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Statement by a Group of Sociology Department Faculty on the Encampment Arrests


We, the undersigned faculty members of the Department of Sociology at UCSD, stand united with our colleagues across other departments and programs in expressing our  condemnation of the unnecessary and perilous deployment of police forces to forcibly terminate a peaceful protest against the war in Gaza on May 6, 2024. We are outraged that the administration led by Chancellor Pradeep Khosla chose to suppress a peaceful expression of political dissent by our students.

Freedom of speech is paramount. As a public institution, the administration has repeatedly stressed the importance of upholding academic freedom and constitutionally-protected freedom of expression. Yet, the arrest of our protesting students, who are now facing possible suspensions and even criminal charges, makes a mockery of these declarations.

We believe in dialogue and abhor violence. We strongly condemn the deployment of militarized police to zip tie and manhandle unarmed student protestors on our campus. We firmly reject characterizations of unarmed student protestors as a threat. The administration has repeatedly professed that our strength lies in our ability to engage in respectful dialogue and to listen to one another with empathy. Yet what happened on May 6 stood in stark contrast to these principles.

The trust within our community has been shattered. Many of our students now feel fearful on campus, a feeling especially pronounced among our students of color, who understand all too well the traumatic consequences that can arise when police are used as a tool of social control. For many, our campus is not only a place to attend classes but also their home where they live. The administration's actions have severely compromised these students' ability to learn and feel secure in their own living spaces.

We demand the following:

  1. The administration must provide amnesty to all students involved in the encampment protest. No student should be subjected to expulsion or suspension, and any recent suspensions should be immediately reversed. We further demand that all adverse consequences, such as the loss of housing privileges and UC SHIP, be rescinded for the affected students.
  2. Given that the encampment was peaceful, the administration should have maintained ongoing dialogue with the protesting students. We urge the administration to recognize the damage inflicted by their actions and to initiate dialogue and reconciliation efforts with the students impacted.
  3. The University must disclose its investment portfolios and strategies, clarify its ethical investment guidelines, and openly discuss divestment options as suggested by the students.

We stand in full solidarity with our students during this critical time.


Signed by:

Akos Rona-Tas
Vanesa Ribas 
Martha Lampland 
Harvey Goldman
April Sutton
David FitzGerald
Gershon Shafir
Mary Blair-Loy
Neil Gong
Danielle Raudenbush
Michel Estefan
Daniel Navon
Richard Pitt
Charles Thorpe