Faculty try to deliver statements in solidarity with student protesters to Chancellor Khosla’s office, unanswered

Faculty try to deliver statements in solidarity with student protesters to Chancellor Khosla’s office, unanswered
Image by Thomas Murphy for The UCSD Guardian

On May 16 at 1:00 p.m., 15 UC San Diego faculty members gathered ahead of a planned in-person delivery of two documents in solidarity with the demands of the pro-Palestinian protesters to the Chancellor’s building at Torrey Pines Center North. The delivered documents included testimony from faculty who visited the encampment and a San Diego Faculty Association statement on the student protests. The statements gathered 246 and 286 signatories, respectively. Multiple copies of both were enclosed in a paper folder, titled “To The Chancellor.”

Both statements condemn the administration’s response to the student encampment and its use of riot police on May 6.

“The militarized response has only chilled free speech, escalated tensions, reduced safety on campus, and destroyed the trust needed for negotiations and shared governance,” the SDFA statement detailed. 

The SDFA statement specifically demands the reversal of retaliation against students and faculty, listed in the statement as follows:

  • “Reversal of recent suspensions”
  • “No suspensions”
  • “[Dropping] any charges, no further arrests and, no declarations of demonstrations as unauthorized.”

The faculty testimony on the encampment emphasized its cultural programming, highlighting poetry, live music performances, teach-ins, movie showings, calls for Muslim evening prayer, and a Jewish Shabbat ceremony, officiated by a Rabbi.  

Upon arrival in Torrey Pines Center North at 1:26 p.m., faculty members, who claimed to previously have met with the Chancellor within the complex, directed those present to a building presumed to be his office’s location. 

Faculty members started to knock on the building’s main glass doors. Several administrative officers were spotted inside the building, gathering around the doors of the Advancement University Development Office. No one responded, and the professors’ key cards were unable to grant access inside. 

“We work here. Our overhead funds your office building,” faculty members stated, as they knocked.

In an interview with The UCSD Guardian, Associate Professor in the department of literature, Ameeth Vijay, shared the motivations behind their in-person delivery.

“We’re just here because we are concerned about the students who were arrested, students and colleagues who were arrested,” Vijay stated. “We think the chancellor didn’t follow UC protocol when de-escalating the situation, instead actually escalated it by calling the police, especially riot police, snipers, etc. His general acting in a way that is not in line with the principles of community that we have here.”

Communication Professor Lilly Irani further commented on the administrative response.  

“Students at all levels, undergraduate [and] graduate, feel unsafe on campus. This is a campus that instills [the values of] ‘make waves’ [and] ‘make things better.’ These students are being punished for what they’re speaking about […] The administration will deny it, but in 20 years, I’ve been here for 11, there’s never been repression like this at student protests,” Irani commented.

At approximately 1:44 p.m., an employee from the building, identified as Assistant Vice 

Chancellor and Chief of Staff Allorah Pradenas, opened the main glass doors as she was leaving.  Professor Vijay, along with fellow faculty, expressed requests for Pradenas to call on another representative from within the building to receive the envelope. 

“I don’t know why you’re here. I’ve been told we can’t let people in the building unless you’re authorized,” Pradenas told the present faculty.

Faculty remained outside of the building awaiting a response until around 2 p.m. Psychology Professor Adam Aron slipped the envelope with the statements enclosed through the gap between the entrance doors before the group dispersed.

“We can’t access [the building or the Chancellor’s office] … No one from his website responds to our emails or our phone calls. This is symbolic of a leadership that is completely out of touch with the people it represents. This is a travesty. So, here you go, Chancellor. Suck on this,” Aron stated as he slipped the envelope through the door. Faculty responded with applause.

The Guardian has confirmed that an Allied Universal officer, presumably called in by the building’s administrative employees, retrieved the envelope. The officer stated they did not know what to do with the envelope, assuring that the Chancellor’s office wasn’t in the building where faculty rallied. They cited recent robberies as the administrators’ presumed incentive for calling security.

“All we want to do is deliver [the statements]. We just want to put these 500 faculty names in the hands of the staff so that we have completed our part of it. [We want them] to acknowledge that they’ve received our petitions. And a response not only to receiving a position but actually [seeking] a response for our requests for amnesty for our students. Where are they at with that?” Aron stated to The Guardian.

The Guardian is unaware of the delivery status of the envelope.

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About the Contributors
Natalia Montero Acevedo, Associate News Editor
A Political Science major, Natalia Montero loves to engage with on-site reporting to connect with communities’ affairs. Be warned, she will bombard you with random facts about whatever book she’s currently reading. She will also make sure to bring up The Sound of Music, Mitski, and Roger Deakins’ or Justine Triet’s work in whatever conversation she’s in.
Thomas Murphy
Thomas Murphy, Co-Webmaster & Associate Photo Editor
I work on the website and take-a the pretty pictures
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