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Statement from the Department of Literature Faculty at the University of California, San Diego/ May 8, 2024


The Department of Literature is shocked and dismayed by UC San Diego’s decision to send riot police to threaten and arrest campus protesters on Monday, May 6.  This was a dangerous and reckless escalation of what had been a calm situation.  Over 60 students and faculty were arrested.  In addition, multiple students had their personal belongings confiscated, and students were informed that, upon suspension, they must evacuate student housing. We are also disconcerted by the quick move to cancel all business on campus for the day and set up roadblocks to our workplace, causing unnecessary safety and accessibility challenges.


In addition, we are alarmed at the administration’s move to bring armed law enforcement to intimidate and threaten students and faculty. The administration is charged, among other things, with maintaining the conditions of safety for all students, as well as cultivating the atmosphere of mutual respect where learning can happen. The presence of riot police and the surveillance of armed police stationed on top of the Student Health Building stands in direct contradiction of these dual mandates. The end result is that students and faculty are less safe and that paths for a mutually beneficial conversation toward a resolution of the encampment were destroyed. Once armed riot police were in place and snipers were stationed on the roof, Chancellor Khosla made clear that he was willing to use violence against UCSD students and faculty. That is unacceptable under any circumstances.


During the 2023-24 academic year, there have been unprecedented attacks on the freedom of speech of students, faculty, and staff in the United States. These have accelerated in recent weeks in response to student protests, including within California and at campuses within the UC System.  We fully support the right of students to exercise free speech and engage in expressions of civil protest without the threats of academic probation, suspension, or expulsion; violence from police or outside agitators; or arrest.


We call upon the administration to:

  1. meet with student representatives to discuss their demands 
  2. reverse the suspension of students who engage in protest
  3. drop any forthcoming charges for students and faculty


The department of Literature stands in solidarity with student demands for an immediate ceasefire. A majority of faculty further supports student calls for boycott and divestment from public and private sources that support Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza.