Monday, December 12, 2011

The Public Trust & the Occupy Movement

Gina Patnaik has posted an illuminating meditation on the applicability of the Public Trust Doctrine to the Occupy protesters:

[W]e, the academic community of UC-Berkeley, are acting upon a constitutional mandate to create in the University of California not just public space but, more importantly, a public trust given over to the advancement of “rights and liberties” – foremost among these the rights to free assembly and free speech. . . How is it that the university became the property of the regents? How can it not belong to the people of California? Tracking down the answers to these questions requires decent dose of archival research and perhaps too much history to fit neatly into a single meditation on the quagmire of interests (or lack thereof) shaping the future of higher education in California. Taking some time to place the university’s constitutional mandates in context, however, can provide a basis for interrogating the regents’ relationship to both the university and the administrators they deputize to oversee individual campuses.

Steve Clowney

(HT: Concurring Opinions)

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