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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

UCLA Faculty Response to Admin Claim of Unauthorized LAPD Use of Jackie Robinson Stadium

Dear Vice Chancellor Beck,

     We write in response to your communication of June 2, 2020, regarding the use of the Jackie Robinson Stadium to detain protesters and process arrests on the evening of June 1, 2020.

     You state in your letter that “the use of the Jackie Robinson Stadium parking lot as a ‘field jail’ was not done with the administration’s permission, collaboration or knowledge.” You also state that from time to time, city agencies like the Los Angeles Fire Department ask UCLA’s permission to use the parking lot as a staging area during fires or other emergencies” and that UCLA “typically grant[s] those permissions.” You note that this was the case a few weeks agowhen “LAFD asked UCLA’s permission to utilize the parking lot as a COVID‐19 testing area and the university granted that permission.”

     Taking into account these facts, addressing you, Chancellor Block, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Emily Carter, we request the following actions:

1. UCLA leadership issue a public statement that LAPD undertook unauthorized use of the Jackie Robinson Stadium as a field jail on June 1, 2020, and issue a public letter to Chief Michel Moore demanding both explanation and compensation for LAPD’s use of the property without permission from the lessee, i.e. UCLA. Since this amounts to civil trespassing or the commandeering of property, we ask that UCLA leadership, at the very least, demand compensation for this unauthorized use of its property, if not file a formal complaint and charges.  Our UCLA Law faculty stand by to provide guidance and expertise on this matter.

2. Your letter notes that “LAPD has vacated the property” and that UCLA “will inform them that future use as an arrest processing center will not be granted.”

     a) We ask that you share a copy of this specific communication with LAPD immediately with the UCLA community including this group of concerned faculty. This will assure us that UCLA has taken a measure of action.

      b) As per our first letter, we continue to ask that you make public all information you have pertaining to the use of Jackie Robinson Stadium by LAPD on June 1, 2020. We would like to know when and how you were notified of such use and by whom.

     c) Given that UCLA occupies Jackie Robinson Stadium and the surrounding land only under the authority of the West Los Angeles Leasing Act of 2016 and the lease agreement between UCLA and the Department of Veteran Affairs executed on December 23, 2016, both of which provide that UCLA’s activities under the lease will principally benefit military veterans, for whose specific benefit the land was granted to the United States Government, we ask that you make public all information regarding the other uses of the land you have given over to the City of Los Angeles since the execution of the lease, and all communications between you, the City of Los Angeles, and the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding such uses, including communications tending to show that
such activities benefited veterans in any way.

     d) We are not assured that the use of UCLA facilities, whether the Jackie Robinson Stadium or other sites, by LAPD, will not take place in the future. If UCLA leadership, including yourself, was unaware of such use, we are now additionally concerned about the breakdown of lines of communication and reporting within UCLA and between UCLA and city agencies.

Our first letter shared chilling testimony from protesters detained and processed at Jackie Robinson Stadium. We have now heard from more of them, including UCLA students, who were arrested in downtown Los Angeles for curfew violation, bused to the stadium, and held there for seven hours before being processed and released at 3 am onto the streets of Westwood, far from their homes. We have also heard from a criminal defense attorney who was contacted by one of the arrested protesters who needed medical attention. After repeated 9-11 calls received no response, the attorney decided to himself go to the Jackie Robinson Stadium to serve as counsel accompanied by a physician to provide medical help. What the attorney witnessed was an “organized scene” of detention and arrest processing, a massive set-up with many, many buses and scores of LAPD officers. Given the scale, scope, and duration of this field jail, we are incredulous that you and other UCLA leadership were unaware of the situation. How can we be assured that this will not repeat itself, putting many people in harm’s way, only to be later told that it happened without UCLA’s knowledge and permission? Responsibility lies with UCLA whether permission was granted or not.

We ask that UCLA leadership issue a public statement stating that LAPD will not be able to use UCLA facilities, whether those leased or directly owned by the university.

3. This incident has made it clear to us as concerned faculty that LAPD is not a trustworthy partner for UCLA. What is at stake is much more than remedy for unauthorized use of UCLA facilities. As we stated in our first letter, NOW is the time for UCLA to make a robust commitment to ending collaboration with the police state. Across the country, and especially in Los Angeles, community organizations and justice movements are working hard to ensure that public resources are invested in education, health, and housing rather than in policing. It is vitally important that UCLA follow the lead of other public universities such as the University of Minnesota and take action to sever ties with LAPD. Starting next week, we the UCLA faculty, will form a Divestment Working Group, which will work closely with student and community organizations towards the common goal of Divest/ Invest.

We ask that UCLA leadership join us in making an immediate public pledge to such a goal and commit to working with faculty, students, staff, and workers to ensure such outcomes of justice on our campus and for our communities. As faculty, we want UCLA to prioritize the educational mission of teaching and research over policing.

Sincerely,

The Executive Committee of Concerned UCLA Faculty
Ananya Roy
Laura Abrams
Leisy Abrego
Hannah Appel
Sarah Haley
Kelly Lytle Hernández
Grace Kyungwon Hong
Michael Lens
Shannon Speed
Noah Zatz
Maite Zubiaurre

Photo Credit: Daily Bruin

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