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Students face conduct hearings, graduation uncertainty after encampment arrests

Murphy Hall, where UCLA administration is based, is pictured. Students arrested for participating in the Palestine solidarity encampment have been called for conduct meetings with an assistant dean of students. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Dylan Winward

June 10, 2024 4:47 p.m.

Four days from commencement, students facing conduct hearings for their participation in the Palestine solidarity encampment remain uncertain about whether or not they will be able to walk the stage.

Of the more than 200 people arrested during the police sweep of the encampment May 2, some were summoned to meetings with an assistant dean of students May 24. According to letters summoning them to the meetings, the students violated the UCLA Student Conduct Code by engaging in disorderly behavior, disturbing the peace and failing to comply with university instructions during the encampment – which the university declared unlawful April 30 and authorized the forceful dismantling of May 1 and May 2.

[Related: UCLA calls student hearings for arrested participants of pro-Palestine encampment]

Student A, a graduating fourth-year student who was granted anonymity out of fear of retaliation, said the assistant dean of students that they met with did not give detailed answers about how long the disciplinary process would take, even though they are scheduled to graduate Friday. They added that they still have a hold preventing them from graduating on their MyUCLA account.

“The dean was not very forthcoming or clear about when the hold would be resolved or when our diplomas and transcripts will be made available,” Student A said. “With graduation five (as of Monday, four) days away, I have no idea about what UCLA has in mind for students like me.”

Student A also said they are waiting for a final decision on whether they can walk at their department’s commencement, but they currently believe they will be allowed to do so.

Student B, another graduating fourth-year student who was granted anonymity out of fear of retaliation said they also have not received clarity on their department’s decision. They added that the uncertainty about their graduation has impeded their ability to plan for their future.

UCLA Media Relations did not respond in time to questions about how long it typically takes to resolve student disciplinary processes or whether students facing disciplinary processes would be allowed to attend commencement ceremonies and graduate.

Students in the midst of the conduct process also said the meetings revealed little information about what consequences they could face.

Student A said they were asked about their involvement with the encampment, including when they had first arrived at the encampment and if they had heard UCPD give orders for participants to disperse. They added that they chose not to answer those questions because of advice they had received from their lawyer.

Students, including Student A, have court dates scheduled for this summer.

Student B said they were also unable to access their student disciplinary record ahead of the meeting, despite requesting it six days in advance.

“I had to go into the meeting that was supposed to be entitling me to transparency towards the process and an opportunity to gain clarity on my ability to graduate without even being able to access the information that they’re using against me,” they said.

Guidelines created by the UC Office of the General Counsel state that under the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act, students have the right to inspect their university disciplinary records within 45 days of requesting them. UCPD documents shared with campus administrators are also included in those disclosure guidelines.

A media liaison for Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA – which organized the encampment – did not respond in time to requests for comment about whether they believe the student conduct process was fair.

Students were allowed to bring two people to their meetings as support, with many choosing to bring faculty members, Student A said. Student B added that they had been worrying to see how the faculty member they brought also did not have any visibility into the disciplinary process.

Student A also said they found the overall disciplinary process stressful, especially since they believe they have been acting in line with the university’s values.

“I would emphasize how incredibly heartbreaking and frustrating it is that not only did my university invite police violence on me – and 200-plus of my friends – and then asked cops to arrest us, they’re now threatening me and my friends and comrades with disciplinary action and derailing our future,” they said.

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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.
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