Pro-Palestinian protests continue at Bay Area universities

Friday, April 26, 2024
Student protesters set up tents despite warnings from Stanford
At least a hundred students have setup camp at the White Memorial Plaza in Stanford. The chanting for Gaza picked up after it got dark out Thursday evening.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Student protests over the Israel-Hamas war have popped up on an increasing number of college campuses following last week's arrest of more than 100 demonstrators at Columbia University.

The students are calling for universities to separate themselves from any companies that are advancing Israel's military efforts in Gaza - and in some cases from Israel itself.

Protests on many campuses have been orchestrated by coalitions of student groups. The groups largely act independently, though students say they're inspired by peers at other universities.

Here's a look at protests on Bay Area college campuses on Thursday:

Stanford students set up tents despite warnings from Stanford

At least a hundred students have setup camp here on Campus at White Memorial Plaza. At this point, no arrests have been made and police have not cleared this area. The chanting for Gaza picked up after it got dark out Thursday evening.

The director of public relations at Stanford said Thursday that "disruptions of classes and university events are prohibited, and that overnight camping is likewise prohibited under university policy" but we have not seen any actions by law enforcement. Students here say they have established what they are calling "People's University for Palestine."

Organizers tell us they are aligned with other schools across the country demanding that their school separate themselves from any companies or organizations that are advancing military efforts in Israel-Hamas war.

COLLEGE PROTESTS LIVE UPDATES: More protests, encampments pop up at Princeton, Northwestern and more

"I've been watching the student protest across the country and I really feel as a community member we need to stand with the students who are standing with the people in Gaza and not enough people are standing up so the students actions are so inspiring and such an example to the adults and our elected officials who have really not been speaking out and standing up the way they should," said community member Michelle Higgins.

"We're all here to support the students. We're all tired of watching kids die on our phone on our social media when we open it up - we're seeing kids dying in Gaza and we're just really tired we're here to support the students here," said community member Mona Fahimi.

Students say this will be a multi-day pro-Palestinian demonstration. Schools reps say for those who violate university policy, they will enforce the rules. It is also "admit weekend" - when incoming student and their families visit campus.

Peaceful 'Free Palestine Camp' protest continues at UC Berkeley campus

It is day four of the Free Palestine Camp at UC Berkeley, and students say they don't plan to give up.

It is day four of the Free Palestine Camp at UC Berkeley, and students say they don't plan to give up.

"It is important for me to be out here, because I am outraged and devastated by what is going on in Gaza, and the occupation more broadly," said student Lev Collins.

Collins, who is Jewish, knows the possible risks of being camped out at Sproul Hall, just three weeks from graduation. But he says they are building on similar campus protests from the 1980s to end apartheid in South Africa.

"They camped out on the same steps we are on now. So we draw a lot of inspiration from that," Collins said.

Campus leaders says there are now more than 70 tents at Sproul Hall.

The students have four main demands. First, for UC Berkeley to officially declare what is happening in Gaza is "genocide." They also want the university to divest from companies with ties to Israel or weapons manufacturing. And, for more transparency.

"That is one of our other demands. Disclosure of these investments so that we can a better understanding of where our tuition is actually going," said student Eli Cohen.

Next, they want the university to cut academic ties with Israeli institutions.

Finally, they want the university to provide more security for Palestinian students and their allies. A confrontation between law student Malak Afaneh and School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and his wife, law professor Catherine Fisk, went viral after Afaneh tried to speak about the war in Gaza at a dinner at the couple's house.

RELATED: 'Free Palestine' encampment set up on UC Berkeley campus in solidarity with students arrested

UC Berkeley students have set up a "Free Palestine" encampment in solidarity with pro-Palestinian protesters arrested at other universities.

"I, myself, never thought that a professor would be able to put her hands on me, and be able to walk away without any consequences. But here we are. And it points to the deep-seated Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism that is embedded in these institutions," said Afaneh, who is among those camped out at Sproul Hall.

In statement to ABC7 News, the university would not comment about concerns raised about Palestinian student safety. But it added that it is focused on making sure the protest camp doesn't disrupt the university's operations.

Afaneh says it's important to not conflate the protest at camp as a conflict with Jewish or Israeli students.

"This is nothing more than a tactic to try to divide us. But we know that no one is free until everyone is free. And we are standing together today," Afaneh said.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live