towards a shared understanding, an action or recommendation etc. But, perhaps before we can decide the format, we should probably narrow the topic. Which leads to #3.
3) Topic for a Policing Teach-In?
There is a lot to talk about with policing and one concern I have is that if we try to cover too much then we won’t be able to cover a topic or issue very well. What I have done below is traced out a few ideas that come to mind if I were working on the topic. Working on risk and threat in policing I think that my ideas below reflect my areas of interest. This is to say they are not exhaustive. For example:
a) Role of Police on Campus (could be University but think also of high schools): this conversation could talk about the increasing presence of police on campuses and could offer an overview of this issue with a guided conversation about what role (if any) police should have on university campuses. Tied into the conversation could be the overall increased surveillance of young bodies in elementary and high school and how police are being trained to understand their relationship to youth; it is of note the role of high profile events like Columbine, Virginia Tech and other school shootings and how these influence policing practices. This is a bit close to my research so I won’t push this but it is all linked. There is a lot to say just about the role of police in spaces of public education.
b) The role of “non-lethal” or “lesser use of force” weapons: This conversation could focus on these weapons considered to be alternatives to deadly force and trouble that distinction and contextualize their use. Discussion could include: the understanding of these weapons (think taser, baton, spray etc) and how is it that they have found their way into more and more police incidents? Giving context could focus on how these weapons are entangled in understandings of weapons as they relate to gender and bodies (bodies of the policed and the police themselves). If these weapons are meant to be “non-lethal,” a softer form of policing, when are they most often used; why and how? At what point did threat get renegotiated such that these weapons can be used on those that appear to be least threatening (young children, those with mental illness or cognitive delay, seniors, pregnant women, passive protesters etc…)
c) The role/”work” of an internal police investigation: This conversation could give context to what these are and how they operate – for example who calls for these and why”? Conversation might include the possibility of different mechanism through which to reconsider the practices of the police and what would that look like? If there were recommendations to be made to an investigating group what would they be; is there a responsible way to investigate this incident? If yes, whose voices would need to be heard how long is the story about UC police and poor practices?
I will leave it here and see what people think. Tomorrow I will try to post some links for consideration.
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