Protesters demand justice and block ATMs on campus


Julia Grace, 22, women and gender studies major, writes in chalk in front of the Wells Fargo and Bank of America ATM machines during the protest against the DAPL and KPL funding from the two banks. (Mason Rockfellow/Xpress)

Video by Jason Rejali and Mason Rockfellow

Correction: a previous version of this article misspelled the name of University Police Department Deputy Chief Reginald Parson as “Parsons,” and also made reference to him as the UPD Chief Reginald Parson. Both errors have since been corrected.

SF State students demanded California State Universities divest from companies supporting the Keystone XL Pipeline and the North Dakota Access Pipeline by blocking the Wells Fargo and Bank of America ATMs outside the bookstore at noon Wednesday.

Members of the student organization Justice protested in front of the ATMs, keeping students from using the machines in a call for the University to replace them with credit union machines.

“They told me I couldn’t use it and they’re going to keep protesting until Wells Fargo divests their support of the pipeline in Dakota,” said Martha Griswold, an SF State graduate student. “I do support the protest, but I wish there was some way that it didn’t inconvenience me.”

There was a lot of back-and-forth exchange between demonstrators and students who wanted to access their bank accounts.

Eleven police officers arrived around 1:30 p.m. and spoke with the organizers from Justice. No students were arrested during the protest.

“Although students have a right to express free speech, they were violating portions of the Student Code of Conduct by blocking direct access to the machines,” University Police Department Deputy Chief Reginald Parson said via email.

SF State student Josh Fick said he bought his girlfriend flowers and needed to use a Wells Fargo Bank ATM to get bus fare.

Jessie Domingo services the campus machines and attempted to make a repair on Wednesday, but was also impeded and walled off by the student demonstration.

University Corporation Executive Director Jason Porth and Arthur Savangsy of the Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations, represented the University and the protesters in a mediation where a list of demands was given.

“The importance is that the U.S. recognizes their commitment to a people that they’ve already put down in paper, you know? And now they’re going back on their word,” said SF State art education major Jessica Monette.

Monette said standing up for this fight is demanding respect for everyone, not just Native Americans. “It’s our rights for water and it’s everyone’s rights — it’s everybody’s fight,” Monette said.

“We were originally notified of the activity in front of the ATMs when a member of the campus community attempted to use one of the machines but felt as if his/her access were denied,” UPD Deputy Chief Parson said via email.

Parson also stressed that UPD, in partnership with the University, supports peaceful campus activities and First Amendment speech protection.

“In general, our role within UPD is to maximize the value of the student experience, but do so in a way that peacefully protects all parties involved,”  Parson said.