Monday January 10 • 11:30am • UCI Flagpoles
Last quarter, police detained 9 students for chalking political messages on campus and immediately washed it away. While the issue of chalking seems silly, it is representative of a larger free speech problem on campus. Last year, police were used to remove posters advertising rallies, and Reservations has routinely denied events sponsored by activist groups, while communicating closely with the Office of Student Conduct about reservation attempts. And just a few days after Officer Jared Kemper drew his gun on nonviolent protesters at the Regents meeting at UCSF, he was on UCI — with his gun — to harass students chalking.
But even more shocking have been the unprecedented conduct and criminal charges brought against activists who have done little more than decry budget cuts, tuition hikes, and layoffs. Over 150 students systemwide, and 30 UCI students, have received conduct charges for protesting, with no due process and arbitrary sanctions. Last month, 19 UCI students and community supporters were charged by the Orange County DA for participating in a sit-in that happened last February; each faces up to a year in prison, on top of their conduct charges, including a 6-month suspension for one organizer. And four students have received criminal charges for the UCSF protest in November; each received tens of thousands of dollars in bail, and are facing felony counts. They were brutally beaten by police, and there is no evidence that any struck an officer. One UC Merced student is facing assault on an officer charges for allegedly stealing Officer Kemper’s baton and hitting him in the head with it, but video shows Kemper hitting the student repeatedly, then losing his baton himself after striking the student in the head with it.
To protest this ridiculous repression of protest, we will be chalking on Ring Road, starting at 11am at the Flagpoles, until we run out of chalk or are shut down by the police. There is NO UCI POLICY that prohibits chalking, and courts have repeatedly held that chalking is not considered vandalism, and is not outlawed by CA law, so we’re going to keep chalking on campus until an appropriate policy is enacted.
In light of the recent case of domestic violence, we additionally demand that the police stop using all of their resources to suppress political speech and action, and start doing their jobs: stopping domestic violence, assault, and rape on campus.
Come join us! Chalk will be provided!