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Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Students for Gaza SFSU paint admin red-handed

Students took to the administration building to paint the names of people who have died in Palestine
Dan Hernandez
Protestors lock arms as they chant in front of the Administration Building at San Francisco State University on Monday, May 13, 2024. (Dan Hernandez / Golden Gate Xpress)

Overcast sky, drizzle and red paint dripped from the walls of the Administration Building at San Francisco State University as student demonstrators wrote on it. 

At 7 a.m. on Monday morning, two student organizers from Students for Gaza SFSU approached the building with a wagon laden with paint, banners, and paintbrushes. 

Two pre-made banners — one with the names of those who have died in Gaza and the other with the phrase, “We will honor all our martyrs,” — were hung on the front of the building. As more members of Students for Gaza SFSU started showing up, students began painting on the building walls names of the victims of the siege on Gaza.

Pro-Palestinian protestors place banners on the Administration Building on Monday, May 13, 2024. (Cami Dominguez / Golden Gate Xpress)

Logan, a media liaison for the encampment who only gave their first name, explained that this act of protest was to show the administration that there is blood on their hands.

We’re here to fight and continue the fight, campus-wide, at all CSUs who want all divestment from the Israel occupation, and just letting them know and letting them see — you can’t ignore this,” Logan said. “Your silence is complicit and violence [is] complicit in genocide, and just [turning] a blind eye isn’t going to make what is going on going away. So we’re just showing them [that] it’s here, we’re here, they’re here. We’re fighting for them [Palestinians.]”

SFSU’s main entrance at 19th and Holloway was also painted over with red hand prints and slogans saying, “A child in Palestine is killed every 10 minutes” and “370 Palestinians are killed per day.” Also written in bold lettering are the same demands student protestors have consistently voiced to the SFSU administration — Demand, disclose, divest, declare.

Frederick Smith, associate vice president for equity and community inclusion, and Katie Lynch, associate vice president for enrollment management, spoke on behalf of Time, Place, and Manner, telling students that they were not allowed to paint on the building. Students then huddled together to decide their next course of action while taking down a banner they had put up.

A legal observer with the National Lawyers Guild, a group that provides attorneys for demonstrations organized by progressive groups, stood on the sidelines and approached demonstrators. They provided phone numbers for pro-bono or affordable legal hotlines in case any student was arrested or became involved in any legal conflicts.

Students reached an agreement to stop painting names on the administration building’s walls but said that they would continue to include protest slogans, such as, “We will honor all our martyrs.” Smith and Lynch left but Ingrid Williams, associate vice president for human resources, arrived and was more insistent that students stop painting. Once the saying was complete, students pivoted to chalking on the ground instead.

Sayings like, “Your tuition funds genocide” were written in front of the administration building.

Smith, Lynch and Williams declined to comment.

At 9:40 a.m., maintenance vehicles started to approach the administration building, followed by a truck towing a power washing machine. The truck first stopped in front of the administration building, then the entrance sign at 19th and Holloway before leaving without washing anything away.

The painting demonstration was to be followed by a closed-door information session with President Lynn Mahoney and lawyers. According to student sources, the administration requested that this meeting be private.

Around 30 students gathered outside the Seven Hills conference room and waited for the negotiators to return at 2 p.m.

Jasmin, a main organizer at the encampment, who declined to provide her last name, said that this was an important moment for the student community that supports Palestine.

“I’m in the encampment, even though I am a full-time student and I work full time. It means a lot to me — and being around other students that want to fight and want to do this together has been incredibly healing,” Jasmin said. “We’re so full of love. It’s a tough time where we’re feeling a lot of pain, but also being together — like during finals — has been a really important time for us.” 

Protestors clapped as negotiators exited the conference room. A student organizer spoke through a megaphone, asking people to walk back to the encampment to discuss what happened during the conversation with President Mahoney.

Later that afternoon, the power washer truck returned to the front of the administration building, where maintenance began power washing the names off the building. Students interfered, with some linking arms in front of the wall.

An SFSU employee power washes paint off the Administration Building on Monday, May 13, 2024. (Dan Hernandez / Golden Gate Xpress)

Chants of, “Admin, admin, what do you say? How many kids have you killed today?” and “ You can wash the paint off your walls, but you can’t wash the blood off your hands,” echoed in between the administration and Health and Social Science buildings while administrators stood on the sidelines.

Princess Hicks, an SFSU student, watched from the sidelines as the names were power washed off the wall and expressed a sense of pride toward the students who linked arms.

“I think the new generation is definitely, finally, finally getting some shit done — and it’s up to us to change what’s going on right now and I just think it’s overall great,” Hicks said. “I think everyone that organizes and everyone that’s a part of it is so brave and so strong. I’m so happy to be part of this generation, honestly.”

Mahoney did not respond to a request for comment from GGX at the time of publication.

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About the Contributors
Cami Dominguez
Cami Dominguez, Staff Reporter
Cami Dominguez (they/them) is a staff reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. They are majoring in journalism with a minor in political science. Cami has long had an interest in politics and, thus, local and grass-roots organizing. Born and raised in San Diego, California, they have previously been a staff writer in high school for Pulse Magazine, Canyon Crest Academy's publication. In their free time, they love binge-watching shows they have watched before, hyper-curating specific Spotify playlists, and snuggling up with any Sally Rooney book.
Dan Hernandez
Dan Hernandez, Visuals Editor
Dan Hernandez (he/him) is the Visuals Editor for Golden Gate Xpress, majoring in journalism and minoring in business administration. He is an award-winning multimedia journalist, applying his skills in both news reporting and press photography. He got his start in journalism at 15 years old as a staff writer for The Advocate at Contra Costa College before becoming editor-in-chief as a high school senior. Outside of journalism, he is probably camping on a road trip, playing water polo, riding his bike or dancing at concerts. He also goes by the nickname “Biscuit.”

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