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Indybay Feature
Sun Apr 27 2014 (Updated 04/29/14)
Alumni Weekend at UC Santa Cruz Brings Out Political Demonstrators
Action for the UCSC 22 and Protest Against Leon Panetta for War Crimes
Two different political demonstrations were held during the first day of Alumni Weekend at UC Santa Cruz on April 25. Members of Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs protested an appearance by former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who spoke at an exhibition of various student projects at the university. At the same time as the Panetta protest, students in support of the UCSC 22 demonstrated at another Alumni weekend event, the Graduate Alumni Cocktail Hour, which was held at the Graduate Student Commons.

At the Panetta protest, individuals held signs with the statements, "Jail Panetta", "What about the drones, Leon?", "Panetta Supports Torture", "Panetta is a War Criminal", and "Drone War is A Crime". Issues highlighted in literature distributed outside of the event included Panetta's involvement with drone warfare as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2009 to 2011 and his involvement in the thousands killed in Iraq and Afghanistan when he was Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013. The topic of Panetta's speech to the crowd inside was "America in the 21st century — is America in renaissance or decline?"

The group of students who interrupted the cocktail social at the Graduate Student Commons spoke out against the charges the UCSC 22 face. They carried signs and left several fliers attached to the commons bulletin board including a poster that read, "22 unjustly arrested so far, who will our admin take next?" During the social function graduate alumni mingled while sipping on drinks and eating snacks.

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