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I have a very simple question involving the student protests during this year’s budget summit held in our Saville Theatre on April 15, 2011.

I was on campus that day because I have a History of Cinema class every Friday from 9:35 am until 12:50 pm. I noticed the same thing the protesters must have noticed, which may have explained their extreme behavior that day: the overwhelming police presence on campus.

I understand there were some very important people visiting for the budget summit. Many of them could be future donors or sponsors of our college. However, there seemed to me to be almost more police, sheriffs, and federal marshalls on campus than students. And that would include protesters along with students like myself who have the rare Friday only class.

While everyone can agree that safety is top priority these days in every public space, I personally have never seen such a police presence in any area except when presidential or congressional candidates have visited San Diego during campaign years. What or who can explain this presence on our campus during a small budget luncheon?

One of the police on campus that day, who was putting police “do not cross” tape around the building my cinema class is held in, told me the mayor of San Diego was here. I laughed about that because the week before I had seen Jerry Sanders driving through Kensington with one aide, in an SUV, most likely on his way home from his day at city hall.

If paranoia over safety prompts such an extreme show of force from our administration (or any power that be) then the protesters’ extreme actions, inspired by insulting suspicions that we as students are being lied to by our top administrators, seems justified as a retaliatory measure.

Ben McFadden lives in San Diego and is a student at San Diego City College.

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