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UCSC Admins Seek 3 yr. Suspension/Expulsion of Prominent Black Activist
by UC Activist Defense Committee ( contact[at]ucactivistdefense.org )
Wednesday May 23rd, 2007 3:54 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2007

UCSC Admins Seek 3 yr. Suspension/Expulsion of Prominent Black Activist
Community Fights to Defend Alette Kendrick, Protect Free Speech & Fight Racism
SANTA CRUZ, CA – Administrators of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) have announced their intention to “suspend” Alette Kendrick, a prominent Black activist, for a period of three years – in essence, a sentence of expulsion for the third year student. In response, Alette has immediately requested a formal hearing – her right under the school’s judicial process – while supporters have organized a week of action culminating in a large rally on Thursday, May 24, featuring Angela Davis as a speaker.

Who: The UC Activist Defense Committee, with Angela Davis and hundreds of students
Where: UCSC’s Chancellor’s Office – Kerr Hall
When: Thursday, May 24, 12pm
Why: To Defend Alette Kendrick, Protect Free Speech, and Fight Racism

Alette Kendrick asserts that she was racially and politically targeted as a Black woman at a student speak- out against the visiting UC Regents on October 18, 2006. To date, thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and dozens of respected organizations agree. A letter, including 10 demands to defend Alette and combat an environment of racial violence and political repression on campus, has received the support of the official undergraduate student government (the Student Union Assembly), the African/Black Student Alliance, the T.A. union (UAW 2865), the campus chapter of the ACLU, the queer Network, and almost 20 different campus organizations. Additionally, support for Alette has come from the UC Student Association, the UC Santa Barbara student government, and UCSC’s Grad Student Association.

Currently, UCSC administrators are denying Alette legal representation at her formal hearing, while still expecting her to cross-examine the police officers who assaulted her. This raises serious constitutional questions and is in the process of being appealed.

The 3 year “suspension”/expulsion was issued by the Director of Student Judicial Affairs, Doug Zuidema, in consultation with other high-level administrators, including Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs Jean Marie Scott, and Chancellor George Blumenthal. Without a jury of her peers or the opportunity to adequately defend herself, Alette was found “guilty” of 8 charges, ranging from “lewd conduct” to “refusing to identify herself to a University official.” Meanwhile, a white male student arrested at the same time as Alette was only given one quarter of academic probation.

The October 18, 2006 protest against the UC Regents was organized to fight tuition increases, campus expansion, institutional racism, UC’s role in the development of nuclear weapons, the undemocratic nature of the Regents, and many other issues. It was likely the first use of police pepper-spray at a protest in the history of UCSC. Rather than expressing concern about the safety of students, Chancellor George Blumenthal emailed the whole campus the next day to condemn the protest. After obscene racist graffiti was found at Baskin Engineering months later, it took administrators a week and a half to send a message to the campus.

Additional Resources:

• Alette’s personal narrative of what happened: http://www.ucactivistdefense.org/background
• The letter & demands: http://www.ucactivistdefense.org/what-you-can-do/sign-the-letter/
• A list of supporting organizations: http://www.ucactivistdefense.org/supporters/