SAN FRANCISCO – Three UCLA students were detained by UCPD Thursday morning during the final day of this month’s UC Board of Regents meeting, following an interruption of the meeting that stalled proceedings for about 40 minutes.
The three students — who have been identified by a UC San Francisco statement as Andrew Harkness-Newton, Cheryl Deutsch and Mathew Sandoval — were arrested by UCPD in the hall outside the meeting conference room. All three were charged with obstructing an officer and failure to disperse, according to the statement.
The meeting was briefly interrupted when board chair Sherry Lansing attempted to end the public comment session — which started around 8:35 a.m. — and proceed with the remaining items on the meeting’s agenda.
Audience members asked for an extension and for additional speakers to speak who were supposedly signed up on the public comment list.
When Lansing said she could not extend the public comment period because the speakers were not listed on the official public comment list, audience members began a mic check, which disrupted the meeting and led to Lansing and some board members leaving the conference room.
Student Regent Alfredo Mireles, Jr. said he was disappointed that not all students who wanted to speak during the public comment session were allowed into the conference room, but that the meeting needed to continue so important business could be discussed.
“It’s absurd that we are having this meeting during spring break,” Mireles said. “But we’re not able to talk about things that affect over 220,000 students … if this meeting is completely disrupted.”
UCPD then arrived and surrounded the group protesting in the audience, giving the protesters three warnings to leave the room and break what they called an “unlawful assembly.” Police officers followed protesters outside the room, and a confrontation between police and protesters occurred during which the three students were arrested.
This month’s meeting marks the third consecutive time that a board meeting has been interrupted by protesters.
In January, the board meeting held at UC Riverside was stalled for approximately an hour and later ended in the detainment of three protesters. And at the board’s meeting last November — held across four UC campuses via teleconference — protesters interrupted the meeting at three of the campuses for over half an hour.
According to the UCSF statement, in addition to the above charges, Harkness-Newton was also charged with battery on a peace officer.
Sandoval is being held for two additional charges — using violence to prevent an officer from performing his or her duty and a felony charge, “taking by means of a riot any person from the lawful custody of a peace officer,” the statement reads. He is a graduate student and member of UAW Local 2865 — a union which represents around 12,000 graduate student instructors, readers and tutors.
Harkness-Newton and Sandoval were also among 14 students arrested during a protest last November at UCLA, according to the statement.
Shelby Cohantz, a UC San Diego student, was one of the audience members who spoke before the public comment session ended and watched Deutsch, who is president of UAW 2865, get arrested.
“(Deutsch) was on her way to head down the stairs and (the police) were saying ‘the next person we touch we are gonna arrest,’” Cohantz said. “She wasn’t doing anything wrong … she was standing there trying to slowly move away without touching them.”
The meeting was called back to order by Lansing around 9:55 a.m. and proceeded as scheduled. Later, during the Committee on Finance section of the meeting, Regent Norman Pattiz spoke in support of the student protesters while addressing Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax initiative.
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“The students, some of whom I thought were complete idiots today … were right,” Pattiz said. “If the state does what it always does then then the students will pay … I want to support something that accomplishes what we need to do to address the multitude of challenges we face going forward.”