UCLA students angry at anti-Israel protesters – California Globe

At first, the protests on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles were simply one of the first pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the country. Throughout April, it grew into one of the largest in the country, its encampment dwarfing even that of Columbia in New York. However, supporters of Israel and those who oppose anti-Semitism have begun to challenge these protesters on campus. During the first clash, the two sides fought until the police dispersed them. Not wanting the police to suppress the protesters, the University detained them after the first incident.

However, a few days later, a second fight broke out, with fireworks being fired at protesters on campus. It took hours before the police were finally assembled and brought in, delayed by the University hoping to avoid having them on campus. A total of 15 people were injured, one of whom was hospitalized. As the UCLA administration felt pressure following the second incident, the LAPD and California Highway Patrol finally dismantled the camp on May 2. This led to the arrest of 210 people and the destruction of the camp. The campus was also closed for the rest of the week as a precaution, leaving protesters nowhere to go. The demolished encampment and the arrests made international news. Some demonstrations still resumed, with the participation of certain professors, but the University estimates that they had mostly calmed down afterwards.

With the encampment gone, UCLA was set to resume in-person classes this week. However, this turned out to be wishful thinking. The campus was closed Monday and classes were then moved to remote all week due to another major protest occurring in a parking lot. Police cleared it early Monday and arrested 43 other protesters. The University, having already planned consequences for the protesters, also decided to go after the counter-protesters who acted violently. The LAPD will even implement facial recognition software to help find those responsible.

And as of Wednesday, that’s where things stand at UCLA. Pro-Hamas, pro-Palestine and counter-protesters were largely turned off campus due to its remoteness. Law enforcement is present on campus to prevent other large demonstrations. Classes at UCLA are still scheduled to begin June 13-16, with the university fortunate not to have scheduled them for May, unlike other universities that had to cancel or were disrupted . Even its cross-town rival, USC, canceled its kickoff.

But students on campus are unhappy. After years of COVID restrictions and finally returning to the traditional college experience, the protests have prompted an uncomfortable return to remote classes, with some students fearing that after high school graduations were canceled due to COVID -19, students graduating 4 years later may now be required to have the same type of distance education degree.

Students denounce protests

“Don’t judge UCLA students based on these protests,” student Rachel Diaz told the Globe on Wednesday. “Most of us may feel more for the Palestinians or for Israel, but we don’t protest or involve the police. We just have an opinion and then we go to class because we want to learn. We want to write papers, do projects, and get that experience. Okay, haha, wanting to write articles is a bit of a stretch, but you know what I mean.

“We pay for it, our parents pay for it, we have scholarships or loans to come here. Most of us want to get that degree. But these protesters, and the counter-protesters, are ruining everything. I understand that they have the right to protest and that they are very sensitive to the situation in Gaza and want the university to divest, but when they make the situation worse for the rest of us, they are crossing the line . »

“You don’t hear this in the media, but a lot of us are angry at them for forcing us to move away again. I’d say at least well over half the students here.

“You should hear what we say to each other or text each other,” said Greg, another student. “Many of us want the protesters to be expelled or suspended. We want their scholarships taken away from them. We want them not to be able to live on campus. No housing assistance. Not being able to get a job on campus. That’s what most of us think.

“Right now, if you see what’s going on, it’s just loud protesters and everyone thinks all students think like that. And we don’t. Do you know who the average student is on campus right now? They just go to class. Yeah, we could talk about parties and things like that. It’s the university. But we also know how to study and do all the work to come. We are also UCLA. But these protesters. Why can’t they be at peace? Why can’t they be non-disruptive? »

A third student, Carmen, said: “I would say more students were on the side of the protesters until this huge encampment and campus was shut down. Now, more students are happy to see police on campus. I still go out there even with distance learning and it’s finally quiet.

“I missed my high school diploma because of COVID, and if they make me miss my diploma this year, I don’t know what I’ll do. My parents just want to see me get this degree on stage. I will be the first college graduate in my family in the United States. These protesters can’t take that away from me, or any of us.

Printable, PDF and email version