Student coalition accuses UPD of malpractice

Antonio Pequeño IV, Assistant Managing

Five CSUSM organizations combined to form the Students for Justice Coalition (SFJC) in response to a Feb. 22 incident that involved an alleged misuse of force by UPD on a student.


According to an Instagram post made by student organization The Black SistaHood, the SFJC is comprised of themselves, Transitions Collective, The Feminist Collective, the National Latino Research Center and M.E.Ch.A.


On Feb. 26, the SFJC protested against the incident on campus and shared flyers that listed demands and detailed the supposed circumstances of the incident.


According to the flyer, “Campus police was called for a wellness/welfare check on a student. That wellness/welfare check ended and resulted in the student being forcibly removed from the classroom and off California State University Campus.”


The flyer also stated that the “Student was escorted against their will out of class during a midterm, outside of the building. This student was eventually handcuffed, strapped to a gurney and forced in the ambulance and taken to Palomar Hospital.”


The flyer said that the incident occured on Feb. 22 around 10:30 a.m. between Markstein Hall and the Veterans Center.


Among other demands, the flyer demanded statements from Chief of Police Scott Ybarrondo, President Karen Haynes, Professor Ludmila Matiash, Lieutenant Jesus Flores and Student Outreach and Referral Coordinator Patricia Diaz.


On behalf of the individuals who received demands for statements, the Office of Communications said, “The referenced incident involved a student who was visibly bleeding during class from an off-campus injury and the efforts of UPD officers, campus employees and paramedics to get him transported to the hospital as soon as possible so he could be medically assessed and treated.”


They added, “We remain committed to our values and guiding principles, which compel us to respect and model the diversity of our region within a context of social justice and educational equity. No further public statements or information is available at this time due to concerns for the privacy of individuals involved.”


Third-year nursing student Jacob Hagerman said that he was on location when the student was removed from the class. He said, “They were just walking side by side and seemed totally fine except… the student was wearing a white sweater and a good portion of it was covered in blood.”


Hagerman also commented on a M.E.Ch.A. Instagram post that shared a video from the protest. In the post, Hagerman’s comment questioned if M.E.Ch.A. had any facts about what occurred and claimed that the paramedics restrained the student when he refused treatment. In the comment, Hagerman stated “he became outraged with his treatment stating he didn’t want to pay for it.” Hagerman was later blocked by the M.E.Ch.A Instagram page and his comment was removed.


On Feb. 28, The Coast News Group published a story on the protest. According to the article, “The Coast News reached out to CSUSM Police Chief Scott Ybarrondo, who said he would issue a statement. The Coast News will update the story with his statement as soon as it becomes available.”


Since the publishing of the story, no statement has been made by Ybarrondo. Additionally, the police report for the incident is not currently accessible.


The SFJC later published their own report about the incident on March 18, titled “University Police Department at CSUSM Malpractice, Use of Excessive Force on a STUDENT of color.”

The story gave the SFJC’s account of the incident, evaluated UPD’s handling of the incident and criticized CSUSM’s silence regarding it.


The report said “The nature of the injury from the student, did not require immediate medical attention, in fact, due to bandaging coming out of place, is what prompted the student’s professor to contact UPD.”


The report also said that “UPD labeled the student a 5150, danger to themselves or others, to justify handcuffing the student. According to the FERC, a program of the Mental Health Association, ‘5150 is the number of the section of the Welfare and Institution Codes, which allows a person with a mental illness to be involuntarily detained for a 72-hour psychiatric hospitalization.’”


The report said, “Palomar Hospital, doctors and nurses were notified to prepare for an arriving patient, diagnosed with 5150. Shortly after arriving, the student was released from the hospital.”


According to the report, “In addition to the trauma endured, the student is left with an ambulance bill of $13,296.”


The five organizations that comprise the SFJC were unavailable for comment regarding evidence for their report.

The Cougar Chronicle: The independent student news site of California State University, San Marcos