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Chancellor Leland Statement on Protest Incidents

November 20, 2011

Chancellor Dorothy Leland of the University of California, Merced, has issued the following statement on recent protest incidents at other UC campuses:

Free speech and nonviolent protest have an honored place in American society and on college and university campuses. In light of recent incidents on several sister University of California campuses, I met last week with senior leadership to review our protocol for managing protests on campus and to plan for a campus teach-in related to the concerns of the Occupy movement.

In 1962, President Kennedy famously said, ‘Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.’ I have made it very clear to UC Merced personnel that I will neither order nor condone police aggression or force during a protest on campus in the absence of an imminent and substantial threat of harm to persons or property.

Regardless of your political views, I call on every member of the university community to honor our country’s tradition of nonviolent protest and free speech. As stated in our campus’ Principles of Community, ‘We are a community comprised of individuals with multiple cultures, lifestyles and beliefs. We celebrate this diversity for the breadth of ideas and perspectives it brings.’”