{ ACLU Steps In }

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) intervened in the judicial proceedings following the occupation of Kerr Hall in November, citing the university for not affording due process to the 35 students facing judicial actions from the university.

The ACLU’s interposition follows the administration’s issuing of “voluntary resolutions” that found multiple students responsible for 10 violations of the Student Code of Conduct (SCC). The letter, addressed to Chancellor George Blumenthal and Academic Senate Chair Lori Kletzer, asserts that the university is not adhering to students’ Constitutional rights and must amend the current process to rectify the unconstitutionality of the student judicial process.

“We write to detail the ways in which the university’s disciplinary process has already gone wrong and to set forth necessary actions to bring the university’s discipline of the Kerr Hall protestors within constitutional parameters,” the letter said.

Carole Rossi, UCSC’s campus counsel, stated that the university is in fact taking appropriate action.

“We respect the ACLU’s right to offer its viewpoint. While we’ve only received their letter today, I am confident of several things,” Rossi said in an e-mail to City on a Hill Press. “For all students facing proposed discipline and restitution, there is clear evidence confirming their participation in conduct that violated university policy.”

Kletzer said that as a faculty member and chair of the Academic Senate she functions as “an obvious conduit to the faculty.” The letter raises pertinent questions about the judicial process that the administration should examine, she continued.

“The letter suggests that there are serious legal substantive questions that must be addressed,” Kletzer said. “Speaking for myself, I think there are very important issues for our campus. The questions that have been raised about evidence and the process are critical for the campus.”

Such questions were raised to Chancellor Blumenthal and Executive Vice Chancellor David Kliger at the Academic Senate meeting last Friday, April 23. Blumenthal expressed an openness to reexamining the SCC in the future, however he said he did not have any intention of dropping the charges in the case of the Kerr Hall protestors. Kletzer said that the comments Blumenthal made at the meeting indicated that the letter will be taken seriously by the administration.

“My hope is that the administration takes this on with the seriousness that it deserves. It is my expectation that [Blumenthal] will take this seriously,” said Kletzer. “It would be consistent with his remarks on Friday. I would fully expect him to take in this letter with all seriousness.”

Reported by Sarah Naugle


{ Rape Awareness at UCSC }

The UCSC Rape Prevention Education Center is sponsoring the campus’s 10th annual Denim Day Thursday, April 29.

Denim Day began in 1999 as a response to an Italian Supreme Court of Cassation decision and has spread to be an international day of protest against rape myths which place blame on the victim.

The court overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans, citing that it must have been an instance of consensual sex.

The Court stated in its decision that “[tight] jeans cannot even be partly removed without the effective help of the person wearing them … and it is impossible if the victim is struggling with all her might.”

The Rape Prevention Education Office, which has existed on the UCSC campus for 30 years, has sponsored an annual Denim Day event on campus for the past 10 years.

Matt Gerolama is a fourth-year student working with the Rape Prevention Education Center for the first time this year. He said that a goal of the campus’s Denim Day event is to dispel similar rape myths.

“There is a lot of victim blaming, we are trying to take away the stigma surrounding rape,” Gerolama said. “Often the way a woman is dressed is used against her as a justification.”

The event, which was originally scheduled for April 21, was rescheduled to the 29th (weather permitting) and will be held in the Quarry Plaza from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Members of the UCSC community will be able to participate by attending the event to learn facts and create rape awareness T-shirts with stencils, paint and shirts provided by the Rape Prevention Education Center. Attendees are also encouraged to wear denim in solidarity with the international protest.

In a 1994 study of 6,000 students in 32 colleges in the US, one in four women had been the victim of rape or attempted rape.

Gillian Greensite, director of the Rape Prevention Education Center, uses Denim Day as an opportunity to raise rape awareness on campus.

“It’s about bringing rape out of silence and shame and [treating] it with the seriousness that it should be treated [with],” Greensite said. “That way students who have been raped can come forward for resources if needed.”

Greensite said that misconceptions surrounding rape contribute to the fact that most rapes go unreported.

“If someone is not aware of the reality of rape, they may think it can only be a stranger, they might not see it as a rape even though it meets the legal definition,” Greensite said.

Tahra Soofi is a third-year student at UCSC who has worked with the Rape Prevention Education Center for two years. She said that she hopes to raise discussion of social issues surrounding rape in order to prevent it.

“Rape is a really taboo word; it’s not addressed,” Soofi said. “We want to mend the situation to eliminate rape in our society.”

Reported by Dana Burd