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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

President Luke Wood extends encampment approval on second day of pro-Palestine protests

‘The encampment can last as long as it continues to be what it is’
Alyssa Branum
The pro-Palestine encampment setup of tents and supplies for day two in the free speech zone of the Library Quad Tuesday, April 30, 2024. The encampment is in response to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

UPDATE May 1: The announcement by Sacramento State and President Luke Wood has been updated. Read more here.

Editor’s note: the names of certain sources have been kept anonymous for the sake of minimizing harm and protecting their safety.

On the second day of the pro-Palestine encampment, President Luke Wood lifted the original deadline for protesters camping at Sacramento State’s Library Quad, allowing participants to remain indefinitely.

Vice President of Student Affairs, Aniesha Mitchell, delivered a letter to the encampment on Monday setting a deadline for Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. for their encampment. As of Tuesday, Wood is granting protesters permission to remain so long as they abide by campus safety policies.

“As far as I’m concerned, the encampment can last as long as it continues to be what it is, which is a positive demonstration of free speech, as long as it’s safe, and as long as we’re making sure we’re handling the discussions in the right way,” Wood said to The State Hornet.

RELATED: ‘We’re going to be here until the CSU system divests’: Students and organizers comment on Sac State encampment

Wood said the right thing to do when addressing the encampment is to stay in constant communication with the protesters and coordinate with faculty who are doing regular check-ins.

“There’s a lot of examples of what happens when things go wrong,” Wood said. “I think there’s a lot we can learn from that. The right thing to do is make sure that we’re supporting students in being able to express themselves.”

California State University has no plans of meeting the protesters’ demands of changing investments currently held by the system, according to a statement to The State Hornet. The statement reads as follows:

In light of its fiduciary responsibilities and existing policies governing the assessment of environmental, social and governance risks, the California State University does not intend to alter existing investment policies related to Israel or the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Because of state law and CSU’s investment policies restrictions, the CSU does not invest in direct stocks or equities in any companies. The system does invest in mutual funds, bonds and other instruments.

Through careful management of the university funds, CSU investments provide a stable revenue stream that benefits our students and faculty, and supports our critical campus facilities, scholarships, and other key elements of our educational mission.

While the CSU affirms the right of our community members to express diverse viewpoints, a divestment of this sort impinges on the academic freedom of our students and faculty and the unfettered exchange of ideas on our campuses.

Wood said that Sac State has no control over the investment decisions made by the CSU chancellor’s office, as CSU finances are operated on a state level. He also said he believes Sac State does not hold any direct ties to the CSU investments.

“We’ve had a chance to look at our foundation accounts and we have no direct investments in any of the areas of concern that have been raised by students,” Wood said.

Wood said that his team is working on an analysis of all their direct and indirect investments, as he feels he should discuss with his foundation board what he can do at a local campus level.

“Doesn’t mean anything is going to change, but there should be at least a conversation,” Wood said. “I’m gonna make sure that they are aware that this is something that they should be thinking about in terms of what they think is the right stance.”

A sign displayed outside the pro-Palestine encampment in the Library Quad Tuesday, April 30, 2024. Most signage and artwork reads the phrase “Free Palestine” around the encampment. (Alyssa Branum)

An anonymous Students for Justice in Palestine member expressed the decision by Wood as fortuitous since encamped protesters will be there for a while.

“Someone’s going to have to flinch first,” the SJP member said. “Based on the energy and the passion of the people here, I don’t think it’s going to be us.”

Prior to Wood extending approval for the demonstration, the protestors held a press conference outside of the encampment on Tuesday declaring they would defy the deadline.

Ethos, a community member and media liaison for the protesters, confirmed that protesters have been in direct contact with Wood and campus administration.

“This is a protest,” Ethos said. “We are going to be here until our demands are met and the chancellor and the Board of Trustees reach out to start negotiations.”

Hamzah, a senior at Sac State, said he wants people to empathize with the students here on campus as much as the civilians in Gaza.

“If you’re not thinking about the innocent people in Gaza, you could at least think of the students here,” Hamzah said. “You’re giving money to Israel, while our students have to pay $120 for a parking pass.”

Wood reiterated that the protests here and across the world are noteworthy because they’re not just protests but encampments.

“I just want people to know that we’re doing everything we can to prioritize the balance between safety and the balance between free speech,” Wood said.

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About the Contributors
Alexander Musa
Alexander Musa, News Staffer
(he/him) Alexander Musa is a senior journalism major who transferred into Sacramento State from American River College back in 2023. Previously a staff writer, editor, and designer for the American River Current, he joined The State Hornet this semester as he seeks to graduate with a bachelor's degree by spring of next year.
Mercy Sosa
Mercy Sosa, Editor-in-Chief
San Diego native Mercy Sosa returns in spring 2024 as the editor-in-chief at The State Hornet. She joined The Hornet in spring 2020 as a politics beat writer; she later served as news, digital and Spanish language editor. Sosa has freelanced for Sacramento Business Journal, Solving Sacramento and Univision.
Julianna Rodriguez
Julianna Rodriguez, DEI Editor
(she/her) Julianna Rodriguez joined The State Hornet in fall 2023 as a DEI staffer and is now the editor for DEI. She is a senior public relations major, and hopes to become a publicist or work for a PR firm after graduating this spring.
Analah Wallace
Analah Wallace, News Editor
(they/them) Analah is in their second semester at The State Hornet and their first semester as the news editor. Their passion lies in news reporting and they hope to use their time on the publication to bring back an appreciation for general news writing. Their overall goal is to make the public trust in journalists again, and they hope to one day be a journalist in a big city.
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  • stevenMay 1, 2024 at 11:16 am

    Why aren’t you identifying the names of these people? Where are the voices of those who oppose this illegal activity. This “article” is propaganda