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Student encampments end at San Jose State University and University of San Francisco


The San Jose State student encampment opposing the war in Gaza, which had been in place for over a week as the school approached its commencement, came down Wednesday evening after a meeting between the protesters and school administrators.

The coalition of students leading the encampment — SJSU People’s University for Gaza and Students for Justice in Palestine — took down their tents and canopies on Wednesday night around 7:30 p.m. It was the most recent encampment at a Bay Area university to be disbanded after such camps began popping up last month.

On Tuesday, the student encampment at the University of San Francisco also came down. However, students at Stanford University were continuing to camp Thursday in protest of the war in Gaza.

Students broke down the camp at San Jose State following a Monday afternoon meeting between representatives from Students for Justice in Palestine and some of the university’s administration, which included President Cynthia Teniente-Matson and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Mari Fuentes-Martin, said university spokesperson Michelle Smith McDonald. The camp was in place since May 13.

McDonald said the students raised their demands to the administration, which included an acknowledgement of genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, transparency from the university on their financial investments and holdings, and divestment from companies that support Israel.

San Jose State officials responded in an email to students at the encampment, stating that the university had publicly posted a lengthy set of disclosures and document regarding investments, including by nonprofit organizations linked to the school.

The university also stated that they follow the California State University system’s investment policy, which states that the CSU has “no direct ownership of stocks or bonds based in Israel.” They also stated that $3.2 million, or less than 0.04% of CSU investments as of March 31, were invested in mutual funds in Israel.

Teniente-Matson also suggested the creation of a student advisory council made up of students from organizations that are affiliated with Middle Eastern issues, cultures and nationalities to work with faculty and address students’ concerns of university partnerships with Israel for study-abroad programs and internships with companies affiliated with Israel.

The student groups said in an Instagram post Wednesday that although they appreciated the progress made toward addressing their demands, they still asked the university to fully address all of their demands.

“This is not the end,” the students wrote in the post. “While there has been progress made towards most of our demands, and commitments to continue working on them, we are disappointed with SJSU’s overall response to this genocide these past eight months.”

Roughly a day before San Jose State students took down their encampment, students at the University of San Francisco abandoned their 50-tent camp, allowing university staff to pack up the tents and abandoned belongings.

The students that organized the encampment on Welch Field, which was in place since April 29, demanded that USF acknowledge the genocide of Palestinians, disclose all financial holdings the university has and divest from any companies that may be associated with Israel, end all academic partnerships with Israel and protect pro-Palestine speech and students on campus, according to a statement by university President Paul J. Fitzgerald on May 8.

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