Students stand in solidarity with Palestine

Following UCSD’s dismantling of Gaza Solidarity Encampment, students stage protests, walk-outs, and no-confidence votes
Students stand in solidarity with Palestine
Image by Thomas Murphy for The UCSD Guardian

At approximately 5:40 a.m. on May 6, San Diego Police officers in riot gear stormed the Gaza Solidarity Encampment. In the following hours, an estimated 64 protesters from the encampment were arrested. 

“The decision to vacate the site was based on danger arising from a prolonged event in terms of health, fire, safety and security,” read an email sent by Executive Director of Internal Communications Laura Margonia.

In response to the arrests and UC San Diego’s decision to dismantle the encampment, a group of protestors gathered outside the Price Center in an attempt to prevent sending those arrested away in buses. They were met with armed law enforcement, who pepper-sprayed some protestors and struck others with batons. 

In response to administrative and police actions against the encampment, students and different organizations led protests of historical proportions between May 7 and May 10. In addition, many student organizations have released statements condemning UCSD’s decision to remove the encampment and meet protestors with force. 

The United Auto Workers Union, Students for Justice in Palestine, and Jewish Voices for Peace were among the organizing collectives. 

UAW Protest at Geisel Library: 

At 6 p.m. on May 7, United Auto Workers Local 4811 members rallied in front of Geisel Library in solidarity with the UCSD and UCLA students, faculty, and union members who participated in the pro-Palestine encampments and faced armed police responses during the past week. 

Prior to the rally, the union announced a Strike Authorization Vote and scheduled it to be held online from May 13 to May 15. If passed, the vote will authorize the UAW 4811 Executive Board to call for a member-wide strike and abstention from academic work. The gathering was organized in an attempt to rally union members to vote ‘yes’ on the upcoming SAV.

“UCSD had the opportunity to learn and not repeat UCLA’s mistakes. They had multiple days to see a peaceful encampment be on campus and be non-disruptive. But did they listen? A campus that’s meant for education and learning was turned into a warzone. For what? Peaceful protesters demanding justice from their university,” a graduate student in the computer science department and academic student employee unit chair for UAW 4811, said as the rally began.

“An injury to one is an injury to all. One for all and all for one,” attendees chanted. “Money for jobs and education, not for cops and occupation,” they continued.

A total of seven union-affiliated speakers participated in the rally. Three of them wore keffiyehs while speaking. 

Several of the speakers’ messages were directed at Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, who currently faces calls for resignation from various student and faculty collectives, including the UCSD Ethnic Studies department and Faculty for Justice in Palestine.

“Chancellor Khosla, he made a terrible error … Typical. He tore down, he destroyed the camp but he could not destroy what was created at that camp, which was community and a new way of thinking,” Susan, a union member and active member of JVP said. 

“Not in my name, not in our name,” she continued.

Student Walkouts:

In one of the largest demonstrations in UCSD history, over one thousand students walked out of class on May 8 at 12:05 p.m. to march in solidarity with Palestinians and to protest UCSD’s call to dismantle the Gaza Solidarity Encampment and the university’s continued fiscal support of Israel.  

“UC San Diego, we know which side you’re on. Remember South Africa, remember Vietnam,” protestors chanted. “UCSD paints it red, over 40,000 dead.”

Protesters continued chanting as they made their way through Sixth College, then down Library Walk, where the encampment formerly stood. As the group gathered at Matthews Quad, several speakers called attention to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and UCSD’s response to recent student protests. Speakers included incoming A.S. President Leslie Vallejo-Avila, MEChA, JVP, and SJP representatives. Many called for Chancellor Khosla’s resignation.

Associated Students Senate Action Items

The Associated Students Senate unanimously passed a resolution titled “Resolution Condemning Administrative Campus Action and Introducing a Vote of No Confidence on Chancellor Khosla” at approximately 7:35 p.m. on May 8. The 27-0 vote came in response to the use of force witnessed on campus on May 6, when riot police dismantled the Gaza Solidarity Encampment. 

The resolution demands that the “University must engage in retroactive justice and prioritize the well-being of our campus community.” It also calls on campus administrators to “establish meaningful dialogue in negotiations with the designated negotiators of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment.”

The resolution also implies that the passed document will be sent to UC President Michael Drake along with additional leadership, including the UC Chair of the Board of Regents and Alumni Regents.

The resolution has received signatories from over 30 current faculty members, more than 30 student organizations, 12 ASUCSD/Campus supporters, and several alumni. Senator Génesis López Morales is the official sponsor of the passed resolution.

A.S. also unanimously approved a “Resolution Calling for the Boycott of Study Abroad Programs in Israel” and a “Request for Administrative Meeting with Associated Students Representatives Regarding On-Campus Actions.” Both resolutions passed with 26-0-2 and 28-0-0 votes, respectively.

Walkout to Chancellor Khosla’s house:

On May 10, JVP and the UCSD Divest Coalition held a faculty and student-led walkout, starting with a press conference at Sixth College Lawn at approximately 11:33 a.m.

The first speaker, who was anonymous, restated the protesters’ demands. Afterward, he recalled the activities of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment.

“For five days, we saw our students join together in song, in dance, in prayer, in learning, in protest,” he stated. “We saw our students do what the UCSD administration has been unwilling to do before and after October 7, interrogate and disrupt the university’s complicity in the genocide of the indigenous people of Palestine.”

The press conference continued with UCSD lecturer Leslie Meyer, who highlighted UCSD’s history of successful social movements. Members of Healthcare Workers for Palestine described their experience as medics in the encampment and brought attention to the conditions of nurses and doctors in Palestine. The last speaker directed the crowd to begin marching toward Khosla’s residence. 

Protesters marched along Scholars Drive and down Torrey Pines North.

“Louder, louder, say it more. Not a conflict, not a war,” protestors chanted. “From the river to the sea, end UC complicity.”

Entering the residential area, the protesting crowd advanced towards Khosla’s house. They were met with passing cars and residents voicing their disapproval. 

“Is this really necessary?” an unidentified resident asked. Protesters did not engage.

As the group arrived at Khosla’s home, five speakers continued with speeches, including members of JVP and UAW, and Scripps professor Brad Werner. 

Afterward, the crowd circled back to campus, marching along Muir Lane. Students in nearby residential halls chanted along with protesters, holding signs and keffiyehs from their dormitory windows.

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About the Contributors
Carter Castillo
Carter Castillo, News Editor
Second year Comparative Politics Major and passionate student journalist. Proud owner of a 2012 Toyota Prius.
Natalia Montero Acevedo, Associate News Editor
A Political Science major, Natalia Montero loves to engage with on-site reporting to connect with communities’ affairs. Be warned, she will bombard you with random facts about whatever book she’s currently reading. She will also make sure to bring up The Sound of Music, Mitski, and Roger Deakins’ or Justine Triet’s work in whatever conversation she’s in.
Vivian Dueker
Vivian Dueker, Features Editor
California native and avid rock climber, Vivian pursues her interest in the social sciences through investigative articles on student-centered issues.
Thomas Murphy
Thomas Murphy, Co-Webmaster & Associate Photo Editor
I work on the website and take-a the pretty pictures
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