On March 29, three UCLA students were arrested at the UC Board of Regents’ meeting at UC San Francisco, as police were sent in to remove students from the meeting and they tried to comply with police orders. Before the students were violently arrested, UCLA Lt. O’Connell was seen pointing out certain UCLA student activists to other police. The first student was arrested after he asked police who the commanding officer was, and why students needed to leave the building when the dispersal order was only to leave the room where the meeting was held. Two graduate students were arrested as the police wrestled the first student to the ground. It seems clear that the three were singled out given their prior arrests at UCLA. Two were booked on serious charges and a total of $72,000 bail, and it cost students almost $6000 to post bond to get them out of jail. The third was released on her own recognizance. While the San Francisco District Attorney has decided not to file charges against these three, the bond amount was not recoverable.
This year, UCLA has become a flashpoint of student protests against increasing tuition, budget cuts, and administrative mismanagement of public higher education. In November of last year, 11 students were arrested blocking the Westwood-Wilshire intersection to draw attention to UC’s business relationship with Bank of America and Monica Lozano’s conflict of interest as a member of both the Board of Regents and the Board of BoA. Later that month, under the direction of Lt. O’Connell, 14 students were arrested in a pre-dawn raid of the Occupy UCLA encampment by around 70 riot police as administrators watched. Despite a letter signed by dozens of faculty, the LA City Attorney still pursued charges against the students, eventually settling with the protesters to take a class on the First Amendment in exchange for a diversion of the charges.
Since the arrests in November, UCLA students have seen a rapid and troubling increase in repression from police, including arrests and violence. Lt. O’Connell also oversaw the police response to student protesters at the Regents’ meeting at UC Riverside in January, in which a lecturer was violently arrested and police opened fire on students with less-than-lethal ammunition. Even since the most recent Regents’ meeting, UCLA police have been following student activists on campus. While students still aren’t deterred and will keep fighting, we anticipate more arrests and more violence against students.
We are therefore asking for your support in covering our costs to free the two students, and building a bail and legal defense fund for future arrests. If you are able to donate, please go to: https://www.wepay.com/donations/ucla-protester-bail-fund
Please help us, so we can keep fighting!
The Ad-hoc Legal Support Committee of Occupy UCLA