UCSD protests continue with walkout, call for UC system to divest from Israel

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

3,800 faculty members signed a statement saying they “were shocked and outraged by UCSD’s decision to send riot police to arrest protesters on May 6.

SAN DIEGO — UC San Diego students and faculty staged a walkout Friday to protest what they described as a “violent” dismantling earlier this week of a Gaza Solidarity Encampment on campus.

The walkout, organized in part by the Healthcare Workers for Palestine San Diego Chapter, saw more than 100 members of the UCSD community chant and march to Chancellor Pradeep Khosla’s home off campus. Many wore keffiyehs or academic dress and carried signs calling on the university to sever financial ties with Israel.

BT Werner, one of two professors arrested on misdemeanor charges Monday, spoke in front of the chancellor’s home.

“What professor could see their students who have been struggling for justice 24/7 come under attack and not stand with them,” said Werner.  “I am asking my colleagues at UCSD to join us here as we stand shoulder to shoulder with our students, while they show us the way to contribute to the fight to end the genocide in Gaza, and for a free Palestine.”

The other UC San Diego professor arrested Monday was Lily Hoang.  She declined to speak on camera.

Sources told CBS 8 the protesters arrested on Monday were given notices to appear in court in early June, although the misdemeanor charges still have not yet been forwarded to San Diego City Attorney prosecutors.  The arresting law enforcement agencies, accord to jail records, were CHP and UC police.  San Diego County Sheriff would not release the exact court date appearance assigned to defendants who were booked and released from the downtown jail on Monday.

“All people of conscience have woken up to the fact that the apartheid state of Israel, with total U.S. backing, is committing genocide against the Palestinian people,” said Leslie Meyer, a UCSD lecturer. “Our clear-eyed and courageous students, some with loved ones in Gaza where U.S. bombs are falling and famine is spreading, assembled to demand that their school end its complicity in this most serious of crimes.”

She went on to denounce riot gear-clad officers who tore down the encampment and arrested 65 people on Monday.

Other speakers from the medical field said they had taken an oath to do no harm, and seeing hospitals bombed and doctors killed in Gaza was an affront to the medical profession.

A woman drove through the protest as it arrived at Khosla’s residence, honking and telling the marchers to go home. She parked and quickly walked over to confront the protesters.

“Free our hostages, free our women and children,” she said to the protesters, referring to the missing hostages taken by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023. She left without further incident.

Another woman in a vehicle told the marchers it was a private neighborhood and that “they should go back to school and get an education.”

Friday’s walkout followed a Wednesday protest in which more than 1,000 people marched at UCSD as a continuation of the ongoing demonstrations in support of the people of Gaza, as well as condemnations of school administration following the Monday arrests.

Following Monday’s clearing of an encampment erected by pro- Palestinian protesters, protesters are calling for Khosla’s resignation, and some members of UCSD’s faculty are echoing those sentiments.

About 200 of UCSD’s 3,800 faculty members signed a statement saying they “were shocked and outraged by UCSD’s decision to send riot police to arrest protesters on May 6. The militarized response has only chilled free speech, escalated tensions, reduced safety on campus, and destroyed the trust needed for negotiations and shared governance.”

More than 450 graduate students signed a statement saying that “the decision to characterize the protest as non-peaceful and to deploy law enforcement to forcefully clear the encampment is an egregious violation of the principles of justice, equity, and freedom of expression that our institution claims to uphold.”

Khosla said the encampment violated campus policy and the law and grew to pose “an unacceptable risk to the safety of the campus community.”

Of those arrested, 40 were UCSD students, who were placed on interim suspension.

The arrests prompted a large group of protesters to gather Monday outside the San Diego Central Jail in downtown, chanting for the protesters’ release.

UC San Diego police said those arrested Monday have all been released from custody. It is uncertain whether any of those arrested will face criminal prosecution, but the San Diego City Attorney’s Office says the cases are under review.

The San Diego Faculty Association asked that the suspensions be lifted and any potential pursuit of criminal charges be halted.

In early March, UC San Diego’s Associated Students passed a resolution calling for divestment, which the university opposed. In a March 7 statement, the university said “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.”

WATCH RELATED: Police arrive at UCSD encampment, begin making arrests

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.