UCLA introduces new 'Campus Safety' office following reports of 'security lapses'

UCLA on Sunday revealed it has created a new "Office of Campus Safety" a day after some blamed school administrators for the "lack of response" to violence that broke out at pro-Palestine student protests on the Westwood campus last week. 

"In the past week, our campus has been shaken by events that have disturbed this sense of safety and strained trust within our community. In light of this, both UCLA and the UC Office of the President have committed to a thorough investigation of our security processes. But one thing is already clear: To best protect our community moving forward, urgent changes are needed in how we administer safety operations," UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement released Sunday. 

Effective immediately, the new Office of Campus Safety leader, Rick Braziel - who reports directly to Block - will take over duties from the Office of the Administrative Vice Chancellor to oversee and manage UCLA PD and the Office of Emergency Management.

RELATED: Private security worker raises concerns over handling of UCLA encampment violence

Braziel's experience includes more than 30 years of public safety service, including five years as the chief of the Sacramento Police Department, Block said. 

Braziel will partner with a newly-created "formal advisory group," which will include UC Davis Chief of Police and Coordinator of the Council of UC Chiefs of Police Joe Farrow.

"I am confident that AVC Braziel, in partnership with this advisory group, will provide effective new leadership of our safety and emergency management operations," Block said.
"The well-being of our students, faculty and staff is paramount. These actions are essential for creating a secure environment where everyone at UCLA can confidently pursue their studies and careers."

RELATED: UCLA protest: Over 200 arrested as pro-Palestine encampment cleared

The announcement comes after the union that represents police officers at University of California schools pointed the finger at UCLA administrators for the "lack of response" to last week's violence.

"UC administrators are solely responsible for the University’s response to campus protests, and they own all the fallout from those responses," Wade Stern, President of the Federated University Police Officers Association, said in a press release Saturday.

The union alleged that, according to policy, each UC school is responsible for establishing a task force that would respond to student protests on campus, but that those teams haven't been trained since 2020, "as the UC and their campuses have not funded any training."

Hundreds of pro-Palestine demonstrators began camping out on UCLA's campus in Royce Quad last week, demanding, in-part, that the university divest from "companies and institutions that are complicit in the Israeli occupation, apartheid, and genocide of the Palestinian people."

RELATED: Private security worker raises concerns over handling of UCLA encampment violence

Early Wednesday morning, pro-Israel counterprotesters attacked the encampment. Fireworks were shot at demonstrators and objects were thrown. FOX 11 was on the scene during the attack, with video showing law enforcement standing by while the attacks continued. Police in riot gear did not move in until hours later.

Just over 24 hours after the attack on the encampment, law enforcement moved in and cleared it. More than 200 protesters were arrested.

All classes, work, and events at UCLA resume in person Monday.