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SDS Humboldt Statement on the End of the Occupation of Siemens Hall

by Students for a Democratic Society - Humboldt
It may be the end of the occupation, but we’re only just getting started
The Cal Poly Humboldt (CPH) Occupation for Palestine ended in the early hours on Tuesday, April 30th. Hundreds of police officers from Arcata, Eureka, Humboldt Sheriff's Department, University Police, San Jose, San Francisco, Chico, and even from as far south as Channel Islands entered the encampment at 2:45 in the morning, surrounding 20 students who were sitting in a circle, holding hands, and chanting.

As arrests began, students continued to demand, "end this genocide," "stop bombing children now," "hands off Rafah," and "let Gaza live." 31 students and community members were arrested that night.

The occupation ended after 8 days. Cal Poly Humboldt students demanded De-escalation, Divestment, and Declaration. Student and administration attempts to negotiate were unsuccessful because neither side was willing to make concessions. Students refused to begin negotiations until their physical safety could be ensured, but admin only continued to escalate police presence and threat. For the students, the demands were uncompromisable because they were acting as vessels for Palestine. However, after days of tension and in an effort to get their demands met, students attempted to negotiate to get the campus to reopen and to limit/remove graffiti but the threat of violence was the only thing admin could promise.

Students were offered a "deal" to turn themselves in and get consequences or to stay and have worse consequences. President Tom Jackson never stepped foot onto campus and refused to talk to any students but was quick to escalate more police violence once faculty passed a vote of no confidence against him.

The occupation goals were greater than those written on paper. On paper, CPH students demanded de-escalation from police and academic consequences, divestment from Israeli contracts, and a ceasefire declaration from CPH. Though CPH administration refused to agree to any of these demands, the occupation was still successful.

The university senate and the city of Arcata both passed ceasefire resolutions in response and the occupation also sent a strong message to those in power. A message that this is only the beginning, we've only just started the fire...it will continue to burn until Palestine is free. Across the nation campuses are creating encampments, taking buildings, and mass movements are marching through the streets to disrupt business as usual.

The CPH occupation raised hell for Palestine and created precedent and practice for other universities to follow. Many student occupations, including this one, were seen in Palestine and the students were thanked by Palestinians.

There is a greater organizing happening between other CSU's and across campuses not only nationwide, but also overseas. With dozens of encampments and thousands of people taking action, according to NYT there are more than 2,300 student detainments or arrests.

The CPH liberated zone created a safe space and community center for students, faculty, and broader Humboldt County community members, who took care of one another and would put their physical bodies on the line for each other. Despite claims of antisemitism, Jewish students were celebrated. Passover seder was had within the occupation and Jewish speakers voiced their support for this bold action against genocide.

A mutual aid food kitchen was set up to serve not only students, but also the greater community. We collectively gained more trust, solidarity, and power than we had before. We have become even more organized and far more prepared for the battles to come. So even though the occupation has ended, the work is only beginning for the students here and the rest of the nation.
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by Students for a Democratic Society - Humboldt
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by Students for a Democratic Society - Humboldt
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by Students for a Democratic Society - Humboldt
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