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Faculty Letter Calls on College Presidents to Protect Nonviolent Public Protest

An open letter assailing the violence against campus protesters this fall has been signed by hundreds of college and university faculty members across the country, according to Matthew N. Smith, an associate professor of philosophy at Yale University, who wrote the letter and has been publicizing it since Sunday.

Citing this month’s crackdowns on peaceful faculty and student protesters at the University of California’s Berkeley and Davis campuses, the letter condemns the “astonishing escalation of the violence” and threats of violence to stifle dissent. It declares that academe’s tradition of peaceful protest “is being threatened by the use of violence by university officials against their own students and faculty.”

And the letter calls on college presidents to state publicly that their campuses are “Safe Protest Zones, where nonviolent, public political dissent and protest will be protected by university police and will never be attacked by the university police.”

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