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University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

Encampment must go after Student Services Building vandalized, says Cal State LA president 

Protesters occupy the Student Services Building, prompting the university to demand an end to the encampment
Photo by Xavier Zamora

Cal State LA President Berenecea Johnson Eanes said in an email Thursday that the Pro-Palestinian encampment on campus has “crossed a line” and “must leave” after protestors entered the Student Services Building (SSB) Wednesday night, breaking windows and tagging the walls with slogans such as “Divest from Death,” “Free Gaza,” and “We see the blood on your hands.”

Members of the encampment made their way to SSB around 4:30 p.m. and barricaded the walkways with overturned tables, golf carts and umbrellas. An alert was sent by the school urging those in the building to shelter in place. The protestors eventually left around 1 a.m., with police remaining nearby, but no arrests were made.

In her statement, Eanes said that the trust between the college and the encampment “to practice non-violence has been violated,” and that significant damage was inflicted on student services such as admissions, records, basic needs, and Dreamer resources. She also added that three employees and one student reported they were assaulted by protestors, although details of the incidents are unknown. 

“I cannot and would not protect anyone who is directly identified as having participated in last night’s illegal activities from being held accountable,” Eanes said.

The encampment, which started May 1, has grown in size since and has previously met with Eanes for negotiations. Protestors have called for the college to divest from companies supporting Israel and “end Cal State LA’s complicity in genocide.”  

In a press release issued by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at CSULA, the group demanded that Eanes respond to their May 25 email regarding ongoing negotiations. Although Eanes’ team told SJP that a response was being developed, SJP said that the Wednesday sit-in was in direct response to the president’s failure in negotiating “in good faith” and making progress towards their demands. 

“Delaying negotiations past the end of the Spring semester at a commuter campus shows clear bad faith and an attempt to wait out students instead of actively working to reach an agreement,” the statement read.

The press release also alleged that “University administration stated that administrators and the President were trapped in the building.” Protestors held up signs outside the building and video on social media shows some protestors slipping notes under doors, reading that anyone inside was allowed to leave, and offering escorts out of the building. Most of the staff members in the building left, but a select few, including Eanes, opted to stay.

An email was sent later Wednesday evening alerting all students and staff that classes would take place online until further notice, except those on the downtown campus. In-person services are halted, including financial aid, and buildings such as the Student Union, the Recreation Fitness Center are closed until further notice. 

Cal State LA staff declined to comment because of an ongoing investigation. Protesters at the encampment also declined media inquiries, but did say they’d release another statement sometime soon. The University Times has reached out to the Office of Public Affairs for comment, but has yet to hear back. 

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Sasha Funes, Sports Editor

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    gary fouseJun 14, 2024 at 2:08 pm

    All the vandalism, 4 people assaulted, and no arrests. That’s just ducky! Pls tell your alumni ass. to stop sending me requests for money.