Student misconduct charges have been dropped against 59 UC San Diego student workers who faced potential expulsion over to their alleged involvement in a protest, it was announced Tuesday.
UCSD graduate students took part in a May demonstration held at an alumni awards celebration attended by UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, in which the students protested the alleged failure of the university to abide by a contract reached with the union representing UC student employees, leaving workers underpaid.
United Auto Workers Local 2865, which represents postdoctoral scholars, academic researchers, graduate student researchers and academic student employees, said dozens of members later received letters indicating they may have violated student conduct procedures in connection with the protest and potentially faced disciplinary actions.
According to the union, many of the students identified as facing discipline did not actually attend the May protest.
Along with Tuesday’s announcement that student misconduct charges will no longer be pursued, UAW 2865 said the university will also not pursue any further legal action against three student workers arrested earlier this year for allegedly vandalizing campus property.
The workers — Jessica Ng, William Schneider, and a third person whose name has not been disclosed — were arrested in June following the discovery of what UC San Diego police described as vandalism “that caused permanent damage, necessitating replacement of building materials in excess of $12,000” at the Marine Conservation and Technology Facility at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
UAW 2865 said the workers allegedly wrote on a campus building with chalk.
The university did not ultimately submit a case to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office for review of potential criminal charges.
“Over the past months, UC management has resorted to unlawful retaliation in a desperate attempt to chill our union’s organizing and avoid their obligation to honor our contracts,” said Udayon Tandon, the UAW 2865 unit chair at UCSD.
“In response, hundreds of us have traveled across California to support each other at arraignment hearings, to picket outside Regents meetings, and to directly confront the Regents face to face. Today, those efforts paid off, and we clearly demonstrated that these unlawful attempts to silence workers will not work now or in the future.”