UC San Diego cancels Sun God Festival in response to Gaza Solidarity Encampment

UC San Diego cancels Sun God Festival in response to Gaza Solidarity Encampment
Image by Thomas Murphy for The UCSD Guardian

On May 2, at 6:33 p.m., UC San Diego canceled its Sun God Festival due to “ongoing protest activity adjacent to Library Walk,” according to an email sent by the Office of Resource Management and Planning. 

The Sun God Festival is an annual concert run by the Associated Students Concerts & Events. This year’s artists included JPEGMAFIA, Fousheé, William Black, Grantperez, and Frex. This is only the third time Sun God has been canceled since its creation in 1983. It was previously canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our campus security resources that would otherwise be available to ensure the safety and security of the people participating in Sun God must be deployed elsewhere,” the email from campus administration added. 

In spite of the university’s stated reason for canceling the festival, several members of A.S. have rejected this justification. 

“[The cancellation of Sun God] is a clear message meant to pit students against each other and tactic administrators have used for years,” read a letter by written members of A.S. and posted on the A.S. Executive Vice President Instagram and the Students for Justice in Palestine at UCSD’s Instagram accounts. “We stand in solidarity with the students who decide to peacefully protest throughout this time and emphasize that they should not be blamed for the cancellation of the festival.” 

The letter was signed by members of the A.S. cabinet and members of the A.S. Senate, including the Office of the Executive Vice President. A.S. President George Chi Ioi Lo did not sign the letter.

SJP and Jewish Voices for Peace at UCSD responded to the cancellation in a joint statement via an Instagram post.

“As much as students may be frustrated by this decision, this is a decision that was made by campus administration. While we recognize that Sun God is UCSD tradition that the school community looks forward to, SJP and JVP remain firm in our stance that there can be no business as usual in the midst of a genocide,” the post read. 

“The administration’s decision was clearly not made with the student body’s best interest in mind, rather, it was made with the intention of creating division among fellow students in the hopes of shutting down our demonstration,” the post continued.

An anonymous student protestor elaborated on the impact of Sun God’s cancellation on the encampment on May 4 to The UCSD Guardian. 

“There was an escalation by administration by canceling Sun God, and now we have a higher influx of students interested in participating in the liberated zone,” they said. 

Students still attempted to host alternative celebrations. Most notable was “Moon God,” which was set to take place at Gliderport. However, the event was canceled after organizers could not find a new location, as police presence at Gliderport made a festival there impossible, according to a post on the UCSD subreddit.

The Ark Angeles, one of the bands set to perform at Moon God, released a statement on Instagram regarding Moon God’s cancellation. 

“We tried our best to make it happen, but unfortunately we won’t be performing today,” the statement read.

The disappointment at the cancellation of Sun God was not just limited to those of the campus community. Fousheé, one of the artists who was set to perform at the festival, expressed a desire to still make a performance possible in a now deleted tweet.

“just hearing abt ucsd sun fest getting canceled bc of protests. if you’re a student there hit me maybe we can still make this happen somehow…,” the tweet read.

Additionally, many students on the UCSD subreddit have stated their disagreement with the premise that the festival was canceled because there would not be enough security. 

“The goal is to separate us but as a student body we should go back up [the protestors] Saturday to stand in solidarity if possible,” a viral reddit post read.

“I do not trust the university’s rationale for the cancellation. Security is a very large portion of the Sun God Festival budget and the protestors have not remotely exhibited any threats to safety,” Eleanor Roosevelt College sophomore Shyan Khan said. “There is no reason why the student body would not have been able to enjoy their Sun God.” 

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Carter Castillo
Carter Castillo, News Editor
Second year Comparative Politics Major and passionate student journalist. Proud owner of a 2012 Toyota Prius.
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Thomas Murphy, Co-Webmaster & Associate Photo Editor
I work on the website and take-a the pretty pictures
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