UCLA Faculty Senate Rejects Censure, No-Confidence Motions on Chancellor

The motions contended that Gene Block “failed to ensure the safety of our students” surrounding an attack on the pro-Palestinian encampment on campus
UCLA Faculty Senate Rejects Censure, No-Confidence Motions on Chancellor
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block introduces a new addition to the University's properties in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 3, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
City News Service

After discussions held over the course of a week, the University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA) Academic Senate on May 17 ultimately rejected a pair of resolutions to formally censure and declare no confidence in university Chancellor Gene Block over the handling of a pro-Palestinian encampment and its ultimate dismantling by police at the beginning of this month.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the no-confidence resolution failed on a tally of 79 yes votes, 103 no votes, and five abstentions. The censure resolution failed on an 88–88 vote, with three abstentions, the paper reported.

A source familiar with the situation told the newspaper, “This shows that many faculty support Chancellor Block and they understand that he was adhering to UC policy. People are realizing that Chancellor Block was put in an impossible situation.”

The resolutions were initially considered by the Academic Senate last week, but no decisions were made, with the issue carrying over to this week. The Senate met again Thursday.

The resolutions had contended that Mr. Block “failed to ensure the safety of our students and grievously mishandled the events” surrounding an April 30 attack on the encampment by counter-protesters and its dismantling by police the following night.

The police dismantling of the encampment resulted in 209 arrests. The attack on the camp by counter-protesters the previous evening led to calls for investigations into the university and police response to the violence. Witnesses said the attack was allowed to continue for hours before police finally intervened.

Gov. Gavin Newsom was among those criticizing the response. University of California President Michael Drake also announced an independent investigation of the UCLA response to the violence.

The UC announced last week it was hiring 21st Century Policing Solutions—a police-tactics consulting firm—to lead the university system’s independent investigation of actions taken at UCLA.

Mr. Block, meanwhile, issued a statement last week saying he remained committed to identifying those who carried out the attack.

“The LAPD has committed a detective to assist in our investigative efforts, and we have also connected with the FBI about possible assistance. We have spoken to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón to solicit his help in ensuring that the instigators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Mr. Block said.

Citing unnamed law enforcement sources, the Los Angeles Times reported that the investigation will include the use of facial-recognition technology, while also employing license plate readers to determine who entered the campus or was driving in the vicinity that night.

The investigative tools being employed are comparable to those used by federal authorities investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol.

Mr. Block, who is set to retire at the end of July, is scheduled to testify before a congressional committee next week about the university’s response to antisemitism on campus. Meanwhile, the chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce sent a letter this week demanding that the UC system turn over all communications and documents relating to alleged campus antisemitism since Oct. 7, the date of the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.

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