Last week, police threw tear gas at college students protesting police brutality in Berkeley, California. But on Webster University’s campus, protesters remained nonviolent and unharmed by law enforcement.
As students gathered at the intersection of Big Bend Boulevard and Edgar Road the evening of Dec. 2, Webster administrators and Student Affairs staff monitored the situation from the sidelines.
When the police arrested student protester Andrew Gurney, Provost Julian Schuster went to Richmond Heights Police Department to retrieve him.
While many protesters have been harmed in the ongoing Michael Brown-inspired civil rights movement, the administration has protected Webster students involved in demonstrations on campus.
The administration’s response to such a controversial matter was impressive. The Journal believes their presence helped ensure the students’ safety, and we value their commitment to protecting students’ freedom of speech and right to assembly.
Dean of Students Ted Hoef told The Journal student expression and protection are the priorities during these incidents — no matter what the issue.
We agree a neutral stance on the issues themselves and a focus on student rights and safety is the best way for the administration to handle these matters.
After their careful attention to Webster’s recent protest, The Journal hopes the administration would respond consistently to other police brutality protests or to opposing movements if more were to occur on campus.
While in the past it has been difficult for students and administration to connect, last week’s protest confirmed both sides can find common ground.
We believe their response to this event created stronger trust for school administrators among the student body.
The Journal hopes this trust will encourage students to continue exercising their freedom of speech through safe and positive means.