Pentagon lists UC protest as a "credible threat"

TO: UC Santa Cruz Colleagues

FROM: Denice D. Denton, Chancellor and David S. Kliger, Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

We are writing to provide an update on the Pentagon’s listing of a UCSC protest as a “credible threat.” (For a complete listing of correspondence and news reports
about this issue, please see

Following correspondence from the campus askingmembers of Congress to investigate the TALON listing, Senator Barbara Boxer convened a meeting in her Washington, D.C. office on Tuesday, January 31. Participants, besides Senator Boxer, were Chancellor Denice Denton; Lt. Col. Gary Tesut, representing the Pentagon; staff representing Senator Dianne Feinstein; staff from Senator Boxer’s office; and UC staff.

Discussion explicitly addressed the unacceptability of a UCSC event being listed – and, in fact, Senator Boxer agreed with Chancellor Denton in expressing great disapproval of the creation and maintenance of any such lists, noting the echoes of McCarthyism in actions of that type. In addition, questions to Lt. Col. Testut probed the reasons why the UCSC event was listed and the methods used to obtain information about the event.

The outcome of that discussion and a subsequent conversation between Chancellor Denton and Senator Feinstein later that same day is summarized in a letter jointly signed by Senators Boxer and Feinstein (

Key points in the letter include the following.

— The April 5, 2005 event at the University has been removed from the TALON database.

— Department of Defense regulations forbid retaining information on Americans engaged in constitutionally-protected activities.

— Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen A. Cambone has initiated a comprehensive review of the TALON program to determine if Department of Defense officials violated any regulations governing domestic counterintelligence efforts.

In closing, we want to reiterate that we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that First Amendment rights are protected on this campus and in our country. We have zero tolerance for violence and incivility, but we vigorously support free expressions of opinions, including dissent. Such expressions are hallmarks of a democratic society and are integral to our vital teaching and learning community.

UC Santa Cruz. Thinking at the Edge.

Elizabeth M. Irwin
Co-Vice Chancellor, University Relations (Interim)

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