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The University of California, Los Angeles has reassigned Chief of Police John Thomas as they begin an investigation into campus security protocol in response to days-long anti-Israel protests in April. Thomas has been temporarily replaced by Capt. Gawin Gibson while the university evaluates its response to the ongoing protests that have continued into the month of May. Students have remained defiant to university administrators in their disruptive protests against Israel’s actions in response to terrorist attacks by Hamas.

UCLA has established a new administrative office to lead the investigation into security failures throughout the campus protests. The university has also been forced to move to remote learning amid the protests and encampment on campus. The creation of the Office of Campus Safety aims to enhance the safety and wellbeing of the UCLA community. Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications Mary Osako stated that the university is taking a thorough examination of its security processes to ensure the safety of the campus community.

Throughout the protests, UCLA attempted to provide space for the demonstrators while maintaining a peaceful campus environment that respects freedom of expression and minimizes disruption. At the peak of the demonstrations, protesters erected fencing to keep law enforcement out, leading to the entire student body transitioning to remote learning. UCLA followed University of California systemwide policy guidance, which directs campuses not to preemptively request law enforcement involvement and to do so only if necessary to protect the physical safety of the campus community.

On April 30, following a nine-hour standoff on campus, hundreds of protesters were ultimately arrested. The protests, which began in response to Israel’s invasion of Gaza, prompted a security evaluation at UCLA, leading to the reassignment of Chief John Thomas and the appointment of Capt. Gawin Gibson as interim police chief. The university continues to investigate security failures during the protests and has taken steps to ensure the safety and well-being of the campus community.

The ongoing protests have sparked discussions about freedom of expression and campus security protocols at UCLA. The university’s response to the anti-Israel demonstrations has drawn attention to the balance between allowing peaceful protests and maintaining a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff. The establishment of the new Office of Campus Safety reflects UCLA’s commitment to addressing security concerns and enhancing safety measures on campus.

As the investigation into campus security protocol continues, UCLA is working to address the challenges presented by the protests and prevent future disruptions on campus. The university remains committed to creating a campus environment that fosters free expression while ensuring the safety and well-being of all members of the UCLA community. The reassignment of Chief John Thomas and the appointment of Capt. Gawin Gibson signal the university’s dedication to evaluating and improving its security processes in response to recent events.

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