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San Diego State University students stage walkout, call to divest from Israel

Mirroring actions that have occurred at campuses across the country, hundreds of San Diego State University students staged a walkout Tuesday with demands for the university to sever financial ties with Israel amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

The action, organized by Students for Justice in Palestine at SDSU, San Diego 4 Palestine Coalition and SDSU's Middle Eastern and North African Student Union, began at 1:30 p.m. at Hepner Hall followed by a march through campus at 2:30 p.m.

San Diego State University is among a growing list of campuses nationwide where pro-Palestinian demonstrations have taken place, with protesters demanding higher education institutions divest from companies supporting Israel.


A social media post circulated by the student groups said that among other demands, they want SDSU to "divest financially from Israel's war on Gaza and occupation in Palestine." They area also calling on SDSU President Adela De La Torre "to acknowledge the genocide and discrimination on campus."

Regarding Tuesday's walkout, SDSU said in a statement, "As a public university, and as aligned with our institutional values, San Diego State University must allow for constitutionally protected free speech and an individual's right to acts of peaceful protest.

"As a diverse campus community, this also means that those within our campus community will have varying values, ideas and points of view. We both expect and encourage all those within our campus community to engage in respectful conversations and interactions, as detailed in SDSU's Principles of Community. SDSU does not accept any instance of harassment or discrimination. Additionally, university safety professionals and administrators from the division of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity continue to be in contact with members of our Jewish, Islamic, Arab, and Palestinian communities, in addition to other campus community members.

"We strongly encourage all who choose to gather to adhere to laws and university policies. Additional information on the university's policies related to the exercise of free speech are outlined on SDSU's dedicated free speech webpage.

While there were no reports of violence emerging from the walkout by mid-afternoon, a local law enforcement presence was formed.


The San Diego County Sheriff's Department said it sent deputies to the campus to serve as backup for SDSU police if needed, while the San Diego Police Department had its Mobile Field Force — which responds to incidents such as protests, mass casualty incidents and fire/flood related evacuations — on standby.

Elsewhere, UC San Diego's Associated Students passed a resolution last month calling for divestment, which the university opposed, stating "the resolution does not align with the position of UC San Diego, which like the University of California and the other nine UC campuses, has consistently opposed calls for a boycott against and divestment from Israel."

Protests also continued Tuesday at USC and UCLA, with encampments formed by protesters who have vowed to occupy public spaces on campus until their demands are met. Protest encampments also emerged Monday at UC Irvine and UC Riverside.