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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Live Updates: PULP encampment

The Aggie’s live coverage of the PULP encampment in the Memorial Union Quad, negotiations between administration and more

By THE CALIFORNIA AGGIE STAFF

June 5, 2:30 p.m., 2024

By RIVERS STOUT

PULP DISCUSSES AN ALLEGED USE OF AMMONIUM SULFIDE BY COUNTER-PROTESTER 

On the Morning of May 30, UCD PULP media liaison Stanford McConnehey claims that a masked individual threw a glass bottle of Smirnoff into the encampment, . 

According to McConnehey, the bottle — which broke on impact — had the words “Fuck y’all” written on it. He also alleged that it contained vials of ammonium Sulfide, with at least one of the vials shattering. Nobody was injured, reportedly.

Ammonium sulfide is a skin, eyes and respiratory irritant. The substance is commonly used for stink bombs, and tends to not be lethal in small doses with limited exposure.

“This was an attack with poisonous chemicals,” McConnehey said. “Obviously the intent was that the glass bottle would break, and the [ammonium sulfide] bottles would break.”

McConnehey spoke on the accused person’s choice to wear a mask.

“People who are opposed to the encampment criticize campers and protestors for wearing masks,” McConnehey said. “Which we do to protect ourselves from COVID, which is being transmitted to people in our communities and to protect our identities when there is an open threat of doxxing and harassment. But, the same people wear masks when they come to assault us and to throw toxic chemicals into the camp, hoping that the vessels within them will break, and that they will harm people.”

McConnehey continued, saying that he believed these actions to be meant to “threaten” the people in the encampment, and make them feel “unsafe.”

“Often these are the same people [who] say they’re threatened just by the presence of the encampment, or the mere presence of disruptive protests in classrooms, or picket lines,” McConnehey said. 

He said that the encampment members did not contact the police during or after the event.

“As always, we’re not going to stop what we’re doing, and we’re not going to be intimidated,” McConnehey said.

McConnehey also said that, nearly a month later, the encampment has continued to grow. With the UAW strike beginning recently, the encampment has seen an increase in check-ins that is likely correlated. In preparation for the growth, the encampment was updated to make rows of tents that are available to all students. The strikers and campers now host programming together on the Memorial Union Quad.

Editor’s Note: Portions were of this piece were modified on 06/09/24 for the sake of clarity in reporting.

May 27, 2024, 9:10 p.m.

By RIVERS STOUT

UAW STRIKE

The United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 4811 announced they will be going on strike on Tuesday, May 28. The strike is over what the union believes to be unfair labor practices, including failure to protect the safety of protesters at the UCLA encampment. 

The Davis PULP encampment shared their reaction to the union’s decision. 

“We look forward to rallying with and supporting the striking UAW 4811 workers as they raise the issues of the unfair labor practices by the University of California, as it relates to speech and protected speech on campus, specifically as it relates to the matter of Palestine,” Stanford McConnehey, PULP media liaison said.

“We expect that the quad will be a space of collaboration between both undergraduate and graduate student campers and striking workers,” McConnehey added. “As always, all of our community is invited to engage in the public facing programming. We’re going to maintain this as a safe space for our community and we’re looking forward to accepting new people into the Popular University for the Liberation of Palestine.”

UAW members went on strike in November of 2022. A contract agreement was reached that December. In the above photo, UAW strikers marched on campus over wages and other benefits. (courtesy / David Kwon)

May 27, 2024, 6:20 p.m.

By RIVERS STOUT

PULP NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE

On May 22, the second round of negotiations between UC Davis campus leadership and the PULP members occurred. 

“This round of negotiations was a chance for the administration to offer responses to our initial five demands,” PULP media liaison Stanford McConnehey shared. “It was not a detailed response to our fully detailed list of demands. It was very obvious that it was vetted through UCOP [University of California, Office of the President] and the regents. What they offered was insufficient to meet the needs and the demands of this community. Going forward the administration’s engagement teams will be setting up meetings in real time with the relevant decision makers as they relate to each of our demands.” 

According to McConnehey, offers to schedule more meetings were made at the table.

“Basically it was just offered to set up meetings in exchange for us breaking down the encampment,” McConnehey said. “We’re not here to be in meetings, we were in meetings before the encampment started.”

The establishment of meetings with the engagement teams has given hope to the PULP movement.

“We’re going to move towards discussions that need to be had, with the people who have the information, the access to information and the power to make changes or make recommendations for changes at the various institutional levels on which our demands operate,” McConnehey said.

“This movement is diverse, it engages in a multiplicity of various tactics, of which the encampment is just one,” McConnehey said. “We’re looking forward to coming together as a community to push our demands, until our demands are met.” 

Encampment members stand for a photo in front of the encampment entrance. (Maia Zhu / Aggie)

May 15, 2024, 7:39 p.m.

By CHRIS PONCE

PULP NEGOTIATIONS BEGIN

Earlier today UC Davis News & Media Relations shared that campus leadership met with PULP negotiators on Monday, May 13. 

“Campus leaders expressed appreciation for the students’ efforts to keep the encampment safe and peaceful and listened to the students’ concerns about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” the university shared in a statement. “UC Davis leaders said the conversation was productive and that they will continue to engage with the students about issues they are raising.”

The statement also shared Chancellor Gary May’s previous sentiment that the university won’t punish students for remaining within their First Amendment rights. 

“UC Davis cannot and will not discipline students for speech protected by the First Amendment, even though [May] recognizes that such speech sometimes distresses or inconveniences members of the campus community,” the statement reads. “We remain committed to keeping the campus peaceful and welcoming for people of all backgrounds.”

The statement did not discuss PULP’s fifth demand which asks that May resign from the board of Leidos or as chancellor of the university.

This is the second statement from university leadership, following the first on May 6.

“Our Student Affairs team is working closely with UCD PULP members to offer guidance or information today, and they will remain available to UCD PULP to discuss their needs,” May said in the previous statement. “We are reviewing the demands we’ve seen posted and are working on responding.”

Chancellor Gary May speaking at a previous event. (Aggie File)

May 15, 2024, 7:21 p.m.

By RIVERS STOUT

At 10:30 a.m., protesters gathered at the East Quad for a walkout on Nakba day. The walkout was organized by the UCD Anti-Imperialist Student Association (AISA) and the Spartacist League. They traveled across campus, drawing some students to their walkout.

The march included chants such as “Gay Mary you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide,” “Walkout for Palestine,” “The working class will take a side, down with U.S. genocide” and more.

“We called a walkout to defend the camp against Zionist provocation and to free Palestnie,” Jameson, an organizer, said. “Over the past few days there’ve been provocations at the encampment, disruptions to their classes and just kind of general aggressive behavior.”

Those that organized the walkout don’t believe that negotiations aimed at divestment should be the primary means of aiding Palestinians. Instead, they aim for a class struggle.

“The university administrators are not neutral, they are agents of the capitalist class,” Jameson said in a speech. “Overseeing control and operation of higher education. The time has come. Let’s divest these administrative parasites of their authority to control schooling and serve as the bulwark of genocidal imperialism on our campuses. Abolish the administration, for student, teacher and worker control of higher education.”

While the walkout organizers and PULP organizers both want a free Palestine, the groups have ideological differences. An AISA organizer said that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Revolutionary Student Union were too “liberal.” The organizations rely too heavily on working within the university to achieve their goals, they said.

“We’re happy to see people being active around the ongoing issue in Palestine,” they said.

May 14, 2024, 4:10 p.m.

By RIVERS STOUT

Today at 9:45 a.m., a group carrying a sign that read “WORKERS UNITED AGAINST GENOCIDE” marched near the Quad. They chanted: “Palestina sería libre/Cueste lo que cueste,” which means in English “Palestine will be free/It cost what it cost” and “Viva Palestina,” which translates to “Long live Palestine.” 

Workers march in solidarity with Palestine. (Rivers Stout / Aggie)

Marchers consisted of members of organizations that work within the California Coalition for Worker Power. Many marchers were members of Trabajadores Unidos, a Woodland and Sacramento based worker center.

Alma Soto, executive director of jobs with Justice San Francisco, was a member of the march.

“We’re here because we’re a worker-led organization and we very much honor solidarity,” Soto said. “We have an analysis of what it means to be in solidarity, like with working people internationally, not just here in the United States.”

The group had plans to be in town for a workers’ assembly in Davis, and wanted to express their solidarity with the encampment while they were in town.

“Palestine has been an issue that has been raised from workers in our communities — communities that are primarily immigrant communities,” Soto said. “Imperialism has impacted a lot of the communities that we represent. We see that happening in Palestine and we have a commitment to continue to be in solidarity as workers in Palestine have asked for solidarity actions from workers across the country.”

May 13, 2024, 1:53 p.m.

By CHRIS PONCE

PULP members pose for a photo outside of the encampment. (Maia Zhu / Aggie)

It has been one week since the PULP encampment was set up in the Memorial Union Quad. Since last Monday there have been counter protests, several donations made to the encampment and an alleged assault on a PULP member. A media coordinator with the group recently shared that negotiations with the university are expected to start sometime this week. 

“It’s going to be our first meeting [with the university this week], we just aren’t quite sure yet how things are gonna go,” the coordinator said. “But we are hopeful and have faith that our negotiators are going to do a good job.” 

In order to join the encampment, participants have to check in at the PULP entrance. The coordinator said there have been around 1000 check-ins since last Monday and that there are typically around 200 people who stay overnight.

“We have more systems in terms of dealing with food and dealing with cleaning up and maintaining the camp,” the coordinator discussed what has changed since day one. “At the beginning, there was such an influx of donations that things just kind of were not organized well. But now we’re getting much more organized and things are running smoothly.”

The coordinator shared why they feel hopeful about negotiations. 

“I think because we have so much community support, we feel hopeful,” they said.
“But we just are just really confident in our negotiators and confident that we’re going to stick to our demands.”

May 13, 2024, 11:48 a.m. 

By CHRIS PONCE

Aggies for Israel set up demonstration for Israeli hostages taken by Hamas. (Maia Zhu / Aggie)

Today, Aggies for Israel (AFI) held a small demonstration in front of the Quad. They hung an Israeli flag from a tree and set up missing posters of Israeli Hostages taken by Hamas. Since Oct. 7, it is believed Hamas has been holding around 100 people hostage.

“It’s to bring awareness of the people that were taken hostage into Gaza, or kidnapped or murdered,” Elizabeth, a member of Aggies for Israel who didn’t feel comfortable sharing their last name, said. “I mean, so we’re just bringing awareness to the people that are still there since Oct. 7.”

It has been one week since PULP organizers set up their encampment in the Memorial Union Quad in support of Palestine. Elizabeth shared her thoughts on the encampment. 

“I don’t want to speak for everyone, but I know that I just want a peaceful campus,” Elizabeth said. “I just know that this is a very tough situation and some people are very personally involved. And I hope that those of whose family are also doing okay.”

Elizabeth shared she believes a sign in front of the encampment which reads “Davis to Gaza — Intifada,” is a call to violence. 

“It’s a little bit scary,” Elizabeth shared. “My reaction when they’re, you know, having signs that say ‘Intifada’ and things like — it’s a little nerve wracking. It’s a call for violence, it incites violence. And I know a lot of [the encampment members] say they don’t want that [violence]. And so I wonder if they know that that’s what [Intifada] means. I just really want a peaceful environment, I want everyone to be safe.”

She shared that there are misconceptions people have about their group and that there are also likely misconceptions held about PULP.

“I try to have empathy for them and understand where they’re coming from,” she said about the PULP encampment. “But I definitely want to encourage people to talk and have respectful and open dialogue. That’s what I would want. But yeah, I’m sure there’s misconceptions, those misconceptions on our side too.”

Elizabeth and another member, Ari, shared that they are cautious about supporting a total “prisoner/hostage for hostage” exchange in the war. They believe the Palestinian prisoners held by Israel are different from hostages that were taken by Hamas. 

“We want peace, we want to end the war,” Ari said. “It’s as simple as that. We want our hostages home, and we want Palestinians to have a government that doesn’t hold them hostage and that isn’t a terrorist organization.” 

Elizabeth has family in Israel and has been hearing about this conflict since she was a child.

“I mean, I’ve heard about this conflict since I was younger, it’s not something that just started now,” Elizabeth shared. “And every time I’ve talked to my family and to my family in Israel, there are so many different perspectives in Israel alone. So many people want to be able to live freely and be able to coincide and live together.”

Elizabeth believes that both Jewish people and Palestinians are indigenous to Israel and Gaza and that they can coexist.

“People can coexist and live on land that they are both indigenous to, that both have history and ties to,” she shared. “Palestinians do deserve rights and freedom and human rights and land. And so do Israelis and Jews, so I really think that’s just that’s where I would leave off — we really just want peace, we want to not be afraid for our family, of constant rockets and taken hostages.”

“I was so afraid that my family would be [one] of the faces,” Elizabeth gestured to the missing signs with hostage faces on them. 

Aggies for Israel place missing signs for hostages held by Hamas.(Maia Zhu / Aggie)

May 11, 2024, 2:02 p.m.

BY RIVERS STOUT

On May 10, at around 5 a.m., 4-5 older men encircled the UCD PULP encampment and blew airhorns. People in the camp responded with chants. Camp safety volunteers prevented the men from entering the camp, according to PULP liaison Stanford McConnehey.

A sign at the front of the encampment calls to “stop genocide” in Palestine. (Maia Zhu / Aggie)

May 10, 2024, 4:18 p.m.

By RIVERS STOUT

On May 10, around 2:45 p.m., a late middle-aged man walked into the PULP encampment and punched a camp safety volunteer, according to media liaison Stanford McConnehey. 

The attacker was soon expelled from the camp. Afterwards, a group of middle-aged men continued to record campers outside of the encampment until around 3:40 p.m., McConnehey shared.

This is a developing story, more updates will be provided in The Aggie’s ongoing coverage.

It is the fifth day of the PULP encampment. (Andrew Huang / Aggie)

May 10, 2024, 1:03 p.m.

By RIVERS STOUT

It is the fifth day since the PULP encampment was organized in the Memorial Union Quad.

A banner reading “JEWISH LIVES MATTER TOO” and “#BRING THEM HOME” as well as other phrases was placed in front of the PULP encampment earlier today. 

The sign previously appeared on Tuesday, May 7. A group called the Davis Oct. 7 Coalition claims responsibility for the previous sign. 

Campus News Writer Vince Basada contributed to this update

On Tuesday, May 7, in a counter-demonstration a banner was displayed that read “NEVER AGAIN, Oct 7.” (Aggie File)

May 9, 2024, 3:28 p.m. 

By CHRIS PONCE

Stanford McConnehey, third-year law student at King Hall, had a final exam this morning and graduates tomorrow. On top of his academic work, McConnehey is a media coordinator with Davis Popular University for the Liberation of Palestine (PULP) and is a part of the encampment. 

According to the United Nations, 80,000 people have fled from the Rafah area due to Israeli involvement. McConnehey shared his reactions to the ongoing violence in the region.

“The logistics of the encampment have been taking up a lot of my attention,” McConnehey said. “So every time I open my phone, it’s horrifying. Words actually can’t describe the level of loss. We have members of our community whose families are trapped in and around Rafah, unable to get into Egypt. And nor should they have to be faced with the decision to go into Egypt, the United States needs to force the Israeli occupation forces to get out.”

McConnehey said he hopes all prisoners, both held by Hamas and Israel, are exchanged safely. He believes that a fully military withdrawal is also necessary for the region. 

“I personally am in favor of an all for all prisoner exchange,” McConnehey said. “That includes everybody that is held by the Palestinian resistance factions and every Palestinian that’s held by the State of Israel including those in administrative detention should be swapped. There needs to be full military withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and immediate attempts at rebuilding.”

He is feeling hopeful about the future of the encampment and shared that he believes negotiations between the administration and protesters are in process. 

“I think those talks are in process, as far as what negotiation would look like and how far they’re willing to come on our demands,” McConneyhey said. “And I think that might have to do with the Chancellor’s travel schedule.”

While there have been some counter protests, McConnehey said PULP is avoiding escalation. 

“We’re not here to get into fights with people,” he said. “We’re here to focus on Palestine. And so we’re trying to avoid any escalation. Obviously, there are some folks who want to come and take high resolution photographs of people’s faces inside in order to threaten them with doxing and things of this nature.”

McConnehey also believes that the encampments have provided a space for people to take action against the violence in Gaza and also grieve what has been lost. 

“Being able to share this space and collectively grieve and mourn and also act and take up this space and bring other people’s attention to it is a meaningful way to not normalize a genocide,” he said.

Encampment members set up signs in front of the encampment reading “LIBERATED ZONE AGAINST GENOCIDE” (Summer Sueki /Aggie)

May 9, 2024, 2:31 p.m. 

By CHRIS PONCE

Today is the fourth day of the encampment protests at the Memorial Union Quad that was organized by the Davis Popular University for the Liberation of Palestine (PULP). 

Earlier today, Yolo County Moms for Liberty Chair Beth Bourne and other protesters gathered in front of the encampment to protest against gender affirming care for transgender children. 

“You know, they have their First Amendment right to free speech and I have my First Amendment right to free speech,” Bourne said about the encampment protesters. “So that would be my message for Chancellor May and all the administrators. If there’s a mother, father or grandmother who’s concerned that we have these new medical procedures and treatments and drugs that have never been given before to young people, then we should be able to be critical of it and question it.”

A media coordinator with PULP said they were unaware of the Moms for Liberty protest, but another encampment member who wished to stay anonymous referred to them as “transphobes.” 

“They’re just here to draw attention to themselves,” the coordinator said about Yolo County Moms for Liberty and counter protesters. “They’re here to get into arguments. They’re here to kind of distract from the reason we’re here which is the ongoing genocide in Palestine.”

Beth Bourne engages in heated discussion with bystander about trans youth and gender affirming medications (Chris Ponce / Courtesy)

May 9, 2024, 2:05 p.m.

By CHRIS PONCE

PULP press coordinator shared that the group is working to make an on-demand pathway for people with disabilities and other accommodations to move through the Quad.

Encampment protesters use black umbrellas to shield faces of members from photos and doxing (Summer Sueki / Aggie)

 

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