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UC San Diego student workers accused of assault on the chancellor

A group of UC San Diego graduate and postgraduate student workers, along with some of their supporters, are facing allegations of assault against the university’s chancellor, Pradeep K. Khosla.

The charges come from a deep-rooted contract dispute that led to a demonstration in May.

Student workers who are members of the UAW Local 2865 captured cellphone video of what they say happened during a UCSD alumni event on May 5 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. The group interrupted the event where Khosla was speaking.


“Everything that I saw from my position in the audience indicated this was a peaceful action," said Alex Wenzel, a student researcher who was there to document what was supposed to be a peaceful protest. "The chancellor did stand up on stage with the group but eventually decided of his own accord to leave," he added. "So allegations that he was pushed off the stage are not true and are (not) borne out in the video."

Pradeep K. Khosla has been Chancellor of UC San Diego since 2012. This is an undated head shot provided by the university.<br/>
Courtesy of UC San Diego
Pradeep K. Khosla, pictured in this undated headshot, has been Chancellor of UC San Diego since 2012.

University administrators don’t see it that way. UC San Diego’s Office of Student Conduct has launched investigations into Wenzel’s actions and the actions of 66 other student employees who supported the demonstration that day.

The union has now identified 23 of those employees who were not at the event and were still charged by the university.

Each of them will be given an individual hearing on charges of physical assault, threatening the health and safety of a person, and obstruction of university activities.

That includes Ahmed Allibhoy and Maya Gosztyla, who are union stewards with the UAW Local 2865. The union represented student workers in their contract negotiations with UCSD and the other University of California campuses.


Contracts were ratified in late December following a historic strike that lasted over a month. But, since then, the union members claim that the UC administration has not followed through on many of the contract requirements.

“I think the administration is trying to target us and basically scare us into silence. They don’t want to fix the issue, and so they think by filing charges against us we’re going to be scared into not to continue organizing to fix the issue," Allibhoy said.

The Museum of Contemporary Art hosted the UC San Diego alumni event disrupted by protestors, on May 5, 2023, in La Jolla, Calif.
M.G. Perez / KPBS
The Museum of Contemporary Art hosted the UC San Diego alumni event disrupted by protesters on May 5 in La Jolla.

Gosztyla had more to say about what happened during the May 5 demonstration.

"I honestly thought it (the charges) was a mistake when I saw it. There was no contact of any kind, and certainly no physical assault. There is no involvement of the police. So UC is the prosecutor and the judge in this case," she said.

Khosla has not commented on the demonstration.

In a written statement, UC San Diego said that its Office of Student Conduct investigates students and student organizations whenever there is a report of misconduct, and that students get multiple opportunities to tell their side of the story.

"If unions or individual union members believe that the university is not in compliance with its contractual commitments, collective bargaining agreements establish orderly processes to file grievances and have them adjudicated," the statement said. "Calculated disruption of official university business is never appropriate," it concluded.

UAW has released a statement including the students' account of the events.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with information from UAW about students it says were not present at the protest but who are also charged.