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Cal Poly Humboldt campus shut down through weekend as pro-Palestinian demonstrators occupy building

College campuses close across nation due to pro-Palestinian demonstrations
College campuses close across nation due to pro-Palestinian demonstrations 02:38

ARCATA – Cal Poly Humboldt will remain closed through at least the weekend after pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with police, and demonstrators occupied buildings.

Classes were moved online and the campus closed, according to a message posted on the college's website, on Tuesday. In an update message, they explained at least three people were arrested and as of Wednesday, students still occupied at least one building on campus.

"The University supports free speech through open dialogue that is respectful and constructive, but will not tolerate endangering people, destroying property, and disrupting campus," the statement from Cal Poly Humboldt read.

Video showed hundreds of protesters barricading one of Humboldt's buildings, Siemens Hall, refusing to leave on Monday.

Concerns over other buildings being occupied, along with other health and safety issues, prompted the college to close through the weekend. 

"The University is making various contingency plans, including possibly keeping campus closed beyond that," officials said in Wednesday's statement. 

Officials also hateful graffiti has been found painted on the college's property recently. 

"The University condemns in the strongest terms all forms of hatred, bigotry, and violence. Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, hatred, and bigotry in all forms have no place at Cal Poly Humboldt. The University is actively offering support to all students and has been in touch with local Jewish community leaders," Cal Poly Humboldt officials stated. 

Several Cal Poly Humboldt events have already been canceled, officials said, and other major events -- like IdeaFest -- could be up in the air. 

Sacramento State University student Samuel Martin has friends at the center of the chaos who described the scene that played out.

"From what they were telling me, what happened wasn't warranted, they didn't need to respond with such force," Martin said. "Whenever there has been a humanitarian crisis overseas, it has always been the young people who speak out about it."

While demonstrations have remained small and peaceful, the demands of those at Humboldt are that they disclose its ties and divest from Israel. 

"We will not negotiate our leaving until the university divests," the group Humboldt for Palestine wrote in a since-deleted statement on Instagram on Tuesday. 

Humboldt for Palestine released a new statement late Tuesday, claiming they didn't organize the protest and are just standing in solidarity with the demonstrators. 

"While we stand in solidarity with the students of CPH who have taken this action, we want to make it clear that Humboldt for Palestine was not a part of the planning or execution of this action, and that we do not represent or speak on behalf of this student led movement. We aim to provide support to the students in any way that we can and to amplify the voices of the students demanding divestment from the settler colonial project of israel and an end to the occupation of Palestine," the statement read

Demonstrations have spread at college campuses across the country, with pro-Palestinian supporters angry over the Israel-Hamas War. Most of these protestors are voicing their support for Palestinians and anger at Israel's handling of the war, not Jewish people.

That said, many Jewish students have expressed fear after allegations of antisemitism at these protests.

At UC Berkeley, protesters camped out overnight at Sproul Plaza. At Columbia University in New York, classes were also moved online after a week-long protest at the campus.

USC has also canceled its commencement speech citing "security concerns" over the class valedictorian, who is outspoken over her views about the Middle East conflict. 

On Monday, President Joe Biden condemned antisemitic comments he says were directed towards Jewish students – but also condemned anyone who doesn't realize what Palestinians are going through as the war rages on.

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