The stage was set once again at the Aug. 29 Board of Trustees meeting for another clash between protesters and the board; protesters, faculty, students, journalists, and what looked like spectators made up the audience in the packed room.

Justin Clay/Courier
Campus Police escort student protestor Sarah Belknap out of the Board of Trustees meeting held at the PCC Community Education Center on August 29, 2012 in Pasadena, Calif.

The protesters were surprisingly calm at the beginning of the meeting except for a few outbursts which quickly ceased, apart from that they remained reserved that is until the item on the new calendar.

Once the public comment on winter session began the sounds of chanting could be heard from outside the meeting room.

At one point the meeting became so disrupted board members tried to leave the room. They returned to their seats when they discovered the doors were locked.

The first speakers talked about the benefit of having a winter intersession. “Of the top ten transfer schools 60 percent offer winter intersession. Of the bottom 20 percent, zero offer winter intersession,” said Faculty Association representative Julie Kiotas.

When the next person to speak was told by board President Geoffrey Baum that he had only five minutes, the crowd began chanting the familiar, “Let them speak!”

Meanwhile, outside the crowd gathered and began chanting, “Whose school? Our school!”

The next speaker, Sam Resnick threatened to recall Baum if winter intersession was cut.

“You can’t cut winter intersession…it only takes one thousand names on a petition to get rid of a board member,” said Resnick belligerently. “If winter intersession is cut Geoffrey Baum will be put on one of these petitions.”

Soon after Resnick was done speaking, what sounded like tribal drums began to be heard in the hall outside the room. The sound was the protesters pounding the glass doors in an attempt to get inside.

When Joshua Fleming, performing arts instructor approached the podium to talk about how the Faculty Association is not representing all the faculty, audience members did not take it fondly and began yelling, “Non agenda item! That is inappropriate.”

A protester then stood up and began yelling at the board as the police officers moved to escort him out of the room, he shoved an officer and a scuffle ensued. Other officers then jumped in to assist the first one.

“ Don’t fucking touch me,”’ yelled the protester at the officers trying to escort him as he continued to struggle with police while being marched out of the room.

A female protester in the audience then got up and cried, “Shame on you,” at the board for the way the protesters were being treated.

After both the protesters were escorted out President Mark Rocha continued to speak to a surprisingly calm room until another protester stood up and began yelling at the board. Board members then stood up and tried to leave the room but the doors were locked. Police then escorted that protester out peacefully.

Police Chief Stanton Perez then addressed the crowd and asked audience members to stop the outbursts.

“Unless there is order in the room we cannot continue with our meeting,” said Perez.

The meeting was then called back into order with a noticeable number of seats vacant in the room.

As soon as the motion passed to eliminate winter intersession, almost all of the protesters left the meeting and a five-minute break was called.

When the break was over the room was nearly empty.

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6 Replies to “Protesters bring the ruckus to Board meeting”

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  2. Video of Gandara’s Arrest at the CEC

    On August 29, 2012, Lawrence Gandara was arrested by PCC Police and charged with misdemeanor battery on a peace officer, falsely accused of having punched a cop. This video CLEARLY demonstrates that Lawrence never once hit any police officer.


    0:00 – Beginning of public comment on Agenda Item G – Student Calendar. Six speakers are chosen by Board President Geoffrey Baum. He indicates that he has more comment cards in his possession.

    19:00 – Geoffrey Baum chooses a comment card that he “misread” and asks that the speaker, a faculty member, come to the podium to speak.

    19:24 – The faculty member’s speech has nothing to do with the cancellation of Winter.

    24:11 – Geoffrey Baum decides to end public comment and proceed with discussion on Item G. Students begin to protest the fact that the faculty member’s speech was a non-agenda item and that he Board is choosing not hear the other speakers who had filled out comment cards.

    24:39 – Three PCC Police officers begin to surround one particular student. Lawrence gets up to shield the student.

    24:43 – A police officer grabs Lawrence and pulls him forward, claiming that Lawrence had pushed him. Police takes Lawrence into an arm lock (see picture: and yells to Lawrence “Let go of me!.”

    24:55 – Lawrence releases himself from the hold of the cops who insist on grabbing him. He asks the police officers not to touch him.

    25:20 – The student that the police originally wanted to take voluntarily begins to leave, explaining to the audience that the Board of Trustees is undemocratic. Lawrence also begins to VOLUNTARILY and PEACEFULLY leave. He asks that the cops not touch him.

    26:32 – Three cops forcefully take hold of Lawrence and begin pulling and shoving him out of the room.

    He is removed from the room and placed under arrest.


    1. Dude. So in your mind, “this video CLEARLY demonstrates that Lawrence never once hit any police officer?” Wish I had some of what you are smoking…

      The video CLEARLY shows Lawrence accost officer at exactly 24:46, swinging his left arm. Then, he CLEARLY (oh-so-clearly) backhanded the cop across cop’s face at exactly 24:56; he’s guilty, brah. The folks sitting right behind him witnessed it, claiming they saw the assault.

      In fact, he drops an F-bomb at exactly 25:01 (disorderly conduct, my friend) and should probably be charged with resisting arrest as well.

      Mess with the bull, you’ll get the horns. Bro.

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