Visit to UCSC by UC Regents

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Acting Chancellor George R. Blumenthal and Campus Provost David S. Kliger

Yesterday marked the end of a successful visit by UC Regents and other guests to the UC Santa Cruz campus. This was a major event that will provide long-term benefit to UCSC. We were proud to present representative campus distinctions, showcasing students and faculty whose scholarly and interdisciplinary work is both innovative and beneficial to society.

Despite the overall positive aspects of the visit, we were deeply troubled by the lack of civility and outbursts of violence that occurred during the demonstration on Wednesday at the Humanities Lecture Hall, where Regents and others were assembled.

We are neither surprised nor concerned about peaceful demonstrations whenever Regents visit any UC campus. In fact, such demonstrations are time-honored ways for students and others to express their views.

What was both unexpected and completely unacceptable was pushing, kicking, biting, spitting, heaping verbal abuse, and throwing bottles and decayed fruit at staff and visitors, as occurred on Wednesday. Staff members, including our police officers, were verbally abused and physically injured. Guests from the community were pushed and spat upon. Regents, campus visitors, and others were trapped in the hall for nearly two hours before they could leave the building without the use of force.

Such actions crossed a line of behavior that put people's safety at risk. While many of the participants tried to remain peaceful, a significant part of the crowd became unruly and engaged in behavior that included violent and dangerous acts. These behaviors are unacceptable in any civil community.

Regrettably, this unacceptable behavior by a few individuals resulted in cancellation of a part of the program. As a result, our visitors missed several planned presentations of the exceptional work of our students and faculty. This outcome essentially silenced the voices of those faculty, graduate and undergraduate students.

Fortunately, the Regents ended their visit with a very favorable view of UCSC, based on the excellent interactions with faculty, staff, and students during the rest of their visit, including thoughtful comments by graduate and undergraduate students at Thursday's public comment period. Even so, an opportunity was lost to impress them even more.

We believe that UC police behaved appropriately and professionally in the face of threats to the safety of campus visitors. In the end, three individuals were arrested by police, and one of them could face three felony charges of battery against a police officer. In addition to the consequences that may result from legal action by the District Attorney's Office for those three individuals, any students among the demonstrators found to have violated campus policy are subject to sanctions through the campus Student Judicial process.

Many actions during the demonstration violated the Principles of Community that this campus values. We urge each of you to review and renew your commitment to the UCSC Principles of Community.

Students, faculty, staff (including UCSC police), and visitors are all members of our community and are entitled to civil and respectful treatment.

Please join us in working together to ensure a respectful environment in which all opinions, including dissent, can be expressed freely, effectively, and with civility and respect.