Criminal Law and Policy

Class Information Spring 2022

  • 3 units
  • Class No.: 42177
  • Meets: Mon & Wed
  • Time: 10:30 am - 11:45 am
  • Location: 210
  • Exam: May 09, 2022 9:00 am
  • Course Description

W. David Ball

Professor of Law

Criminal Law and Policy

Certificate(s): Public Interest and Social Justice Law

Course Description:

This class will serve as a kind of think tank.  Students in the class will have the opportunity to affect policy and to have their work read and circulated by policymakers.

Class Notes:

Experiential Course
This year my criminal law and policy seminar focuses on an issue that is particularly relevant to Santa Clara: campus safety. As with my past courses on marijuana legalization and ending money bail, both of which resulted in statewide policy changes, the goal for this class is for students to produce work that informs campus administrators both locally and nationally. This will not be a passive class where you just absorb what I know. I will be teaching you how to approach a legal and policy problem as complex as this (based on my past experiences and my policy networks), and you, through your research and writing posted on the class blog, will be teaching me and others what we should do about it. I don’t claim to have all the answers. I want to go where the evidence takes us.
Here are some of the questions I think we will want to answer–though figuring out what all the relevant questions are is also part of the class. First, what do we mean by safety–and how do we account for the potential harms (“unsafety”) created by the operations of campus safety itself, particularly as relates to BIPOC faculty, staff, students, and members of the surrounding community? How are the safety issues of university campuses different from those of similarly sized cities and towns (if at all)? Can we borrow from police governance in places, and, if so, where, and, if not, why not? How are campus safety officers different from police–and how should they be different? What are examples of effective campus safety policies, programs, and governance nationally? What are the best models for community input and shared governance? How should universities handle complaints? How should universities handle officer discipline? How can we ensure that campus safety is a part of the community, not apart from it?

If you are interested in the class, please come see me for permission to take it. I do this to ensure that it will be a good fit, and that, primarily, means that you are interested in improving your research, writing, and policy-making skills and that you will put in the time and effort to make that happen. If you devote the energy to it, you will get a public, google-able set of writing samples and, based on past student evaluations, a profoundly meaningful part of your professional development. 

In order to register for this course, please email Prof. David Ball (  for a permission number.