Police arrest 80 pro-Palestinian protesters at UC Santa Cruz, school says

ByKiley Russell Bay City News logo
Saturday, June 1, 2024
Police arrest 80 pro-Palestinian protesters at UC Santa Cruz: school
New video shows dozens of police officers in riot gear face-to-face with chanting pro-Palestinian protesters at UC Santa Cruz.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies arrested about 80 pro-Palestinian protesters early Friday morning while also dismantling an encampment and barricade that blocked access to the University of California, Santa Cruz campus for several days.

Officers with the California Highway Patrol and other agencies began clearing the encampment, detaining protesters and making arrests sometime after midnight, according to UCSC Assistant Vice Chancellor Scott Hernandez-Jason.

RELATED: Protesters at UC Santa Cruz say pro-Palestinian negotiations with administrators have failed

"For weeks, encampment participants were given repeated, clear direction to remove the encampment and cease blocking access to numerous campus resources and to the campus itself," Hernandez-Jason said in an emailed statement.

"These actions could have been avoided if the encampment participants heeded the many previous directives that were given by campus officials, fire marshals, and law enforcement," he said.

Most of the protesters had either left the area or been detained by about 9 a.m., although some remained on site after the main law enforcement activity was over.

The campus entrance at Bay Drive and High Street was still closed as of about 11:30 a.m. Friday but the West entrance was open.

In an email to the campus community, Chancellor Cynthia Larive said the protesters rebuffed her administration's efforts to end the encampment voluntarily and instead "sought conflict, actively escalating tensions within our campus community, harming those who are simply trying to learn, teach, and do their jobs in support of our educational mission."

MORE: Police arrest 12 pro-Palestinian protesters, clear hall owned by UC Berkeley: authorities

She said that in one confrontation Tuesday, protesters stopped an emergency medical vehicle from entering a facility where a toddler was in distress.

She also said that the protesters' demands are beyond her authority to grant, like divesting from companies affiliated with Israel, or don't align with the university's values, like ending relationships with organizations that support Jewish students.

"Most worryingly, they demanded that we curtail the foundational right of academic freedom by condemning the use of funding from select federal agencies," Larive said. "Functionally, the encampment wanted to prevent our researchers from pursuing research related to topics with which they disagree."

In another message Thursday from several administrators, including Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer, faculty and students were told that classes would again remain online Friday because of the protest.

"We fully recognize the fatigue and frustration many feel at the continued disruption by a small group of protesters to access, instruction, performances, and other essential and scheduled and long-planned campus activities," the statement reads in part.

MORE: San Jose State professor claims suspension is due to stance on pro-Palestinian protests

The UCSC protest has coincided with dozens of such actions at college campuses around the state and nation, including at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA and San Francisco State University.

It has also prompted a strike by campus academic workers represented by UAW Local 4811 at UCSC, UCLA and UC Davis, who will be joined by their colleagues at UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego starting Monday, and at UC Irvine on Wednesday, according to union officials.

This will bring the total number of striking workers to roughly 31,500 throughout the UC system.

The union says it's striking over unfair labor practices related to, among other things, punishments handed down to students and workers involved in the protests.

"For the last month, UC has used and condoned violence against workers and students peacefully protesting on campus for peace and freedom in Palestine," said Local 4811 President Rafael Jaime. "Rather than put their energies into resolution, UC is attempting to halt the strike through legal procedures. They have not been successful, and this strike will roll on."

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