Cal Poly Humboldt student protesters remain on campus despite closure

Monday was quiet at Cal Poly Humboldt — but protesters continue to defy the university’s attempts at closing campus and sweeping out protesters. Siemens Hall is barricaded after briefly opening, Nelson Hall is still propped open and encampments are still up.

Cal Poly Humboldt announced Saturday that a “hard closure” is in effect for the campus amid a now weeklong anti-war protest. While the campus has been closed by the University since last Monday, the hard closure means “individuals are prohibited from entering or being on campus without permission. Work and academic instruction will be remote,” a news release said. The University news release said students living on campus only have permission to be in their residence hall or a dining facility — and said students will be subject to citation or arrest if they come on the campus without permission.

Despite this, protesters and pedestrians remained on campus Monday — walking dogs, feeding other protesters and hanging out in tents. Police didn’t seem to be stopping people from walking in on Monday morning. About the same number of tents remained up on lawns and people were serving breakfast at a mutual aid kitchen.

A vandalized bench at the center of the protest activity. The bench has a memorial for two then Humboldt State professors. A son of the couple said the vandalism, is antisemitic. (Sage Alexander/Times-Standard)

Cal Poly Humboldt’s University Senate voted last week on a cease-fire resolution. (Sage Alexander/Times-Standard)

Names of people who have been killed in the war have been written in chalk and on papers around the quad. On Monday, the ACLU’s northern California director visited campus. (Sage Alexander/Times-Standard)

Protesters added fences to barriers over the weekend. (Sage Alexander/Times-Standard)

People used benches, patio furniture, planters and other objects to barricade entrances. Dozens are still occupying the building. (Sage Alexander/Times-Standard)



Humboldt’s California Faculty Association has decried the hard closure Saturday when it was announced, calling it “yet another dangerous escalation of their response to a peaceful campus demonstration,” in a release.

“Student protestors and their numerous allies including faculty and staff, are still in the central campus area, now isolated and vulnerable to the kind of police violence that occurred April 22nd, the first night of the demonstration. The students and their allies are engaged in a peaceful protest, closing campus and introducing unneeded police presence puts students and others at an unnecessary risk of both physical and emotional harm,” the release said. The CFA has previously called on President Tom Jackson and Chief of Staff Mark Johnson to resign. The CFA also called on barriers to be removed, campus to be reopened, police officers to return to their home offices and administration to commit to student safety and negotiate with student protesters.

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The University’s communication department said in a Sunday release that “since Monday, the University’s goal has always been to bring a peaceful end to the occupation. The University continues to talk to anyone willing to have productive and respectful dialogue.”

The hard closure came with concrete barriers installed at a few roads blocking vehicles, placed on Saturday according to reporting by El Leñador.

Humboldt alumni Lissie Rydz, who had set up a tent between police barriers and protesters’ barriers, said Monday the connected nature of Humboldt has influenced the energy of the protests — there’s many entrances to the campus and she said community members have been stopping by to drop off food and supplies.

“We’re just trying to be like a welcome wagon basically for community of all kinds, including cops,” she said, calling for cops to sit with her under the tent among planting and camping supplies and talk it out.

Legal observers wearing green tape were watching the library circle on Monday. More police agencies were on campus including the California Highway Patrol, university police and Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.

Speaking on the closure, Rydz said the fear of an aggressive police crackdown remains on campus.

Sage Alexander can be reached at 707-441-0504

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