UC Irvine Campus: Police Disperse Gaza Camp, Chancellor Responds

Police were called to the University of California, Irvine, to disperse a Gaza camp erected by students and activists, resulting in multiple arrests and a campus-wide disruption. The camp, situated within the Physical Sciences Lecture Hall, was cleared on Wednesday following attempts by demonstrators to set up tents on university property.

Reports indicate that students barricaded themselves within the lecture hall before venturing outside to pitch tents, prompting law enforcement officers to intervene. Responding to the unfolding situation, local law enforcement agencies, including the Irvine Police Department and Orange County Sheriff’s Department, created a skirmish line near the demonstrators.

The events unfolded after hundreds of radical activists entered the Physical Sciences Lecture Hall, initiating a series of disruptions and barricading the building. The university swiftly issued advisories urging individuals to leave the area, leading to the cancellation of classes for the remainder of the day and the transition to fully remote instruction.

Following the police intervention, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer issued a statement that underscored the importance of the right to peaceful assembly while cautioning against criminal activities such as violence and vandalism. Spitzer emphasized that any evidence of criminal behavior would be thoroughly investigated by law enforcement authorities.

In response to the events, UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman expressed regret over the escalation of tensions on campus in a statement. Gillman, who had initially sought to avoid police intervention, acknowledged the challenges posed by the situation and reiterated the university’s commitment to upholding academic freedom and free speech rights for all members of the community.

Addressing the aftermath of the police dispersal, Chancellor Gillman affirmed the university’s dedication to fostering an environment conducive to respectful discourse and peaceful engagement. He emphasized the need for constructive dialogue and mutual understanding, urging all members of the campus community to work together towards a resolution.

As the campus regains stability in the wake of the Gaza camp’s dispersal, UC Irvine remains committed to its core values of inclusivity, diversity, and academic excellence. The university will continue to monitor the situation closely and take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of its students, faculty, and staff.