Wednesday, July 24

In the news:

UCLA calls student hearings for arrested participants of pro-Palestine encampment

Murphy Hall, which houses UCLA administration offices, is pictured. The Office of Student Conduct has summoned students arrested for participating in the Palestine solidarity encampment for hearings. (Daily Bruin file photo)

This post was updated June 4 at 9:44 p.m.

Students arrested for participating in the Palestine solidarity encampment have been called for student hearings by the Office of Student Conduct.

The encampment began April 25, was declared unlawful April 30 and was dismantled May 2 by police. Over 200 students were arrested on charges of unlawful assembly, with some having court dates scheduled for the summer. 

According to a May 24 letter summoning students to conduct hearings, some encampment participants were alleged to have breached UCLA Student Conduct Code provisions relating to disorderly behavior, disturbing the peace and failure to comply with university instructions. The statement said the allegations relate to a failure to disperse when asked to do so by UCPD on May 1 and May 2.

The students were summoned to meet with the assistant dean of students to discuss their allegations.

Student A, a graduating fourth-year student who received the letter and was granted anonymity out of fear of retaliation, said the notification came as a surprise, adding that they are now concerned about the meetings’ impacts on their graduation and future graduate school plans.

“It definitely wasn’t something we were expecting, especially since three weeks had passed since May 1 and since the arrest,” they said.

Student A said a lack of information about the hearings, the questions that will be asked and the potential outcomes of the hearings pose additional challenges because they do not know how to prepare. They added that they intend to answer questions honestly and comply with the proceedings so that they can graduate.

The May 24 letter said that no final decision had been made about the outcomes of conduct cases.

According to the UCLA Student Conduct Code, meetings with the dean can lead to warnings, sanctions or a referral to the Student Conduct Committee, which is composed of student and faculty representatives and can rule on the validity of claims and recommend sanctions. Students facing conduct proceedings can also enter settlement agreements with the administration, agreeing to refrain from engaging in certain behaviors, doing community service or participating in educational programs.

Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA – the organization that began the encampment alongside the UC Divest Coalition – said in an Instagram story that it wants students summoned for disciplinary meetings to contact an email address for advice about the meetings. An SJP media liaison declined a request for further comment.

Aya Konishi, a graduate student and representative of United Auto Workers Local 4811 – which represents academic students, employees, graduate students, and academic and postdoctoral researchers – said the union had also filed a grievance relating to the conduct meetings because they believe the university is circumventing the disciplinary process outlined for graduate students in their collective bargaining agreement.

Students were also told in May 24 letters that they had to schedule appointments by June 5 or receive holds on their student records and registration. The letter also said students facing disciplinary proceedings would not receive their degrees until assigned sanctions and conditions stemming from the hearings had been completed.

Student B, who also received the letter and was granted anonymity out of fear of retaliation, said the meetings are difficult to schedule, adding that many of the times offered conflicted with their final exams. They added that meeting slots were available for dates on and after May 30 when they signed up.

“I feel very frightened by these proceedings, and it’s hurtful to know that my university not only invited cops onto campus and engaged in violence against peaceful protesters, but after the trauma of that incident, a few weeks later, the university is now trying to discipline me and my peacefully protesting peers by threatening us with disciplinary action,” Student B said.

UCLA Media Relations said they were unable to comment on conduct cases.

Contributing reports by Alexandra Crosnoe and Gabrielle Gillette, Daily Bruin staff.

News editor

Winward is the 2024-2025 News editor and an Arts, Copy, Photo, PRIME and Sports contributor. He was previously the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. Winward is a third-year English and statistics student from London in the United Kingdom.

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.