The December UC Board of Regents Health Services Committee meeting was disrupted within five minutes by UAW 2865 and SRU protesters.
The committee meeting was originally slated to hold 30 minutes of public comment, then discuss UC Davis Health’s strategy, the University of California Health’s ongoing research into long COVID-19 and UC Health’s affiliation with organizations that have policy-based restrictions on care.
Academic workers quickly disrupted the first committee meeting following a public comment by UCLA doctoral student Wesleigh Gates.
“We’ve heard you all may not be fully aware of the circumstances of our ongoing strike or of the working or living conditions of graduate workers in the UC,” Gates said. “We are parents, partners, caregivers and researchers from all over the world. Many of us are just living under $24,000 a year. In one of the country’s most expensive states, we cannot properly care for ourselves or those who depend on us.”
Not long after the chanting, the audio to the livestream was cut, leaving viewers unable to see the protest intensify.
Tricia Lyall, Interim Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Board, attempted to call the next speakers to deliver their comments amid the ongoing chants of the demonstrators.
“Folks, you are interrupting the public comment period. The meeting will continue once the disruption has been ended, and as soon as the room is cleared I request that appropriate police officers make a declaration of unlawful assembly and clear the room,” said Chairman of the Committee Regent John Pérez.
Ryan King, spokesperson for UC Office of the President, noted ten protesters who refused to leave were then cited and removed from the room by UCPD. They were cited, “under California penal code for willfully disturbing a public meeting and for trespassing,” King said.
The meeting was adjourned for around 20 minutes, then reconvened to approve the minutes of the October 19, 2022 meeting, and all agenda items were deferred to the next health services meeting in February.
In the second meeting of the day, the board passed action item B2, which allowed UCLA to join the Big 10 with stipulations including the campus adopting plans to increase nutritional, academic and mental health support for student athletes and mitigating travel impacts.
UCLA will also request that faculty provide remote learning options for student athletes.
In addition, the item will require UCLA to contribute between $2 and $10 million to UC Berkeley to enhance student athlete support. The exact sum will be recommended by the president and approved by the regents at a later date.
To conclude, alumni-regent designate Keith Ellis said he believes the decision made by UCLA’s chancellor is ultimately under their designation to act in the best interests of their campus. He added that this authority should stay with the chancellors moving forward.
“It’s been a long road. A lot of time has been put into this over the last six months,” said Chair of the Board Richard Leib. “I will tell you that what I respect about everybody here and the thoughts that we talked about were (about) how we mitigate, how we make sure that the student athlete experience is done in the best way that it can. I think the measures that we’ve put in to increase the funding for that is substantial and real.”