Tuesday, April 28, 2015

UCSC Students Occupy Stevenson Cafe to Expunge Rapist at Activists IN! Rapists OUT! Rally

Students at UC Santa Cruz occupied the Stevenson Coffee House for a short period of time on April 27 to expose a person they say is a known rapist who is presently employed at the business. The small cafe, which is privately owned and operated under a lease with the university, is located within Stevenson College on the east side of the UCSC campus. The person who they say raped at least two students was not in the coffee house at the time the group marched inside. They had first assembled in Quarry Plaza for an "Activists IN! Rapists OUT!" rally.

Students announced the intention of the Activists IN! Rapists OUT! rally as follows:

"The University of California is targeting and repressing student activists as “threats to the health and safety” of the community, while protecting students who repeatedly rape and sexually assault our fellow slugs. 6 students are facing unprecedented sanctions (suspension until September 1, 2016, 100-120 hours of community service, and a stayed suspension once they return to campus) for nonviolent, civil disobedience off-campus in protest of the tuition hikes and police brutality. In addition, a number of students have faced university repression for taking nonviolent action to call for the removal a well-known rapist from an off-campus benefit for the 6. Simultaneously, UCSC has come under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for their mishandling of rape and other sexual violence cases. The University has created a climate where students cannot take any kind of action -- against sexual violence, against tuition hikes, against state violence -- without facing University repression and indifference to their calls. WE ARE CALLING for a community-based response, one that directly fights back against university repression and sexual assault, while building a broader understanding and awareness of the university's role in perpetuating sexual violence and other systems of oppression."

On the UC Santa Cruz website, the page for Stevenson Coffee House states: "This restaurant is not managed by UC Santa Cruz Dining. Please contact this location directly with your questions and/or concerns." Several students said they contacted the coffee shop's owner and manager, John J. Hadley, prior to the protest to complain about the individual in question, but that Hadley was unresponsive. Hadley, who also owns and manages the Cowell Coffee Shop, was working behind the counter of the cafe as students held the rally inside.

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