Contrary to a previous Daily Nexus report and claims made by protesters last week, the 2008 Army-Industry Collaboration Conference was not canceled following last week’s anti-war protest.
Paul Desruisseaux, the UCSB Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs, confirmed that while the conference did not take place at Corwin Pavilion as scheduled, it did continue at an undisclosed location. The conference had served as a meeting for defense industry and army officials and was hosted by UCSB’s Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies.
University of California Police Department officers estimated that about 400 protesters participated in the Feb. 12 protest. Demonstrators opposed to the war in Iraq and UC-military collaboration marched from Pardall Tunnel and later amassed outside Corwin Pavilion, where the conference was being held that day.
Although the protest was mostly peaceful, in a few instances, some members of the crowd proceeded to flip over lunch tables, grab food and pound on the conference doors. Two men were given citations for allegedly resisting or delaying an officer, which resulted in a few protesters blocking the exit of a squad car believed to have one of the men in custody. A third attendee was issued a citation for charges of theft and resisting or delaying an officer when she allegedly gained entrance into the conference and began tearing down posters.
Additionally, some protesters accused officers of using excessive force. However, in a previous interview, UCPD spokesman Matt Bowman said he did not know of anyone in his department violating any procedures.
The day after the protest, some participants believed the conference was canceled when they had heard that the AICC was relocated to the Hotel Mar Monte located on East Beach in downtown Santa Barbara. Upon arrival to the venue, protesters claimed they found signs saying the AICC was canceled. However, Desruisseaux recently confirmed that it was not.
Meanwhile, some ICB members have stated that the protest was unjustly directed at their department. They claimed that ICB does not directly research weaponry, but instead focuses its efforts on other unclassified research.
However, protesters have alleged that ICB is guilty by association with the military. Protest organizer JT Yu, a UCSB Physics Dept. alumnus, said improved military technology creates an incentive for the nation to embark on risky endeavors.
“The problem is not what the research is about, but rather this institution getting funding from the military,” Yu said. “This contributes to a vicious cycle. The stronger the military is, the more reason to use it.”