May 24, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

UCLA Chancellor to Establish New Campus Security Office Amid Criticism and Independent Review

Block Faces Backlash for Handling of Pro-Palestine Encampment Attack and LAPD Raid

In the aftermath of the four-hour attack on UCLA students in the Pro-Palestine Encampment and the arrests of the same students the next night by the LAPD and California Highway Patrol, Chancellor Gene Block has issued a statement announcing his intention to create a new Office of Campus Security.  This comes while Chancellor Block is facing serious criticism and calls for him to resign as Chancellor even though he has already announced his plans to step down from the role on July 31. 

Many student and faculty groups have decried the Chancellor’s lack of action on the night of April 30 into the early morning hours of May 1, while a group of 100 men attacked the student encampment with pepper spray, sticks, bottles, and other weapons as well as their fists and the UCLA Campus police stood by watching and did nothing. 

His statement reads, “Protecting the safety of our community underpins everything we do at UCLA. Our students, faculty, and staff can only learn, work, and thrive in an environment where they feel secure.

In the past week, our campus has been shaken by events that have disturbed this sense of safety and strained trust within our community. In light of this, both UCLA and the UC Office of the President have committed to a thorough investigation of our security processes. But one thing is already clear: To best protect our community moving forward, urgent changes are needed in how we administer safety operations.

I am therefore taking several actions to significantly alter our campus safety structure. These decisions were not made lightly — but my leadership team and I feel that decisive change is needed to help maintain a safe campus environment.

Effective immediately, I am moving oversight and management of UCLA PD and the Office of Emergency Management from the Office of the Administrative Vice Chancellor to a newly created Office of Campus Safety, whose leader reports directly to me. It is clear that UCLA needs a unit and leader whose sole responsibility is campus safety to guide us through tense times. This organizational structure, which elevates our safety and emergency management operations, has proven to be an effective one at other major universities across the country.

Leading the Office of Campus Safety as its inaugural associate vice chancellor is Rick Braziel, who brings to the position more than 30 years of public safety service, including five years as chief of police for the City of Sacramento. Braziel has also served as an instructor in community policing and has led reviews of law enforcement agencies and police responses.

Additionally, I have created a formal advisory group with expert leaders who will partner with AVC Braziel. Members of this advisory group include UC Davis Chief of Police and Coordinator of the Council of UC Chiefs of Police Joe Farrow, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Professor of Health Policy and Management Vickie Mays, and UC Office of the President Systemwide Director of Community Safety Jody Stiger. I am confident that AVC Braziel, in partnership with this advisory group, will provide effective new leadership of our safety and emergency management operations.

The well-being of our students, faculty, and staff is paramount. These actions are essential for creating a secure environment where everyone at UCLA can confidently pursue their studies and careers.

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