Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis’s Statement on Recent Campus Protests

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 1, 2024
Contact:, (916) 445-8994


Sacramento – Today, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis released the following statement regarding the recent protests on university campuses in California and last night’s events at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA): 


Recent days and months have been enormously challenging for our public and private universities in California and across the nation, but what happened last night on UCLA’s campus was appalling and heartbreaking.

The right to exercise freedom of expression and to protest nonviolently is essential to our democracy. Indeed, California’s institutions of higher education have a long history of hosting the exchange of opposing viewpoints, and it is our responsibility to facilitate that respectful dialogue.

It is also our responsibility to ensure students are safe on our campuses and can access a quality education. While many have been peaceful in their activism, the actions and language of some have been shocking and abhorrent, creating an environment where students feel threatened and unsafe on our campuses. In some cases, Jewish students have experienced threats and have been blocked from entering school buildings, a situation that is unacceptable for any student. Hate speech, violence, and destruction of school property stand in sharp contrast to our values and have no place on our campuses.”




Eleni Kounalakis is the 50th lieutenant governor of California and the first woman elected to the position. From 2010 to 2013, Kounalakis served as President Obama’s Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary. In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom designated Kounalakis as his Representative for International Affairs and Trade Development and as Chair of the corresponding Interagency Committee that oversees the state’s trade, investment and international relations. Kounalakis is also alternating Chair of the three-member State Lands Commission and a voting member of the University of California Board of Regents, the California State University Board of Trustees, and the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.