Students Petition Janet Napolitano to Drop Charges Against 2 UCI Student Activists

Categories: School Daze

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Photo by Charles Lam
Activists march during the November AFSCME strike

How does a university get rid of an activist problem? Well, according to a Change.org petition that began circulation yesterday, the university threatens visible student activists with disciplinary action and criminal charges.

The petition, entitled "Stop the Suppression of Student Activism at the University of California," asks that the University of California and UC System President Janet Napolitano drop all student conduct charges against two notable student activists, Lisa Lei and Jordan Brocious, connected to protests and demonstrations last fall.

"Lisa Lei and Jordan Brocious have been targeted with unjust accusations by the UCI police department and the University of California for expressing their concerns about the University of California and the appointment of Janet Napolitano," reads the petition. "...The impact of these charges is that it will silence student voices at the University of California. Brocious and Lei are being targeted because they are visible campus activists who have been vocal in supporting workers' rights and who have raised concerns about campus climate in relation to Janet Napolitano and her presence of President of the University of California."

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Photo by Charles Lam
Signs line the windows of Donald Bren Hall during Napolitano's October visit to the campus

Over 300 people have signed the petition, which began circulation March 10. It must reach 1,000 signatures before being officially delivered.

Lei and Brocious' conduct charges are related to their actions this past fall.

The first incident happened during UC System President Napolitano's visit to the Irvine campus on Oct. 28, when Napolitano met behind closed doors with members of the Associated Students of UCI, Associated Graduate Students, and members of the Cross Cultural Center, as well as UCI administrators. That day, roughly 80 students attempted to gain access to a room being used to host the meetings, prompting a shoving match between activists and UCIPD. No arrests were made that day.

Several charges are also related to an AFSCME 3299 strike that took place Nov. 22. During a march following the initial rally, activists briefly blocked an intersection and got in a extremely brief shoving match with the manager of a UCI dining hall. No arrests were made that day either.

If a student is found in violation of the UCI Student Code of Conduct, they can face penalties from a written warning to probation, suspension, and expulsion, according to the UCI Code of Student Conduct.

Lei is also facing criminal charges related to the Oct. 28 visit by President Napolitano. The Orange County District Attorney's Office charged Lei with one misdemeanor count of battery against a peace officer and one misdemeanor count of obstructing a peace officer several months after the events allegedly took place. Lei is fighting the charges, and the case is currently in pre trial meetings.

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Email: clam@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @charlesnam. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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5 comments
UCIrvine_I_was_there
UCIrvine_I_was_there

Less than 10 students where invited to the secret meeting with the new UC President in an undisclosed location. The majority of the protestors where students of color who rightfully felt underrepresented in that meeting. They where peaceful demonstrators chanting and holding signs. The "peace officers" where undercover and did not reveal their identities, instead they shouted at, pushed and violently grabbed students by the neck. This was the same week a UCI officer was under investigation for putting Nazi pictures on his Facebook account. All these officers are currently being investigated for their overly aggressive actions but will likely get away untouched. Meanwhile two students who where victimized that day by the violent officers of UCI are now being charged erroneously by UC admins and the district attorney. Absurd!

tubthumper59
tubthumper59

These student need to shut up and get back to class and worry about the future when it gets here.

Brainwashed_in_church
Brainwashed_in_church topcommenter

If these students and co-eds were busy with their lessons, they wouldn't have time for protesting. I wonder how many of them are engineering students. Probably not many - no time for this type of riff raff that won't help them get a job after the graduate. More likely some "softology" major that will have them complaining there are no jobs (or, they'll become sales weasels and make big bucks).

question_everything
question_everything

@Brainwashed_in_church  nah, a lot of us are actually computer science and general STEM students. we're very dedicated.

fishwithoutbicycle
fishwithoutbicycle topcommenter

@Brainwashed_in_church  

Yeah, I'm sure you never had any visions of changing the world when you were in college, right? Do you really have to crap on these students because they CARE about something? How are social causes a waste of time as opposed all the partying and drinking many college students are notorious for? Give me a break.

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