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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

Live Updates: Students for Gaza SFSU protest at CSU Board meeting

SFSU students travel via bus to CSU’s Long Beach headquarters to voice their demands in support of Gaza
Cami Dominguez
Students for Gaza SFSU and other student organizations from other CSU campuses walk to the CSU headquarters building where the Board of Trustees meeting is held on May 21, 2024. (Cami Dominguez/ Golden Gate Xpress)

A few dozen San Francisco State University students traveled to Long Beach to protest in support of Gaza at the scheduled CSU Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday.

The group, which traveled from San Francisco to Southern California overnight via a bus, intends to voice their demands for divestment from “entities committing genocide in Gaza,” according to the CSU Student Divestment Coalition.

A few individual CSU campuses have already taken steps toward divestment, including Sacramento State University and SFSU.

7:30 p.m. 

After a day of protesting and discussions, Students for Gaza SFSU have made their way to the bus with their belongings. 

5:00 p.m.

The Board of Trustees meeting ended at 5 p.m. after a total of eight hours. The topic of Israel-Palestine was brought up a number of times. None of the protesters’ demands were met. 

“As with the successful divestment at SFSU, this is an important first step. This was not the end step. We weren’t expecting for her [Mildred Garcia] to come out and be like, ‘damn, you’re right. we’re going to divest right now,’ right?,” said Sprout, a media liaison for Students for Gaza SFSU. “But we’re here to show up and let her know that we’re going to continue to be doing this for the entire foreseeable future.”

The crowd has shrunk down to SFSU students only, with a number scattering to get food in the neighboring areas until 7:30 p.m.

The bus is expected to arrive back at SFSU at 2 a.m. on Wednesday.

4:30 p.m. 

CSU students from Long Beach, Los Angeles, Sonoma, Sacramento, and Channel Islands are wrapping up their strategy meeting. No details were released to the press in order to preserve the integrity of their plans. 

The bus to SFSU is scheduled to leave at 7:30 p.m. For the time being, students are passing time in front of the Billie Jean King Main Library, throwing around a football and enjoying the warm Southern California weather.

The CSU Board of Trustees meeting is still continuing but has not touched on Israel-Palestine or divestment since 2 p.m.

3 p.m.

While the CSU students’ meeting continues outside, some students have gone inside the library to complete their finals.

2 p.m. 

During the Board of Trustees meeting, there are conversations about how the CSU discloses information. A point of information that was bounced among various board members was how the board discloses information about investments. Their main argument was that demands needed to be more specific.

Lilian Kimbell, a trustee and lawyer, talked about the issues she had with the language around divestment. 

“I think someone raised the issue of defense of the U.S. as well as defense of — depending about how you feel about the Israeli-Gaza situation — there is also Ukraine and if Taiwan were to be attacked by China, there are so many other allies and friends we have as well as our own security that these companies provide a service for,” Kimbell said.

Students left the Board of Trustees meeting to refuel after hours of protesting.

In front of the Billie Jean King Main Library, about 40 students split off into different groups to discuss how they thought the action today went. Talks of future actions and strategies are to be had during this general meeting.

The length of the meeting was not disclosed. The media was turned away.

1:00 p.m. 

While students surround the building and chant that the Board of Trustees contributes to genocide, the inside of the meeting is calm and controlled.

Students on the outside continue planning around a strategy meeting collectively with the CSU students present at 3 p.m. Discussion around a potential “teach-in” is also in the air.

12:50 p.m. 

Protest signs are held high while Palestinian flags fly as protesters take to the barricade set in front of the entrance and start chanting with megaphones. 

“When I say CSU, you say divest!” and “Divest from genocide” echo the lawn. Students leading the chants are encouraging the crowd to point at security. 

Protesters on the sidelines have started to tap on containers to rhythmically back the chants.

12:00 p.m. 

Participants took a break after the Latine and Filipino organizations finished speaking until the CSU meeting resumed. Students and outside participants have scattered on the lawn in front of the building, hydrating and eating the food they brought.

The break will end at 1 p.m. when the Board of Trustees meeting continues.

11:50 a.m.

CSU Chancellor Mildred Garcia gave a statement to the board.

“I’ve been listening to the voices of CSU stakeholders and constituents on this topic for months,” Garcia said. “But those voices have been markedly amplified for the past several weeks in my decades as an educational leader. I have never received as many calls, letters, and emails on a single topic — many thousands in the past three weeks. But while the voices have reached a crescendo, they are far from harmonious. In fact, they are deeply polarized, illustrating the current tension between two sets of CSU core values and commitments. Let me illustrate and let me be clear, the CSU stands unequivocally against acts of hatred, violence, injustice, discrimination, and more specifically antisemitism and Islamophobia. They are antithetical to the core values of the CSU which we hold dear throughout its 63-year history. These core values also include diversity of thought and freedom of expression… Please be assured that I remain committed to protecting CSU students’ rights to peacefully protest.”

11:20 a.m. 

Two professors from Long Beach, Steven Osuna and Jake Wilson refer to their university as “Boeing University” because of the investments it makes in Boeing, an aerospace company. 

“Today, we’re using Cal State Long Beach as a case study to basically expose the larger connection and complicity in the CSU system with the US-Israeli war machine and imperialism,” Wilson said. “The university’s long-standing partnership with Boeing showcases public higher ed’s connections to the U.S.-Israeli militarism and the ongoing genocide of Palestinians,” said Wilson.

Osuna followed Wilson’s sentiments comparing the CSU and its Board of Trustees to a corporation.

“The people inside this door here, these managers, the executives of the CSU that they’re running like a corporation right, the administration is what they call themselves, has invited Boeing company executives to become the university’s omnipresent corporate partner,” Osuna said.

The only speakers representing CSUs are from Sonoma, SFSU, and Sacramento State. 

11 a.m.

Protesters have made their way to the front of the CSU headquarters building. The ground is covered with multiple banners while protesters chant “We will not rest until divest.” Speakers have started.

Nadia, who did not provide a last name, is the first speaker from the Palestinian Youth Movement from CSU Dominguez Hills. 

“Our universities have partnerships and investments in companies that are complicit in zionist war crimes. The CSU invests millions of dollars into militarization and war, but refuses to fund higher wages for its faculty and affordable tuition for its students,” Nadia said. “We are here to hold the CSU Board of Trustees accountable for their participation in perpetuating war and oppression.”

10:40 a.m. 

Students have started marching on the street.

“Whose university? Our university” is being chanted.

The Long Beach Police Department is threatening arrest for anyone breaking the law at the rally. People have taken Ocean Boulevard by protesting. A police officer over a megaphone attached to a police car is saying the following:

“We are here to facilitate your first amendment right criminal activity to and acts of violence will not be tolerated….You are free to express your First Amendment right!” 

“Admin, Admin, you’re a coward. We the students have the power,” is chanted by the group. 

10:20 a.m.

The crowd has grown to about 60 people. Students from CSU Long Beach, Sacramento State, and Sonoma State are present in the crowd. The crowd buzzes with anticipation as people start to prepare for the march. 

There are three helicopters surrounding the scene as students look for chant leads to lead the rally. 

9 a.m.

Public comments started.

The Board of Trustees meet in Long Beach, California on May 21, 2024. (Cami Dominguez/Golden Gate Xpress) (Cami Dominguez)

“It cannot be overstated that the CSU — we not only respect our students’ rights to exercise free speech, we encourage it,” said Wendy Fong, a member of the Board of Trustees, after a break from public comments. “An essential tenet of our mission is to support our students as they establish their own unique voices, develop strong independent opinions and stand up for what they believe is right to do so in a nonviolent manner with respect for all individuals, spaces and communities.”

SFSU students did not partake in public comment at 9 a.m. as planned.

8:30 a.m.

Around 30 SFSU students arrived at Long Beach Civic Center, a few blocks away from where the Board of Trustees meeting will be taking place. The rally is set to start at 10 a.m. Students for Gaza SFSU is the first group to show up. 

Students have started unpacking food and supplies from the bus. Masks and water are being passed out. 

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About the Contributor
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.

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