The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

CSUSM Students Protest CSU Complicity in Palestinian Genocide

Angelina Guzman

The ongoing genocide in Palestine has prompted university students around the world to demand academic institutions denounce the state of Israel and divest their investments. With many universities penalizing students for disrupting campuses in protest—ranging from arrests, suspensions, and commencement ceremony cancellations—backlash has only fueled the fire. This fire reached CSUSM on Tuesday, April 30, when about two hundred students gathered to protest in solidarity with the people of Gaza. 

Students for Justice in Palestine is a student organization that advocates for Palestinian liberation, primarily through opposition to US complicity in Israeli war crimes and human rights violations against Palestinians. The new, loosely formed San Marcos chapter that organized this protest demanded CSU disclose and divest its investments in Israel. 

Their immediate goals are for CSUSM to recognize the ongoing genocide in Gaza, an occupied Palestinian territory, and to end its relations with businesses that support Israel, namely Starbucks. This was the first of many planned, upcoming demonstrations at CSUSM. 

The protest took place on the field in front of Kellogg Library. It began with a few dozen demonstrators at around 11:30 a.m. Their opening statement demanded that the CSU divests from Israel and seeks other business alternatives. This speech was followed by students chanting for a free Palestine, as well as an end to Israel’s crimes of occupation, apartheid, and what the International Court of Justice ruled is a plausible genocide in Gaza. 

Many students held signs. One reads, “A land acknowledgement means nothing when you invest in landgrabbers.” Another reads, “CSU, disclose [and] divest. We will not stop! We will not rest!” 

As this continued, more students congregated, either to observe or actively take part in the demonstration. At its peak, there were about two hundred active participants in the protest. 

At about 12:45, protestors lined up directly in front of Kellogg Library and continued to chant and voice their demands. Ten minutes later, they headed to the USU. They marched around the field and back to Kellogg Plaza, where they formed a “free speech circle” with a megaphone placed at center.  

Students, faculty, and other local community members took turns speaking, sharing messages of outrage, solidarity, and hope. All of those involved want to see a major change in U.S and CSU policies addressing Israel and Palestine. 

They ended their demonstration at 1:30 pm with a dance to “Dammi Falastini.” The song translates to “My Blood is Palestinian” and expresses hope for Palestinian liberation. 

One student protestor expressed her enthusiasm for students finally coming together on campus to break their silence on the genocide: “Everything we do here, everything we say is from love. Love for the Palestinian people, for the children, for the families, for all of those who have lost their lives. That’s why we’re here.” 

The protest had a large and lively student turnout supporting it. Despite a handful of counter protestors and agitators, students remained peaceful and reaffirmed their moral stance on the issue. Additionally, there was very little overt police presence. 

Other North County community members were present, too, including some from Palomar College, MiraCosta College, and @northcounty4palestine. Some professors attended to show solidarity with student protestors. These professors mostly stayed on the sidelines, ensuring that students were safe and civil with one another. 

The organizers hope that students will continue to speak on Israel and Palestine. They also encourage students to continue speaking about Palestine and join future demonstrations.

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