Asian American Studies Department Solidarity Statement

We, the undersigned faculty of the UCLA Asian American Studies Department, express our outrage over the series of events that have occurred over the past week, including the university administration’s declaring of the peaceful student protest “unlawful” and “unauthorized” and the subsequent failure to protect UCLA students within the encampment from violent attacks from outside agitators on multiple nights, culminating on the night of April 30, 2024. 

We also denounce Chancellor Gene Block’s decision to call in the LAPD, CHP, and LA Sheriff’s Department to disband the Palestine Solidarity Encampment on the night of May 1, 2024, which resulted in the use of rubber bullets, batons, and flashbang grenades against our students, as well as the detainment and arrests of at least 200 peaceful protestors. Last night our campus felt like a militarized war zone, akin to, but by no means equivalent to, what Palestinians have endured for decades. We object in the strongest possible terms to all of these actions, which are not reflective of the values of our campus community and of academic freedom more generally.

As faculty, our utmost commitment is to the safety and well-being of our students.  We strongly condemn the attacks on our students, from outside agitators as well as UC-condoned police forces.  We echo UCLA Faculty for Justice in Palestine’s demand for full legal, academic and disciplinary amnesty for all protesters.  We call upon UCLA to stand up for the safety and the rights of the campus community by honoring the students’ constitutional right to peacefully protest without fear of punishment. We insist upon a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Block for endangering our students.  

Asian American Studies is rooted in a rich tradition of student protest against war, imperialism, racism, settler colonialism, and police violence in the United States, its territories, and abroad. The Palestine Solidarity Encampment is part of a longer history of student activism at UCLA, which includes protests against the US War in Southeast Asia and an international campaign that boycotted the apartheid state in South Africa. Like our students, we too are horrified and grief-stricken by the rising death toll in Gaza.  We echo and uplift our students’ demands that UCLA disclose its investments and divest from the US-backed genocide against Palestinians.  

Asian American Studies is indebted to student voices and protests. Given our history, we stand committed to the First Amendment right of free speech and the right for our students to exercise their free speech, safely and without fear of retaliation. We are horrified by the acts of violence committed against our students who are continuing a long legacy of demanding social change. We support student-led efforts that advance human rights and social justice.



Victor Bascara, Associate Professor

Lucy Burns, Associate Professor

Keith L. Camacho, Professor and Chair

Jolie Chea, Assistant Professor

King-Kok Cheung, Professor Emeritus

Jennifer Jihye Chun, Associate Professor

Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi, Associate Professor

Grace Kyungwon Hong, Professor 

Nour Joudah, Assistant Professor

Purnima Mankekar, Professor

Valerie Matsumoto, Professor

Natalie Masuoka, Associate Professor

Thu-huong Nguyen-vo, Professor

Kyeyoung Park, Professor 

Loubna Qutami, Assistant Professor

Cindy C. Sangalang, Assistant Professor

Renee Tajima-Peña, Professor

Karen Umemoto, Professor

Lee Ann Wang, Assistant Professor