Reactions to Attack on Chancellor's House

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The following are statements issued or comments made by various officials and community members regarding the Dec. 11 attack on UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau's campus house. Additional statements may be added as they become available. Click here for the full article on the incident.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau: These are criminals, not activists. The attack at our home was extraordinarily frightening and violent. My wife and I genuinely feared for our lives. The people involved in this action will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I want to emphasize that they represent an extreme minority of our students.

Callie Maidhof, student organizer for "Live Week": Regardless of what one thinks about the events of last night, the minor vandalism that occurred cannot be viewed outside the context of the physical violence inflicted by police on student activists and the broader assault on public education.

UC President Mark Yudof: The attack on Chancellor Birgeneau's residence late last night was appalling. The behavior as described went far beyond the boundaries of public dissent, and such lawlessness cannot be tolerated. I have spoken with the Chancellor to express my support. The matter is now appropriately in the hands of law enforcement authorities.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger: California will not tolerate any type of terrorism against any leaders including educators. The attack on Chancellor Birgeneau's home is a criminal act and those who participated will be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law. Debate is the foundation of democracy and I encourage protestors to find peaceful and productive ways to express their opinions.

UCPD Chief Mitch Celaya: This violent attack directed at the Chancellor at his home was nothing less than a cowardly terrorist act that can not be tolerated. I am extremely disappointed that any student would take part in such a reprehensible and senseless act of violence. UCPD is aggressively investigating this attack and although we arrested 8 individuals we will not be satisfied until we have identified all that participated in this attack and that all be held accountable for their criminal actions. I hope the campus community responds loudly to condemn this attack and like behavior, but more importantly that community members who have knowledge of individuals who participated in this attack will not stand idle but will contact UCPD with this information. Individuals may call 642-6760 or if they wish to report anonymously out of fear of retaliation can report information via CalTIP located on our website:

UC Berkeley Spokesperson Dan Mogulof: This is what it looks like when a student group gets hijacked by extreme and violent elements in its ranks. There is no place in our community for such extremism. They now need to decide which path they will take going forward. ... If they elect to continue on this path of violence and extremism, we will spare no effort to identify and remove them from our community.

UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Harry Le Grande: It is unfortunate that a relatively small group of individuals decided to target the Chancellor's home. He is one of the key supporters of access and education and has spoken publicly about it. Civil disobedience has a history in the US, but with it comes responsibility for the consequences of your actions. In a time of cutbacks and limited resources I am concerned about the physical and financial costs to staff and others in managing the aftermath of these actions.

Christopher Kutz, chair of UC Berkeley division of the Academic Senate: The Academic Senate unequivocally condemns the violent acts against the Chancellor's residence on Friday evening. At a moment when we desperately need thoughtful dialogue and analysis as we attempt to grapple with the deep problems facing our university and our state, we are saddened and horrified that individuals would turn to violent confrontation instead. Our university is grounded in a commitment to respect for each other's rights and capacity for reason -- a principle that was betrayed on Friday. Perhaps the shock of Friday night's events can help us all to turn back from the path of confrontation, to realize that we must solve our problems together.

SAVE the University Coordinating Council: We on the coordinating council of SAVE condemn acts of violence taken against persons or property on our campus. We were shocked by police violence on campus a few weeks ago, and we are extremely saddened by the attack upon the Chancellor's residence by a small group of protesters yesterday night. This is our campus by virtue of our shared responsibility to the rights of free speech and personal safety for all. Actions that address the terrible crisis we currently face through violence are in our view fundamentally at odds with our goal of protecting and enhancing public education as itself a fundamental public right. As we have noted, there are reasons for feelings of shock, dismay, and sadness in response to events of the past weeks, but we ask the campus community, as we ask ourselves, to consider deeply what violence means on and around our campus. We urge peaceful discussion, debate, and negotiation as we try to work through the problems facing UC and beyond. The question of violence itself should be part of these discussions, as should ways to address the corrosive divisions felt by many across campus.

ASUC President Will Smelko: Violence and criminal activities on this campus directed to the destruction of property or personal injury are unjustifiable and inexcusable. Creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation is not supportable or supported by Cal students who care deeply about our own education and about preserving educational opportunities of future generations of Cal students. Violence and criminal behavior is not the Cal way, and repression of the educational experience of all students by an aberrant few is an affront to the values of free speech and academic independence that have long been the pillars upon which our University is built. I ask each of you to please take a step back, think about the personal and human consequences of your actions and ignore the demands of those who would incite more violence. Avenues exist for all who wish to peacefully express their frustrations with the funding and operational management of our University, but violence and criminal misconduct is counterproductive to the overall objective of increasing access to affordable and world class public educational opportunity.


Contact Tomer Ovadia at [email protected]

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