As we’ve reported previously, 19 students at UC Irvine are facing a series of egregious charges for a brief occupation of an administrative building on campus in solidarity with AFSCME workers facing outsourcing. These aren’t merely conduct charges, but actually legal charges that were filed ten months after the alleged incident by the Orange County DA. Our Irvine comrades are circulating a petition calling for all charges to be dropped. Please sign it here.
Full text of the petition:
To: Chancellor Michael Drake and the Office of the District Attorney for Orange County
CC: Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Michael R. Gottfredson
Dr. Rameen Talesh, Dean of Students and Assistant Vice Chancellor
Edgar Dormitorio, Director, Student Conduct and Assistant Dean of Students
Thomas A. Parham, Ph.D., Interim Vice Chancellor Student Affairs
On December 9th, 2010, the District Attorney of Orange County filed criminal charges against 17 UCI students and AFSCME organizers for carrying out a nonviolent act of civil disobedience in the hallway outside of Chancellor Drake’s office.
These charges were filed 10 months after the action and nearly 4 months after UCI’s Office of Student Conduct sanctioned the students with 1-year disciplinary probation, 30 hours of community service, and several papers related to free speech and community service. The D.A.’s zealous prosecution has gone so far as to include 2 student supporters who rallied outside of Aldrich Hall during the civil disobedience.
The civil disobedience expressed the growing discontent brought on by cuts to education that continue to be resolved on the backs of students and workers (e.g. increased tuition, the cutting of services dedicated to the retention and recruitment of underrepresented students, highly exploitative outsourcing practices, the consumption of commodities produced in a racist prison system by inmate labor, and the incorporation of military research contracts that aid US aggression in the Middle East). While the negative effects of these cuts are immediately felt on-campus, they have far-reaching social consequences that are violently detrimental to the development of working-class communities of color both domestically and abroad.
Further prosecution of these students and organizers, especially after UCI’s Office of Student Conduct has already taken disciplinary actions against them, is excessive. If the administration’s conspicuous silence regarding these students’ prosecution continues, it will constitute yet another tactic used against the campus community to enforce the state’s cuts to education and demonstrates the administration’s indifference to the long-term, racist consequences of its actions.
•We ask that the Chancellor and the Student Conduct Director of the Office of the Dean of Students issue a public statement asking the Orange County D.A. to drop all criminal charges against the 17 who engaged in the nonviolent civil disobedience as well as charges against the 2 student supporters.
•We ask that the Orange County D.A. drop all criminal charges against the 17 who engaged in the nonviolent civil disobedience as well as all charges against the 2 student supporters.
For more information regarding the civil disobedience’s list of demands: http://democratizeeducation.wordpress.com/