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Davis

Davis, California

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

UC students in Southern California protest, rally against administration

Yesterday morning at 9:45, approximately 20 students at UC Irvine began a sit-in at the campus’s administrative building, Aldrich Hall.

The sit-in resulted in at least 17 student, faculty and staff arrests for unlawful assembly and refusal to disperse, according to a press release from University Communications at UC Irvine. All but five of those arrested were released on the scene.

By yesterday afternoon, staff members working in the building were evacuated while demonstrators chanted outside the building and throughout the street, physically blocking several exits.

“We call for the democratic education intended in the founding of the UC system,” read a statement from a list of demands the students wrote during the protest. “This means an end to the racist, gendered, hetero-normative, and exploitative practices currently in place.”

The protest was a response to a culmination of events on and off the Irvine campus, including the arrest of 11 UC Irvine and Riverside students at a campus meeting with the Israeli ambassador to the U.S.; the “Compton Cookout” event held by UC San Diego students; and the 5 percent work-hour reduction of represented employees on the Irvine campus, according to UCI media spokesperson Cathy Lawhon.

Also yesterday, hundreds of students walked out of a teach-in hosted by the UC San Diego administration on the UCSD campus. Members of the Black Student Union then held their own teach-in and protest outside Price Center.

Speakers from all over California, including students from Compton High School and a professor from USC spoke of the impacts events like the “Compton Cookout” have on the black community.

Those who attended the event said the discussion was a positive reaction to several events on the UCSD campus, including an independent newspaper’s usage of a racial slur. The outrage led to the student government temporarily cutting funding for all campus media publications.

“The teach-in today wasn’t just a reaction to the “Compton Cookout” party,” said Hosna Safi, a UCSD junior majoring in international studies. “There were underlying issues of race even before the party. It was a catalyst for change on our campus.”

In support of the black students at UCSD, UC Davis students will be wearing all black clothing today and tomorrow. On Tuesday, many students taped their mouths shut with words of support written on the tape to demonstrate awareness for the issue of racism.

LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I am disgusted that the author is comparing the “Compton Cookout,” a party that openly mocks people of a given race using a hurtful stereotype, to the arrest of the people protesting the Israeli Ambassador’s speech, which was not racist or hurtful or involving stereotypes. If anything about that event was racist, it was the protest itself. Because he was Israeli, hundreds of protesters, most of which were NOT students, chose to be rude and disruptive and deny the Ambassador his freedom of speech. Many anti-Israel speeches are held at UCI and UCD every year, and no Jews or Israelis have ever tried to prevent these from happening or disrupted them. The anti-Israel protestors are the ones engaging in “racist, gendered, hetero-normative, and exploitative practices.” Racist because they are targeting Israelis, a diverse nation with, I might add, a huge black community, including tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews escaping prejudice there and thousands of Sudanese refugees escaping the genocide in Darfur (I should add that the Palestinian government has strongly supported the genocide in Darfur, offering refuge to the Sudanese president when the UN wanted to arrest him, and that the Palestinian people are 100% caucasian). While Blacks obviously have a long history of degradation in this country, Israelis are receiving similarly awful treatment in their dehumanization. This is most obvious in schools in Palestine, where children are taught that Jews (not Zionists, but all Jews) are the descendants of pigs and monkeys. The dehumanization of Israelis, however, is still evident in California. This article is a great example: the author assumes that the protesters were in the right because they were protesting Israelis which, as the protesters, the MSU, and many others racistly and occidentalistly believe, are inhuman (literally or figuratively) and therefore their opinions and feelings are irrelevant. Why was the “Compton Cookout” bad? Not because it perpetuated a stereotype, but because its organizers showed complete disregard for the feelings of UCI’s Black students. Similarly, the protesters were being offensive in that they did not care that their hateful message of the destruction of a sovereign nation, whose multi-ethnic people have suffered decades of abuse and violence at the hands of their neighbors in the Middle East and Africa, was hurting the feelings of other students. They are so convinced of their own bigoted idea of Israelis as evil that they do not stop and think that they may be offending other people. There are many at UCI and UCD who disagree with the protesters and find the very existence of such a mob as a threat to their safety. Today they’re protesting loudly, tomorrow they’re carving swastikas into doors and beating Jewish students thinking they might support Israel.
    Maybe I misread the article: maybe the author agrees that the protesters were in the wrong and that Israeli students at Irvine are suffering racism at the hands of those who wish to silence and destroy them. Maybe the author agrees with me that a democratic education cannot proceed when a group of people is marginalized and their opinions and those who wish to speak and present them are denied a voice. Maybe there are people in the UC system who can look past their views on Mideast politics and try to foster an environment that makes all students comfortable. After all, being “pro-Palestine” and “anti-Israel” are not the same thing. Often they are the opposite. I want to support those who fight racism, but not if they are confusing victims of prejudice like Israeli Jews with their racist aggressors. I cannot support a person who equates being an Israeli with being a racist, and I think the Black Zionists from Darfur who wave Israeli flags and suffer nightmares of the abuse inflicted on them by the Palestinian-friendly government of Sudan would agree with me.

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