Two UCSB students were arrested yesterday during the UC Board of Regents’ quarterly meeting at UCLA, as they protested the University of California’s ongoing involvement with nuclear development.
UCLA UC Police Dept. officers arrested Caitlin Daniel, a fourth-year global studies and Italian studies major and Darwin BondGraham, a graduate student in sociology, after the public comment period of the meeting. The students were cited for “Failure to Disperse After a Warning” and were released shortly thereafter, but were warned by police to stay away from the UCLA campus for the next seven days.
In addition to hearing concerns from the public, the Regents approved the University’s budget for the 2007-08 school year. The board also made a decision that will dramatically alter the history and future of the University – unanimously voting to establish a new law school at the UC Irvine campus, expected to open in 2009.
The meeting opened at 8:30 a.m. with a public comment session, where a group of nine protesters from the Coalition to Demilitarize the UC delivered a statement condemning UC’s management of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – all University-managed labs that have been involved in researching and developing nuclear technology.
After the demonstrators engaged in several minutes of loud and repetitive chanting, the board dispersed in order to allow UCPD officers to detain the protesters. According to UCLA UCPD spokeswoman Nancy Greenstein, police cleared only a few of the students by use of force after they refused repeated requests to leave voluntarily.
Later in the morning – when the Regents began a discussion regarding the oversight of the University’s laboratories – the protestors began chanting again. According to Nuclear Age Peace Foundation research and advocacy associate Andrew Culp, the demonstrators refused several requests from the Regents and UCPD officers to disperse or cease their disruption.
BondGraham and Daniel were then arrested, after refusing to comply with the officers’ instructions.
Daniel said she believes being arrested made a point that simply speaking to the Regents could not.
“I feel like what we did needed to be done, someone needs to speak up,” Daniel said. “I think we took it a step further today than just saying we don’t like what they’re doing.”
The unanimous decision to create a UC Irvine law school and approval of next school year’s budget occurred later in the meeting.
According to UCI Assistant Director of Media Relations Christine Byrd, Irvine expects to receive its first class of law students in the 2009 school year. Until the construction of new facilities for the school are completed, classes for the law institution will be held in an existing campus building. Byrd said the school will not be funded through undergraduate fees or by the state.
“The funding will come through projected campus enrollment growth, private giving and from professional fees,” she said.
The Board of Regents will meet again in January at UC San Francisco.