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UC Faculty Members Across the State Demand Action Following Campus Violence

Faculty and Staff Sign Letter Demanding Justice Following Brutal Attacks at UCLA

By Dolores Quintana

1000 members of the University of California faculty and staff have become signatories on a letter that was released on May 1, after a horrific night of vigilante violence on the University of California, Los Angeles’ (UCLA) campus. It decries what they describe as the failure of Chancellor Gene Block to protect students’ safety and uphold their rights to free speech. It denounces the violence against students and calls for immediate action to rectify the situation.

The group has a full list of demands which can be read here

UC Faculty additionally stated, “The evening of April 30, 2024, was one of the ugliest in UCLA’s recent history. A violent mob attacked UCLA students who had assembled for days in the Royce Quad encampment. Dozens of live video streams, including from local news and Daily Bruin reporters, showed masked and unmasked agitators ramming the encampment’s barricades, shooting fireworks into the encampment, and attacking protestors with pepper spray, two-by-fours, and metal pipes. According to UCLA faculty who were present, “This was a brutal, violent attack, it was unbelievable,” leaving students with chemical burns and lasting trauma.

It was a brutal siege that lasted for hours. UCLA leadership did nothing to prevent the attack; and did nothing for five hours as the attacks escalated throughout the night. If anything, your April 30th message requesting the disbanding of the encampment and threatening discipline appeared to embolden these outside agitators. You abandoned UCLA students, leaving them to protect themselves from chemical weapons and de-escalate the situation on their own. The UCLA administration did nothing to intervene.”

On Thursday, May 9, representatives of 800 faculty members held a press conference and tried to deliver the letter to Chancellor Gene Block at Murphy Hall. A group of 100 graduate students also marched to deliver their demands to Murphy Hall. Both groups were refused entrance to Murphy Hall. The building’s entrance was blocked by about 20 CSC and APEX Security guards according to The Daily Bruin. 

“We hereby demand that Chancellor Block resign immediately,” the letter states, “and ask the UCLA Academic Senate and UC-AFT to pursue a vote of no confidence.” It further demands that the next Chancellor commits to upholding the full free speech and assembly rights of students, faculty, and staff.

The letter also calls for UCLA to drop all legal charges and grant full amnesty to those involved in the encampment and subsequent protests. Additionally, it demands transparency regarding UCLA’s investments and calls for divestment from military weapons production companies, aligning with the demands of student protestors.

The faculty and staff express their immediate focus on these demands while outlining a longer list of expectations for UCLA to fulfill. They request California Attorney General Rob Bonta to open an independent investigation into the actions of UCLA leadership, UCPD, LAPD, and CHP during the recent events.

Furthermore, they advocate for the establishment of a fund by the UC system to provide financial and healthcare assistance to affected students, including replacing lost valuables, covering medical bills, and offering trauma-informed mental healthcare services.

Faculty members and staff are considering various forms of action, including the possibility of withholding labor until their demands are met. The faculty and staff’s letter comes amidst escalating tensions at UCLA, with the UAW Graduate Student Academic Workers planning a vote on a strike in response to the recent events.

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