Protest Against Suspension of Berkeley Professor Ivonne del Valle Delays Start of Cal vs USC Football Game

Image via user Roger4336


By Gabby Annicchario

BERKELEY— On Saturday, Oct 28 a group of fifteen demonstrators led a sit-in at the 50-yard line at Memorial Stadium at the Cal vs USC football game to protest the suspension of Berkeley professor Ivonne del Valle. 


The protestors said they would shut down the Cal vs USC game if del Valle was not reinstated by Oct 27. When the university took no action to reinstate del Valle, around 50 people turned out at the football stadium spreading awareness by handing out flyers and chanting. 


As the game was about to begin a group of 30 demonstrators attempted to run onto the field. Only 15 made it to the center of the field where they sat for around 10 minutes. Some of the protestors were wearing shirts with “Justice4Ivonne” written on them. When police asked the protestors to leave and they refused, all 15 except for one minor were arrested and taken to Santa Rita Jail on charges of trespass.

The sit-in followed months of protests starting in August this year, surrounding the professor’s suspension in the fall of 2021. Del Valle, an associate professor in the Spanish and Portuguese department specializing in colonial studies since 2009, was suspended in 2021 for claims made against her for stalking. 


Del Valle’s suspension came after three investigations were made into her behavior by the UC Berkeley Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination. They found substantive evidence that del Valle had violated the university’s behavioral guidelines in stalking and harassing UC Davis professor Joshua Clover. Her case may be brought to the Privilege and Tenure Committee and she may lose her tenure and job as a professor. 


The students protesting believe that the evidence against del Valle isn’t enough to warrant her suspension, as they perceive her actions to be out of self-defense. Students, especially those who have taken a class with del Valle, view her as a valuable teacher and mentor – someone professional and committed to student learning. As del Valle works closely with graduate students and is the main voice of colonial studies on campus, student protestors want her to be reinstated urgently. 


With videos of the protest posted on social media, there were false claims made on Twitter that the group’s organization was caused by the Israel-Hamas war. These claims were proven false. 


The Justice 4 Ivonne coalition has an Instagram page and website where they post upcoming events as well as student testimonies and letters of support. The coalition has no plans of stopping its efforts and according to KQED, they are planning an upcoming hunger strike if del Valle is not reinstated soon. 

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