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CSULB students, faculty walk out of class amid ongoing demands to divest from Israel, defense contractors

Dozens of campus members walked out of their classrooms again on Wednesday to demand that the university disclose its investments to the public.

CSULB students, faculty walk out of class amid ongoing demands to divest from Israel, defense contractors
Dozens gathered in the central quad at Cal State Long Beach for an educational rally on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, in support of Palestinians amid the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

More than 100 Cal State Long Beach students and faculty walked out of class Wednesday afternoon, reaffirming their demands that the university divest from Israel and defense contractors such as Boeing.

The demonstration, organized by Students for Justice in Palestine-Cal State Long Beach, comes less than a week after hundreds gathered on campus for a peaceful march in support of Palestinians in the ongoing war in Gaza.

The university did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Campuses around the world, including the University of California Los Angeles, Columbia and universities across Europe, have erupted with clashes between pro-Palestine protests, counter-protesters and police. More than 600 American college students have been arrested at such protests in recent weeks.

A cornerstone of the latest on-campus protests against the conflict between Hamas and Israel has included a push to avoid speaking to news outlets to control a narrative they believe has villainized those calling for an end to violence in Gaza with accusations of antisemitism.

Groups erected Easy-Ups around the Central Quad at Cal State Long Beach on Wednesday for a peaceful educational rally. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

“This is not the end,” a media liaison, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Watchdog, adding that Wednesday’s walkout is a community-based gathering.

The spokesperson said the latest walkout is focused on education.

While the walkout was originally planned for 2 p.m., organizers of the event changed the start time to noon. By 1 p.m., several groups had already gathered on the Central Quad, where students gathered to listen to speakers, make signs and banners, and work on other art projects such as print-making. At 5:20 p.m., students planned to screen the 2023 film “Israelism” in the quad.

“It has not been easy for students to stand up, at every turn they’ve been met by repression, by vilification, by criminalization by their own administration,” said Rob Chlala, a sociology professor at CSULB.

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SJP-CSULB said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon that supporting campus members are demanding that the university disclose its investments to the public “so students recognize what their tuition money is funding.”

“We’ve been buried under a sea of memos that continually tell us that ‘you have freedom of speech’ except when you talk about genocide; except when you call out the university for its complicity in violence; except when you demand that your dollars, the dollars that many of you sweat and work so hard for be actually invested your communities,” Chlala told a crowd of students and faculty.

Israel and its allies have continued to argue that the country has a right to defend itself in response to the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas. But Israeli leaders have faced growing calls for a ceasefire and pressure to dial back their aggression and to let more humanitarian aid into Gaza, where the death toll has soared above 34,500, the Associated Press reported.

“Student protests have always been on the right side of history,” one student speaker said.

Although Brandon Richardson hasn’t received a paycheck since he was laid off from the Long Beach Post and Business Journal on March 22, he has continued to cover business and breaking news in Long Beach at The Watchdog.

Buy him a beer directly (here) to thank him. Or you can donate to the Long Beach Media Guild Relief Fund (here) to help striking and laid-off workers pay for groceries, bills and rent.

Hundreds amass at CSULB for 'Justice in Palestine' rally

Brandon Richardson • May 2, 2024

Follow @_Brandon_E on X for the most up to date coverage. Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered at Cal State Long Beach on Thursday morning around 11 a.m. to join a coalition of stud…

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