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Brown Signs Law To Buffer Protesting Students, Campus Police

A bill by Assemblyman Marty Block, D-Lemon Grove, to have California State University system administrators appoint liaisons to serve as buffers between campus police and protesting students was signed into law today by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The new law, prompted in part by campus police at UC Davis pepper-spraying students participating in a November 2011 Occupy protest, is aimed at keeping the peace and ensuring an appropriate law enforcement response.

Pending final approval by a federal judge, the University of California will pay 21 plaintiffs $30,000 apiece to settle lawsuits filed over the confrontation.

While CSU schools will be required to follow the law, it is only advisory for the UC system, which is legislatively independent, according to CSU spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp. However, a UC report on clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement focused on opening lines of communication and trust, and improving coordination between administrators and campus police.

The governor also signed legislation by Block that requires private post-secondary schools -- which include technical schools and universities -- to tell prospective students if their degree programs are not accredited. Previous state laws applied only to doctoral courses.

The disclosure law requires affected schools to send prospective students an informational catalog that states which degree programs are accredited and what percentage of students complete degree programs, as well as information on salaries and wages, job placement, license exams and federal student loan defaults.

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