8 days of pro-Palestinian protest ends in 31 arrests

One week after pro-Palestinian protesters occupied Siemens Hall at Cal Poly Humboldt, a multi-agency law enforcement operation with over 100 arrived to remove the protesters. Starting at 9:30 p.m on Monday April 29. A UPD squad car drove around campus playing a dispersal order, which specified where protesters could leave and threatened the use of tear gas and rubber bullets for those who remained. The crowd gathered in the university quad thinned out during the next five hours. Tensions grew as reports of a large police force headed to campus circulated around campus.

At 2:40 a.m. on Tuesday April 30, police arrived at CPH in riot gear and made their way up to the quad from Harpst St. to arrest the remaining protestors. Four CPH buses unloaded over one hundred officers outside the College Creek marketplace. 

The campus was put on a shelter-in-place order, meaning students living on campus faced the risk of being arrested if they left their dorms. 

Prior to the large police arrival, the American Civil Liberties Union for Northern California Executive Director Abdi Soltani and many public leaders from Yurok Tribe, Arcata City Council, Eureka City Council, Humboldt County Supervisor District, encouraged administration to find solutions and avoid violence. 

“Our main message to the university is that in resolving this issue through dialogue between the university administration, faculty, and the students rather than by a law enforcement response that would be used against the students of this very university,” Soltani said in a video interview Monday afternoon. 

On April 30 at 2:56 p.m., CPH announced that 31 individuals were arrested with no injuries. Police have since made it clear that anyone including the media can face arrest for entering the university without approval. 

Student draws a watermelon on the Cal Poly Humboldt SAC Quad as a symbol Palestinian Liberation during the third day of the protest.
Photo by Maryanne Casas-Perez

Daily highlights from the protest 


On Monday, April 22 at around 4 p.m., student protesters began their occupation of Siemens Hall, where President Tom Jackson’s and other admin offices are located. Two students and a community member were arrested around 7:23 p.m. when the police took down the barricade made of school furniture blocking the entrance to Siemens Hall.


All entrances of Siemens Hall were barricaded. Food and supplies were handed to protestors through windows. Prominent spaces on campus were painted with messages in support of Palestinian liberation, the university has claimed that the cost of cleanup and bringing in outside law enforcement could be in the millions.


CFA Teach-In. 


A meeting was held between faculty and student supporters of the protest at Nelson Hall. In this meeting, Provost Capps revealed a document created with a higher admin. It claimed that the university had 1% of its investments possibly related to Israel. 

Over 50 tents were set up outside of Siemens Hall and protesters were prepared for another night of occupation.


A campus-wide email announced that the school would allow students to leave the protest at a check out table allowing protesters to,”vacate the premises without fear of immediate arrest.”

Molly Kresl, Associate Dean of Students, said they would collect personal information from students outside the student health center.

Dean of Students Mitch Mitchell said the university collected information about protesters with UPD, IT services, and other information from students and witnesses.The university did not respond to El Leñador’s question about how many students were given interim suspension. Protestors opened the front doors to siemens hall for a few hours, it was closed later that day. 


Another campus-wide email announced a hard closure that would prohibit individuals from entering or being on campus without permission. Anyone on campus without permission is subject to citation or arrest. 

Protesters discussed in the quad the national attention that the CPH occupation had received and what demands would need to be met for the occupation to end.

Deescalate: Not allowing police on campus and not bringing any punishment to student protesters.

Divest: Have an open process where investments going to Israel are reinvested locally.

Declare: For the campus to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Palestine and for CPH to pressure California State University systems to do the same.


KRFH and KMUD reported at 4:15 p.m. that 200 police would be arriving from Blue Lake Casino at 10 p.m on Monday. This information came from an anonymous but trusted source. 

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