Multiple UC Irvine students involved in a pro-Palestinian encampment that formed on campus last week have been given suspension notices, a university spokesperson confirmed Thursday, May 9.

According to one of the suspension letters independently obtained by The Orange County Register, the students have been barred from being “physically or virtually present on campus,” including in “any and all university housing facilities.” The notices were sent out early Wednesday, May 8.

Three of the students included are part of a negotiations team that has been meeting with university administration, a statement released on behalf of the UCI students’ encampment said.

The suspension letter said the students were being charged with “disruption of university teaching, research, administration and activities,” as well as “disorderly and lewd conduct,” in addition to six other policy violations. The suspension will be imposed until a final outcome is decided by a resolution process, the letter said.

Due to “federal privacy laws,” university spokesperson Tom Vasich said the school cannot comment more on the details of the suspensions.

University-affiliated organizations in the UCI Divest Coalition, which includes Students for Justice in Palestine and Anakbayan, have received interim suspension notices as well, Vasich said. The terms of these group suspensions were not disclosed.

“Until the charges against students are dropped and amnesty is promised,” the students’ statement said, “we will not return to the bargaining table. Until then, we vow to continue our efforts to expose and oppose UCI’s ongoing financial support for the brutal occupation and genocide of Palestinians.”

Kevan Antonio Aguilar, a professor in UCI’s history department and a vice-chair of the Irvine Faculty Association, said that the association has confirmed at least seven students received suspension notices.

“The university’s retaliation against student leaders who represent some of the most marginalized and underserved communities on campus is an attack on the democratic principles that the University of California was founded upon,” Aguilar said. “We call on all faculty to condemn these attempts to stifle students’ constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.”

The pro-Palestinian protesters at UCI have repeated said they will not be leaving the encampment until the university divests from companies with ties to Israel and weapon manufacturers, among other demands.

In a May 7 statement, UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman said some of their demands are “inconsistent with fundamental principles and policies of the University of California,” including ending partnerships with Israel and “demands that seek to prevent faculty and students from expressing views and organizing programs on topics relating to Israel, Zionism, or Antisemitism that conflict with these protestors’ views.”

Gillman said demands for transparency on school resources used to “address islamophobia and antisemitism and information about investments made by the UCI Foundation” would be “easy to accommodate.”

The suspension notices come days after Gillman said in a statement that all of the school’s efforts “are designed to reach a peaceful resolution that leads to the voluntary dismantling of the encampment.”

The UCI encampment, located in the Physical Sciences Quad on campus, was formed April 29 and has remained peaceful. Encampments and protests have happened at college campuses across the nation. Two high-profile encampments at UCLA and USC were recently cleared, drawing criticism.

On May 8, the departments of Asian American Studies and History at UCI issued statements urging UCI and other UC campuses to “ensure the safety and defend the rights of our students to free speech and protest.”

“Our goal must be to build and sustain a community predicated on the free exchange of ideas, including challenging and divisive ones, academic freedom and inquiry and mutual respect,” the UCI Department of History’s statement said.


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