May 21: CSU Students Rally for Divestment & against Gaza Genocide!

Hot out of our inbox, and happening tomorrow (Tuesday!)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2024
Media Contacts:
Sprout Madera: (707) 628-0007
Amy Parker: (562) 299-8551

HUNDREDS TO MARCH AND RALLY FOR DIVESTMENT FROM GAZA GENOCIDE AT CSU BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING

Long Beach, CA – On Tuesday, May 21, 2024, hundreds of students and community members will converge on the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees meeting to call for divestment from entities committing genocide in Gaza.

WHO: Hundreds of California State University students, alumni, faculty and staff from campuses across California
WHAT: March and rally at CSU Board of Trustees Meeting
WHEN: Tuesday, May 21, 10 A.M.
WHERE: Rally begins at 10 A.M. at Lincoln Park, 101 Pacific Avenue, Long Beach. Students
will march to CSU Board of Trustees meeting at the CSU Chancellor’s Office, 401 Golden Shore,
Long Beach, CA 90802
WHY: Students are demanding that the CSU system:

  1. Disclose all investments
  2. Divest from entities that are complicit in or plausibly committing genocide, ethnic cleansing and/or human rights violations
  3. Defend student activism
  4. Declare publicly that Israel is engaging in genocide, ethnic cleansing and settler-colonialism in Palestine in violation of international law.

** Designated student media liaisons will be available for interviews from 11:30 A.M. to 1:20 P.M.**

This protest comes after thousands of students set up encampments at eleven CSU campuses, demanding
their universities divest from the genocide of Palestinians.

Farah Ard’Lana, a Palestinian student expressed, “Being a part of the student intifada is an honor. No
student wants their tuition to ever go towards the ethnic cleansing or genocide of anyone. Especially when
you are Palestinian, you are forced into a terrible position of being complicit in the genocide of your own
people. To be able to achieve full divestment at Sacramento State with actual policy change feels like one
win in a pot of many more yet to come. We believe that it is the youth that will continue to make radical
change and continue to call out the hypocrisy and corruption of the Empire.”

We urge both Chancellor Garcia and the Board of Trustees to listen to, negotiate and work with their
students and recognize their demands through action and policy change. Should they find that they are
unable to do this, we call for them to immediately resign from their positions. We reiterate the demand for
all individuals who serve in these positions to center all students, especially those who are the most
vulnerable during the ongoing genocide in Palestine, particularly Palestinian, Arab and Muslim students.

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UPDATE Press Release from After the Event

HUNDREDS GATHER FROM ACROSS CALIFORNIA TO MARCH TO DEMAND
DIVESTMENT FROM GENOCIDE AT THE CSU BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING
Long Beach, CA – This morning, a crowd of around 150 students, faculty, staff and community members
from California State University (CSU) campuses across the state protested outside the CSU Board of
Trustees meeting to demand that the CSU system discloses, divests, defends and declares their
commitment to not invest CSU student’s tuition to fund the ongoing and active genocide of the
Palestinian people.
CSU students have made significant gains toward divestment on some campuses.
● Sacramento State successfully negotiated with President Luke Wood, embedding divestment in
the Policy on Policies, which also covers all Sacramento State auxiliary organizations. It is
effective immediately with language that has Sacramento States’s financial portfolio divest from
any entity that is complicit or plausibly committing “genocide, ethnic cleansings or human rights
violations.”
● San Francisco State University was the first school to host a public open bargaining session with
its president, Lynn Mahoney, and has won divestment from weapons manufacturing companies.
Human rights investment screenings will be added to the requirements later, and student
representatives will be appointed in the future to the Investment Committee.
● Sonoma State had their campus president make statements that they are committed to divestment,
disclosure and defending any students who participated in these actions. While the agreement was
tentative and pending exact implementation details, it created a strong framework for future
advancement. The status of this agreement is currently unknown, however, due to the
Chancellor’s unacceptable effective firing of President Mike Lee.
At Cal State Long Beach, President Conoley has ignored students in their demands for divestment.
Likewise, at Cal State Fullerton, University administrators released public statements refusing to divest or
acknowledge the plight of Palestinians despite mass rallies and campaigns calling for change.
Amy Parker, a student at Cal State Fullerton and the General Secretary of Titan YDSA, said that,
“representatives of all CSU campuses are gathering at the CSU Chancellor’s Office to make our demands
known that the $1.04 billion investment we have in an apartheid and genocidal state is unacceptable. We
are not going to sit calmly while our tuition dollars are funding a genocide and the CSU positions itself to
protect imperial Zionism. The students are taking a stand and the CSU’s policies should reflect the
students’ interests and demands.”
In recent months, CSU students have been setting up solidarity encampments at over ten campuses to
demand an end to CSU’s complicity in the genocide of Palestinians. They are calling on CSU Trustees to

divest from companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, a US-based defense technology company, and
Elbit Systems, an Israel-based military technology company.
On April 30, 2024, the CSU Chancellor, Mildred Garcia responded to the CSU system’s investment and
endowment portfolio: “In light of its fiduciary responsibilities and existing policies governing the
assessment of environmental, social, and governance risks, the California State University does not intend
to alter existing investment policies related to Israel or the Israel-Hamas conflict”.
Boyle Heights Beat investigated the matter further on May 2, 2024, “The wider Cal State University
System is being criticized for investing in companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, a US-based
defense technology company, and Elbit Systems, an Israel-based military technology company. The
[CSULA] SJP is asking for further transparency from the school to disclose its full list of financial ties to
Israel and its military.”
I find that Garcia’s statement refusing to divest from a nation, whose Prime Minister and Minister of
Defense have been charged with crimes against humanity on May 20, 2024, shows a direct disregard for
and disrespect to Palestinian students, faculty, and staff across the CSU system, who have witnessed well
before last October, their families being subjected to dehumanization, humiliation and torture, as well as
being cut off from food, water and other basic necessities during the routine ethnic cleansing by Israel and
especially as the ground invasion (referred to as the “the final stage of genocide”) is actively underway in
Rafah. Over 1.7 million Palestinians have been ethnically cleansed and forcibly moved to Rafah, to only
have Israel demand they move again or be massacred by US-made and funded weapons and bombs” says
Julia, a CSU faculty member.
CSU students have made significant gains toward divestment on some campuses. “We support the
divestment from Luke Wood, the commitment to divest from Israel from Mike Lee, and the willingness to
negotiate and divest from Lynn Mahoney. The CSU’s need to step up and be the voice of the students they
represent, not the voice of CSU Chancellor Mildred Garcia who doesn’t know what it means to be in
higher ed.” Farah Ard’Lana, another student, noted.
We also recognize the forced retirement of former President Mike Lee at Sonoma State as an egregious
act and form of retaliation for directly naming Israel in his statement. President Lee’s counterpart at
Sacramento State, President Luke Wood, who listened to students to fully divest and ensuring
transparency regarding the university’s investment portfolio earlier this month. While President Wood did
not explicitly mention Israel in his statement, he did not face any consequences for reaching an agreement
with students on his respective campus in comparison to former President Lee.
Sonoma State’s SJP President, Jules, says on the matter, “We condemn Chancellor Garcia’s actions
against President Lee. We condemn the egregious action of setting a person of color as an example. We
reject this fear mongering narrative, and actively stand with Lee on the right side of history. We condemn
the brutality and force used against students, and the institutional power used to silence and harm us. We
demand justice for President Lee, and for the students harmed by Chancellor Garcia and the CSU
system’s actions.”
Sacramento State’s SJP Vice President, Hamzah, concludes, “We urge both Chancellor Garcia and the
Board of Trustees to listen to their students and recognize their demands through actual structure and
policy change, like our president Luke Wood did. Should the Board and Garcia find that they are unable
to do this, we call for them to immediately resign from their positions. We reiterate the vital importance
for all individuals who serve in these positions to center all students, especially those who are the most
vulnerable during the ongoing genocide in Palestine. As students and people of conscience, we can not sit

on the sidelines and witness this genocide be funded by our tuition and tax dollars any longer. Disclose!
Divest! We will not stop! We will not rest! Long live the Student Intifada!”

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