Ever meet a college radio nerd? Their dangerous fashion sense, challenging interpersonal skills and propensity for cigarette breaks notwithstanding, they’re not exactly threatening people, unless a deleted Smiths single or Throbbing Gristle first pressing is at risk.
Nevertheless, the powers-that-be at the University of San Francisco took no chances Wednesday, when the school hosted an on-campus meeting to discuss the fate of its college radio station, KUSF 90.3 FM. (The much-loved local radio station’s abrupt demise was much reported-on elsewhere, seemingly the biggest story in the Bay Area for a day or two).
On top of the aforementioned record geeks, also on hand for the meeting — in which university officials explained to an angry public why their radio station doesn’t matter — was a sizable police presence: no less than six San Francisco Police Department cruisers, an arrest van (or paddy wagon if you’re not Irish) and twenty uniformed officers. This contingent stayed off-campus across Turk Street during the two hour-long meeting and preceding march/demonstration (The Appeal arrived for the 7 p.m. public meeting at a fashionably-late 7:30 p.m., and was barred from entering the meeting hall by on-campus police).
SFPD made no arrests, according to Lt. Troy Dangerfield, a department spokesman. As to why SFPD made such a show of force, Dangerfield could not say, and directed the Appeal to ask university officials. “They requested it,” he said.
Lt. Kevin Dillon of the campus security detail told the Appeal that the decision to bring in “two squads of officers” was made by the on-site SFPD officer-in-charge, based on the size of the crowd marching towards the auditorium which hosted the meeting.
“The numbers [of the crowd] reached a certain point, and at that time the decision was made to call in a certain number of officers,” he said. “It’s not an excessive amount of officers for a demonstration.”
In situations such as this — or if, say, Chevron or Bechtel called the police to respond to protesters — the city is not reimbursed by USF for the use of its police force. It would be if, say, the university hired police for commencement ceremonies.
It’s possible the university was sensitive to peoples’ feelings. After all, it was only Tuesday when a university official was forced to call on-campus security to remove a band of imposing radio nerds from his office, as you can see in the video above.
Whatever the motivation for the show of force, it worked: nobody broke anything, hit anyone or did anything else untoward. That is, unless you’re a radio nerd, in which case someone drank your milkshake, kicked you in the junk, and then laughed about it for good measure.