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Report faults Santa Monica College cop who pepper sprayed students

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Santa Monica College students react to being pepper-sprayed.

Santa Monica College

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About 30 students were pepper sprayed by campus police while protesting a new two-tier pricing plan for courses at a Santa Monica College Board of Trustees meeting.

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Kayleigh Wade, a freshman at Santa Monica College, and her partner Aura Chavez were both pepper sprayed.

A panel assembled by Santa Monica College found that a campus police officer violated school policy when he used pepper spray to clear a crowd of protesting students last spring.

In a 44-page report released Friday, the independent panel delivered 15 recommendations in the wake of a controversial April 2012 meeting of the SMC board of trustees. The gathering was interrupted by a protest that turned chaotic when Sgt. Jeremiah Williams deployed pepper spray three times into the crowd of approximately 100 people.

"Sergeant Williams’ decision to use his spray failed to comply with this policy in several ways," wrote the panel, citing campus police code. "First, it was not incident to an 'arrest or an attempt to restrain a violent or threatening suspect,'" the five-member panel noted.

"Dispersing a crowd, the reason suggested by Sergeant Williams’ Police Report narrative, is not an approved use," the report stated.


Innovation vs. Regulation: Two-tier pricing approved for popular classes at Santa Monica College

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In the face of dramatic funding cuts Santa Monica College's governing board has approved a two-tier course pricing plan for a number of its in-demand classes.

Students under the new plan would be charged a higher price to take a course when the state-funded classes fill up. It is believed to be the first program of its kind in the country, reports the L.A. Times.

Regulated course fees at SMC are currently set at $36 per unit, and are expected to rise to $46 this summer.

The two-tier plan would see the college create a nonprofit foundation to offer select popular classes at approximately $200 per unit, and the structure could go into effect as soon as the upcoming summer session. It would expand to the entire academic year if the program is successful. 

"The mechanics of the program are still being worked out, but generally the higher-cost classes would become available after state-funded classes fill up. The winter session may offer only the higher-cost classes, officials said," notes the Times.