Skip to content

Israel-Gaza protesters meet with USC president Carol Folt

Courtesy of @carmen_obied

Encampment dismantled at UCLA

Law enforcement officials, led by the California Highway Patrol, on Thursday dismantled an encampment at UCLA and took hundreds of people into custody in bringing to an end to a weeklong protest on the Westwood campus. Earlier in the week, organizers of pro-Palestinian protests at USC met for a second time with university president Carol Folt to discuss their demands. 

USC protesters met with Folt and other university officials for about 90 minutes Monday afternoon.

“The students said at the end they wouldn't have considered this meeting a win from their perspective, and I can fully appreciate that,'' Folt wrote Monday in a statement to the Daily Trojan, the campus newspaper. “I think we need to continue to have those conversations, and I'm pleased we all agree on that. We'll go day by day.''

The USC Divest from Death Coalition said in a statement it was “deeply disappointed that the university claims ignorance of our divest campaign.''

Folt, USC lawyer Beong-soo Kim and Vice President of Student Life Monique Allard ``did not come to the meeting with any actionable insights or concrete steps to address any of our demands,'' the statement said.

“Folt claims she was unaware of our divestment campaign until the start of the occupation. This is despite the fact that we launched our academic divestment campaign, Suspend Study Abroad in Israel on April 11 and organized a walkout and strike on April 15.''

Occupation organizers said before the meeting they would not be making any concessions and would ``refuse any normalization in our negotiations. Our occupation will continue until our demands are met.''

A mass protest and march on the USC campus last week led to 93 arrests of people who refused orders to vacate Alumni Park. USC officials accused participants in that day's march of vandalizing buildings and violating university rules against camping, erecting tents and posting signs. Protest participants insisted they were engaged in a peaceful action that was escalated by law enforcement. They have also lashed out at USC for inflaming the issue by canceling a commencement speech by pro-Palestinian valedictorian Asna Tabassum.

Protesters re-established a camp at USC over the weekend, and thus far, it has been allowed to remain in place.

Across town at UCLA, an investigation has been called regarding the violent overnight confrontation on Wednesday between pro-Palestine and pro-Isreal factions in which pepper spray and fireworks were directed toward the encampment just outside Royce Hall. On Monday, a fight between members of both sides broke out around 11:40 p.m., leading six UCLA Police Department officers to separate counter-protesters and participants of the encampment, the Daily Bruin reported.

Protesters inside the encampment brought wooden planks to the Powell scaffolding to block the entrance. Contemporary Services Corp. security officers then used their bikes to create a barrier between UCLA-PD officers, counter-protesters and those inside the encampment, according to the Daily Bruin.

Police in riot gear were near the entrance of the encampment just after midnight after around 40 counter-protesters attempted to push past the barricades through the entrance near Powell Library.

Similar violent confrontations occurred at UCLA over the weekend.

“UCLA has a long history of being a place of peaceful protest, and we are heartbroken to report that today, some physical altercations broke out among demonstrators on Royce Quad,'' Mary Osako, vice chancellor of UCLA Strategic Communications, said in a statement Sunday. “We have since instituted additional security measures and increased the numbers of our safety team members on site.”

The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations this week called on UCLA officials to protect participants in the encampment.