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UCSD students establish pro-Palestine encampment on campus

Students at UC San Diego established a "Gaza Solidarity" encampment on the campus' Library Walk today, while University of San Diego students led a "Requiem For the Dead and Dying in Gaza" memorial, joining dozens of universities around the world where students maintain pro- Palestinian sites.

The UCSDivest Coalition, organizers of the encampment campaign, is calling on UCSD to "end their silence and publicly condemn the destruction of over 80% of schools and all 12 universities in Gaza in a systematic dismantling of infrastructure that UN experts have termed scholasticide," a statement from the organization reads.

"As a Jewish American student, I stand with the many Jewish, Palestinian and people of all backgrounds that demand divestment from the occupation and genocide of the Palestinian people," said Rachel, an undergraduate majoring in biological anthropology. "We are inspired by the Black civil rights movement, the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam — to repair the world — to call for a free Palestine.


"The chancellor and university admin want us to stay silent — not for the benefit of humanity but for the benefit of their own pockets. The call for divestment is now. The call to end to complicity is now," she continued.

UC San Diego's Associated Students passed a resolution last month calling for divestment. The university rejected that call, 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."

The UCSDivest Coalition is specifically calling on the university to issue a statement affirming the right of Palestinian people "to live in freedom and safety in their indigenous homeland" and condemn the actions of Israel, and offer amnesty for all associated with the encampment.

They also want a campus-wide boycott of institutional and research partnerships with Department of Defense contractors, companies named by the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement and "all Israeli companies, universities, and government agencies.

UCSD Hillel, a Jewish campus organization, posted on Instagram calling for the safety of Jewish students.


"Jewish students should be able to express their Jewish identities and support for the Jewish state without fear, in a learning environment free of hostility," the organization's post read. "As always, we are resilient in the face of these challenges. Our doors are always open, and we will continue to serve as a safe space for Jewish students."

UC San Diego's chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla released a statement stating the encampment "is in violation of campus policy."

"UC San Diego fully supports the right to peacefully protest and express views on campus; however, we are also fully committed to protecting the physical safety of all individuals in our community and upholding the rights of all students, faculty and staff to continue to work, study and carry out the academic mission of the university without undue disruption," the statement read.

It concluded with a reminder that violating campus policy can result in interim suspension, suspension, dismissal or legal action.

At USD, the campus' Palestine Solidarity Committee led the requiem, and while it did not issue any demands as such, organizers said they wanted to show solidarity and "challenge false narratives."

Wednesday's protest actions come a day after hundreds of San Diego State University students staged a walkout with demands for the university to sever financial ties with Israel amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

That 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. Tuesday at Hepner Hall followed by a march through campus at 2:30 p.m.

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 called on SDSU President Adela De La Torre "to acknowledge the genocide and discrimination on campus."

SDSU addressed Tuesday's walkout with the following 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.

Signs outside the "Gaza Solidarity" encampment at UC San Diego read "Free Palestine" and "UC tuition funds genocide." La Jolla, Calif. May 1, 2024.
M.G. Perez
Signs outside the "Gaza Solidarity" encampment at UC San Diego read "Free Palestine" and "UC tuition funds genocide." La Jolla, Calif. May 1, 2024.

"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."

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

Protests also continued Wednesday 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.