Committee discusses speech conduct, UPD protocol
(Harrison Diamond / Alligator Staff) Kim Tanzer, chairwoman of the UF Committee on a Civil, Safe and Open Environment, speaks at a public forum discussing the committee's findings at the Levin College of Law on Wednesday.

UF's Committee on a Civil, Safe and Open Environment presented 16 recommendations Wednesday night concerning police protocol and community conduct during UF events.

The committee was created in October following the University Police Department's Tasering of Andrew Meyer at a Sen. John Kerry speech Sept. 17.

The committee's meeting was the second aimed to garner public input, but fewer than 20 people attended the forum at the Levin College of Law.

Kim Tanzer, committee chairwoman, said e-mails about the assembly, which was broadcast on the Internet, were sent to faculty, students and media outlets, and the small audience made for a shorter meeting.

It's a different picture from September, after the Tasering caused campuswide uproar and led UF President Bernie Machen to create the committee.

"I understand that people move on," Tanzer said.

She said one of the committee's suggestions asks UF to provide a description of its free speech and security policies to speakers and audience members before UF events.

Another recommendation stated that event organizers, specifically Accent, the student-run speakers bureau that organized Kerry's September speech, should not attempt to censor any audience member's written questions.

Submitted questions during speeches should only be tossed for technical reasons, such as if they are too long or too similar to other questions.

After the meeting, Machen said he was pleased with the committee's recommendations so far, but he hasn't studied the research in-depth. Once finalized during the committee's meeting next month, the suggestions will be sent to Machen to accept or decline, Tanzer said after the forum.

After she explained the recommendations, three students posed questions to the committee during time allotted for public input.

Katharine Westaway, an English graduate student, questioned the committee's consideration of the weapon she said has spurned an international safety issue - the Taser.

"Amnesty International has actually called them instruments of torture, and I don't think that that should be taken lightly," Westaway said.

Tanzer said Tasers have only been used 20 times, twice to prevent suicides, since first being made available to UPD officers in 2001.