Statement from undersigned members of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures in response to the UCLA administration’s failures over the Student Encampment and Protests

Published: May 8, 2024

As members of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, we are both horrified and outraged by the UCLA administration’s failure to protect our students and their right to free expression.

We condemn the administration first for not taking adequate steps to ensure the safety of students expressing their views on campus, and second for failing to respond immediately when a mob from outside campus took advantage of this neglect to carry out a violent attack on students on the night of April 30. We further condemn the administration’s compounding of these failures in its callous request that militarized law enforcement clear out the encampment on the night of May 1, which left students injured by rubber bullets, stun grenades, and other physical abuse and resulted in hundreds of arrests of students, staff, and faculty members. Finally, we condemn the ongoing militarization and shutdown of campus in response to continuing protests, including unjustified arrests on the morning of May 6 of students, faculty, journalists, and legal observers for supposed “curfew” violations or “conspiracy to commit burglary.” Many of our faculty grew up under repressive regimes in Asia and other parts of the world, and never expected the UCLA administration’s rhetoric and actions to remind them so vividly of their youth.  Our faculty, staff, and students are very diverse, including a large number of non-US residents, and we do not feel safe on campus.

The administration’s actions have led to a breach of trust between the administration and the students, staff, and faculty of this campus. Our classes have been disrupted, and the fundamental mission of our public university has been compromised. Students, staff, and faculty feel betrayed and unsafe on campus, and are bewildered at the expectation that we seamlessly “pivot” to remote learning for the second half of the spring quarter so that the university administration may continue to criminalize peaceful protest.

We believe that the campus community deserves a thorough accounting of the administration’s failure through an impartial, independent investigation, and that those found to be responsible for making these awful decisions should resign. At the same time, we are convinced that the failures that have so traumatized the campus are connected to broader systemic failures that permeate UCLA administration, and that much more is required than a simple switch of leadership.

We therefore demand the following:

  1. An independent investigation into and full accounting of the actions and inactions of the UCLA administration, including its failure to protect the encampment from the violent attack, the decision to clear the encampment, and the militarization and shutdown of campus.
  2. An independent investigation of UCPD, including their failure to prepare adequately for possible violence; their seeming unwillingness to protect students on the night of April 30th; their clearing of the encampment on May 2; and their arrest of students, journalists, and faculty under false pretenses (“conspiracy to commit burglary”) on May 6.
  3. An independent investigation into and public explanation of the events leading to the Jumbotron’s installation; of why it was permitted to broadcast traumatizing content that violated Title IX policy at a volume so loud it could be clearly heard in offices and classrooms on the Royce quad all day and night from April 28 until May 2; and of why it was initially left in place after the encampment was cleared. This investigation must also clarify any connections that may exist between the Jumbotron sponsors and the violent attack against the encampment on April 30.
  4. A public acknowledgement that the student protests had been overwhelmingly peaceful, that they did not disrupt campus/classroom access as stated in the letter sent by the Chancellor on May 2, and that any violence connected to the protest was created primarily by outside agitators and law enforcement.
  5. The development of clear policies that assure and commit to protect the freedom of dissent and assembly, and the right to protest at UCLA in a safe environment and without fear of retaliation and violence.
  6. A commitment to engage in good-faith discussions with students about their demands, and to consult properly with and take advantage of the expertise of the Academic Senate when taking momentous decisions that could have serious implications for the entire campus.In addition, we demand:
  7. The dropping of any disciplinary actions against peaceful protesters (such as student suspensions and expulsions or retaliation against employees).
  8. Advocacy on the part of the university in support of the students, faculty, and staff within the legal system, including requests for charges to be dropped and help in securing and paying for legal representation.
  9. Assistance with medical expenses associated with injuries sustained by student, staff, and faculty protesters as a result of the violence they suffered at the hands both of the mob that attacked them on April 30 and of the police.
  10. A commitment to refrain from mobilizing external law enforcement against peaceful on-campus protesters.

Julia Clark, Adjunct Assistant Professor
Kun-Xian Shen (PhD candidate)
Namhee Lee, Professor of Modern Korean History, ALC
Michael Emmerich, Professor, ALC
Guanrui Gong, PhD student
Seiji Lippit, Professor, ALC
Michiko Kaneyasu, Associate Professor, ALC
Yuxuan Tay, PhD Student
Shu-mei Shih, Professor, ALC
Fang-Ru Lin, Ph.D. Candidate
Sung-Deuk Oak, Associate Professor
Michael Berry, Professor, ALC
Oona Paredes, Associate Professor
Satoko Shimazaki, Associate Professor, ALC
Min Li, Associate Professor
Yee Rem Kim, PhD Student, ALC
Gyanam Mahajan, Professor of Teaching (Academic Senate)
Victoria Caudle, PhD Candidate, ALC
Stephanie Jamison, Professor
George Dutton, Professor
Yinghui Wu, Assistant Professor, ALC
Thu-huong Nguyen-vo, Professor
Huijun Mai, Assistant Professor, ALC
Hyun Suk Park, Assistant Professor, ALC
Jennifer Jung-Kim, Lecturer
Sixiang Wang, Assistant Professor, ALC
Hanbeom Jung, PhD Student
Hyowon Park, Graduate Student
Seonkyung Jeon, Lecturer
Zelin Min
Stephanie Balkwill, Assistant Professor, ALC
Torquil Duthie, Professor, ALC
Mathieu Berbiguier, Ph. D. Candidate
Jane Choi, Lecturer
Kanako Mabuchi, Graduate Student
Lin Du
Yuki Taylor, Lecturer
Yasmine Krings, PhD Candidate
Yueying Li
Hee Ju, Lecturer
Chuc Bui
Yoko Nogami, Lecturer
Yu-wen Yao, Lecturer, ALC
Paula R. Curtis, Yanai Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow
Charlotte Pu, Phd student

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