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Davis, California

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Student organizers set up encampment for Palestine in Memorial Union Quad

The group has a list of five demands, one of which is calling for Chancellor Gary May to resign from Leidos

 

By CHRIS PONCE — campus@theaggie.org 

 

On the morning of Monday, May 6, Davis Popular University for the Liberation of Palestine (PULP) organizers set up tents and canopies in the center of the Memorial Union Quad to protest for Palestine. 

The group, which now joins several other college campuses, has a list of five demands that they are asking the university to address. The demands include: The University of California system divesting from Israel; a total academic “cultural boycott”; investing in Palestine and Arab American studies; respect for free speech and “no repression” and Chancellor Gary May either resigning from his position on the executive board of Leidos or as chancellor of the university. 

“We want to focus on what’s happening in Palestine, in Gaza and the West Bank, so we’re in solidarity there [with the other campuses],” a media coordinator with PULP, who at this time asked to remain anonymous, said. “It is a UC-wide demand, because we want the biggest reach possible. We want to end this genocide.”

May is on the board of Leidos, a company that works with the Israeli Ministry of Defense and which PULP has expressed criticism for. The coordinator discussed the group’s demand for May to resign from the company.

“That is not our top demand right now,” they said. “It is definitely something that is important to us, because [he’s] the chancellor, and we don’t want him to be on the board of a company that’s involved in the genocide happening, but our top demand is divestment.”

On Feb. 16, the ASUCD Senate passed a measure to boycott and divest from corporations “complicit in human rights violations against Palestinians amidst the ongoing genocide in Gaza.” While the Senate divested, the coordinator shared that the group’s goal is for the whole University of California system to divest. 

“We were really happy about that — it took a lot of organizing work and so we were really excited that was able to happen,” they said about the ASUCD divestment. 

The coordinator said that the group wants more students to turn out for the encampment, and they hope to stay put until their demands are met. They also shared their frustration with the United States’ involvement in the violence in Gaza.

“It’s been really upsetting to see our college campuses and the United States government accept what’s happening,” the coordinator said. “The U.S. is sending military aid to a country that is occupying an Indigenous population, and it’s hard to watch and not try to do something to change that.”

With the death toll of Palestinian lives surpassing 30,000, the coordinator shared that they hope students pay attention to the situation in Rafah.

“Look at what’s happening in Rafah, people are being displaced there,” they said. “Please don’t forget that’s why we are all doing this. This isn’t just about students on college campuses. It’s about what’s happening in Palestine and what’s been happening in Palestine. This is the moment where students can really make some change.”

 

Written by: Chris Ponce — campus@theaggie.org 

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