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UCLA cancels classes following violence at Palestine solidarity encampment

The pro-Palestine encampment in Dickson Plaza is pictured. Attacks on the encampment on Tuesday evening have led to several days of canceled classes. (Julia Zhou/Photo editor)

By Dylan Winward and Anna Dai-Liu

May 1, 2024 3:21 p.m.

For the Daily Bruin’s full coverage of the UC Divest Coalition and Students for Justice in Palestine encampment, see here.

A senior UCLA official indicated Wednesday afternoon that classes will be canceled Thursday, as Chancellor Gene Block condemned violence caused Tuesday night and Wednesday morning by counter-protesters.

The move comes after an attack Tuesday evening against the pro-Palestine encampment in Dickson Plaza, which has been in place since Thursday morning. In an email to staff and faculty in the Division of Social Sciences, Interim Dean of Social Sciences Abel Valenzuela said he anticipates classes being canceled Thursday, and he encouraged staff and faculty to avoid campus Wednesday – and potentially through the weekend as well.

A number of students reported their midterm exams had been postponed or canceled.

In a statement delivered via text message, Benjamin Kersten – a media representative for Jewish Voice for Peace at UCLA – said encampment members were upset with the cancellation of classes.

“It’s upsetting that the administration would choose to cancel classes rather than engage with the demands of the encampment in a substantive manner,” he said in the statement. “The administration’s lack of action and lack of concern for student wellbeing has allowed the situation to escalate and interfere with the mission of the university.”

Wednesday classes were already canceled “due to the distress caused by the violence that took place on Royce Quad,” according to a BruinAlert sent at 8:02 a.m. that day. UCLA Health facilities, the Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center and the university’s PreK-12 schools remain open, UCLA said in the alert.

The university also advised students to avoid the Dickson Plaza area. As was previously announced in a BruinAlert sent Tuesday, Royce Hall and Powell Library – the two buildings surrounding the encampment – will remain closed through Friday and Sunday, respectively. 

In a statement sent at 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday to the UCLA community, Chancellor Gene Block said outside instigators came to Dickson Plaza to attack the encampment Tuesday evening. He added that the university had requested police forces to come to campus to address the attacks, and that it “will conduct a thorough investigation that may lead to arrests, expulsions and dismissals.”

“However one feels about the encampment, this attack on our students, faculty and community members was utterly unacceptable,” he said in the statement. “It has shaken our campus to its core and — adding to other abhorrent incidents that we have witnessed and that have circulated on social media over the past several days — further damaged our community’s sense of security.”

Block also encouraged people to report incidents of violence to UCPD and discrimination to the Civil Rights Office, as well as using campus counseling resources. LAPD officers remained in Dickson Plaza as of 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday. 

In a press conference at 2:34 p.m., a media liaison for the Faculty for Justice in Palestine at UCLA said the university was planning to clear the encampment by 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The Daily Bruin was unable to verify that claim.

The chancellor’s statement ended by calling for a restoration of safety on campus.

“This is a dark chapter in our campus’s history,” he said in the statement. “We will restore a safe learning environment at UCLA.”

Contributing reports by the Daily Bruin staff.

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Dylan Winward | News editor
Winward is the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. He was previously a News reporter for campus politics and features and student life. He is also a second-year English literature and statistics student.
Winward is the 2023-2024 features and student life editor. He was previously a News reporter for campus politics and features and student life. He is also a second-year English literature and statistics student.
Anna Dai-Liu | Science and health editor
Dai-Liu is the 2023-2024 science and health editor and Copy staff member. She was previously a News staff writer and is currently a third-year neuroscience and comparative literature student.
Dai-Liu is the 2023-2024 science and health editor and Copy staff member. She was previously a News staff writer and is currently a third-year neuroscience and comparative literature student.
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