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Resolution Censuring Collective Punishment and Guilt

WHEREAS, The Student Union Assembly (SUA) supports peaceful and nonviolent protest to raise awareness and address the cuts to the services and programs that are vital to our education and,

WHEREAS, the Student Union Assembly (SUA) firmly believes in due process as well as every individual’s right to fair inquiry into any accusations made, so long as evidence is provided and responsibility proven and,

WHEREAS, this past year has been marred by budget cuts and fee increases greatly diminishing access and affordability, further deteriorating the quality and diversity at the University of California and,

WHEREAS, on the days following the 32% increase in fees levied November 19th at UCLA by the Regents, students at the University of California, Santa Cruz occupied Kerr Hall, the main administrative building on campus1 and,

WHEREAS, hundreds of students gathered throughout the two days to protests the fee increases along with budget cuts across the state and at UCSC and,

WHEREAS, police in riot gear subsequently forced protestors out of Kerr Hall and no arrests were made2 and,

WHEREAS, following the occupation administration officials declared the building in disarray3 and allowed it to remain closed for clean up and repairs and,

WHEREAS, 46 students were summonsed and investigated for their involvement in the Kerr Hall occupation by UCSC officials4 and,

WHEREAS, on April 7th, UCSC administration sent out sanction notices charging 36 students $944 each in restitution for their involvement in November’s occupation of Kerr Hall5 for damages being claimed to total $34,000, and

WHEREAS, seven of the students will be dismissed, suspended or placed on probation, while 29 others received a disciplinary warning6 and,

WHEREAS, disciplinary action should be handed down for those responsible, but such a decision should be made on an individual basis, where clear evidence and responsibility can be proven and,

WHEREAS, the UCSC administration has bundled responsibility, merely dividing the $34,000 estimated damage costs amongst the 36 protesters, charging them collectively without grounds for providing evidence on an individual level to allow for independent due process7 and,

WHEREAS, in order to proceed with disciplinary action, there must be sufficient evidence, beyond reasonable doubt, of personal responsibility for illegal actions, property damage and,

WHEREAS, the administrations inability to provide such individualized forms of evidence is in direct contradiction to American jurisprudence, where the notion of collective punishment and guilt is absent and,

WHEREAS, UCSC administrative decisions are subject to following state and federal law, not immune because of “privacy rules”8 here at the University of California and,

WHEREAS, disciplinary actions like these only serve to affect future protests and instill a culture of fear within the activist and UCSC community, inhibiting our ability to take ownership of reclaiming our education and further becoming engaged world citizens and,

LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the Student Union Assembly (SUA) censures the collective punishment and guilt levied by the administration to the 36 students protestors being that no sufficient individual evidence has been provided to administer responsibility and,

LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the Student Union Assembly (SUA) will work to ensure a fair and transparent process so that our fellow students are afforded due process and clear evidence,

LET IT FINALLY BE RESOLVED, that the Student Union Assembly (SUA) will continue to support all forms of peaceful protests and uphold the individual rights and protections granted by our country to students participating in actions that promote student voice, student power, and student action.

Drafted by:
Vice Chair of Internal Affairs Tiffany Dena Loftin
Vice Chair of External Affairs Víctor George Sánchez Jr.