Cal State LA: Pro-Palestinian Protesters Vandalize Campus Building

Several Cal State LA administrators sheltered in place as vandals smashed windows, graffitied walls, and overturned furniture to barricade the building.
Published: June 14, 2024

LOS ANGELES — Several Cal State Los Angeles administrators sheltered in place Wednesday night as dozens of demonstrators vandalized and occupied a campus building.

A group of 50 to 100 demonstrators wearing face coverings broke off from a nearby encampment, which has been active for more than a month, and barricaded the Student Services Building using overturned furniture and golf carts, KTLA reports. Footage from the scene shows pro-Palestinian statements graffitied on the walls and windows, including “We see the blood on your hands” and “Divest from death.” Windows were also smashed and trash was strewn inside and outside the building. Some protesters removed copy machines, vending machines, and furniture from inside the building to reinforce the barricade late into the night.

The university sent an alert to students and staff urging anyone in the building to shelter in place and lock doors. Others were told to avoid the area and leave campus.

The building houses the offices of Cal State LA President Berenecea Johnson Eanes and several other administrators. Officials said 58 employees were escorted out of the building around 6 p.m., according to Fox 11. About half a dozen administrators, including Eanes, remained in the building until after midnight to manage the situation. The staffers were accompanied by campus police and locked inside a suite of offices.

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Cal State LA spokesperson Erik Frost Hollins said the takeover ended early Thursday without arrests but that the damage inside the building was “extensive.”

“We don’t have an exact appraisal on it but there was damage to the exterior, the interior, equipment, materials, structure — it was significant damage,” he said.

While no arrests were made, Eanes said assaults were reported by three employees and one student.

Pro-Palestinian Protester: ‘Property Isn’t Sacred’

Protesters told KTLA that the vandalism was in response to “radio silence” from the university regarding demands to divest from Israel-based businesses. Some wrote on social media that Eanes “continues to dance around and repress our divestment demands.”

“We don’t think property is sacred,” one protester said. “We believe that lives are more important than property. Especially when our money goes to this school. This is extensively our university, but we aren’t treated that way.”

In a statement sent to the campus community Thursday afternoon, Eanes said she has engaged with protesters who have occupied the encampment but that a line was crossed and “those in the encampment must leave.”

“So long as the encampment remained non-violent, I was committed that the university would continue to talk,” she wrote. “I am saddened, and I am angry. Know that we will recover from this, but also know that I am committed to doing everything we can to ensure this will never be allowed to repeat. I cannot and would not protect anyone who is directly identified as having participated in last night’s illegal activities from being held accountable.”

The university announced all main campus classes and operations would be remote until further notice.

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