19 protesting UC Irvine students and sympathizers charged

December 9
Criminal disorderly conduct charges were filed Thursday against 19 students and sympathizers who staged a noisy protest at UC Irvine back in February when they rushed in an administration building and camped outside the chancellor’s office yelling slogans.

The protesters were charged with a variety of infractions from disturbing the peace to false imprisonment. All but four of the protesters were identified as UCI students.

On Feb. 24, many of the protesters made their way to the fifth floor of Aldrich Hall chanting outside the chancellor’s office, yelling slogans, blowing whistles and pounding on the walls and floors, according to a spokesperson for the Orange County district attorney’s office.

More than 400 university employees were evacuated from the building because of the protest, prosecutors said. The protesters initially had refused to leave the building but eventually dispersed, prosecutors said.

While students and others gathered outside the chancellor’s office, two other students allegedly pushed a Dumpster against one set of doors to the building, preventing workers from leaving, prosecutors said. One of the students is also accused of pushing a Dumpster into the street, clogging traffic.

The protest was apparently in support of campus janitors who wanted to be hired by the university rather than work as contract employees. The disruption came at a time when some student groups were also angered by fee increases.

Those charged in the campus disruption were identified as:

Moosa Matt Azadian, 21, Anaheim; Rachel Denice Burton, 21, Irvine; Juan Antonio Castillo, 48, Santa Ana; Fernando Chirino, 28, Irvine; Ryan Sinclaire Davis, 22, Santa Ana; Saron Ephraim, 22, Tustin; Sandra Flores, 20, Irvine; Dennis Lopez, 32, Irvine; Evangelina Nevarez, 36, Los Angeles; Sylvia Van Pham, 22, Fountain Valley; Celene Perez, 28, Los Angeles; Whitney Lauren Shepard, 22, Irvine;  Indar Smith, 22, Irvine; Aida Belaynes Soloman, 21, Irvine; Irendeep Kaur Srai, 22, Irvine; Samiyyah Jowharah Tillman, 22, Irvine; John Bruning, 24, Santa Ana; James Eric Lagergren, 23, Irvine; and Eric Kitayama, 26, Anaheim Hills.

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