From April 2nd-3rd, twenty-two students at UC Santa Cruz were arrested while peacefully picketing and protesting against intimidation of student-workers represented by UAW 2865 at the University of California.
On April 2nd, when protesters were peacefully exercising their right to picket, the UC Administration chose to escalate what was a peaceful protest by bringing in riot police. Immediately as picketing began, the UC administration brought at least 30 riot police from UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley to the UC Santa Cruz campus along with two UCSC busses to transport arrestees. These preparations indicate that police actions were planned ahead of time.
During the strike, police used conflicting messages to create confusion about what demonstrators could do to avoid arrest, oscillating between telling them to picket legally, in the crosswalk, to get on the sidewalk, and to leave the premises altogether. As a result, Undergraduates and unionized Graduate Students were arrested with unnecessary force while trying to ensure their right to a legal picket.
Since the arrests, activists have been unable to retrieve their confiscated possessions from the UC Police. This is part of a concerted effort by the UC Administration to humiliate and punish activists by withholding their personal belongings, including wallets, which has impeded their ability to eat, buy books, and school supplies.
We understand this incident as part of the process of privatization and militarization of the University of California, during which the university has cracked down on dissent from students and labor unions.
We call for the University of California to:
1. Ask Santa Cruz County District Attorney Bob Lee drop all charges against all student arrestees.
2. Have UC President Janet Napolitano (510-987-9074), UCSC Chancellor Blumenthal, UCSC EVC Alison Galloway (831-459-3885), and UCSC Police Chief Nader Oweis, issue a formal apology to the arrested students, the whole UCSC student body, and the members of UAW 2865.
3. Place a moratorium on the use of riot police at the University of California
4. Return all confiscated belongings to activists.