Students and supporters engage in a group stretching exercise. | Photos: Andrew Goff.


Colorful protest signs, dome tents and graffiti had proliferated across the Cal Poly Humboldt campus on Wednesday, the second full day of an ongoing student demonstration in support of Palestine. Hand-painted signs and chalk slogans on concrete called for a free Palestine, an immediate ceasefire and an end to the Israeli occupation of Gaza, among other messages.

The campus will remain closed through the weekend as an untold number of students continue to occupy Siemens Hall, which was the site of a violent confrontation with police Monday evening. Three protesters were arrested.

The entrances to the building have since been barricaded with picnic tables, garbage dumpsters, metal desks, wooden benches and more.

Photo by Ryan Burns.


Outside the main door this morning, a few masked protesters stood behind portable tables that had been stocked with coffee, snacks, paper plates and cutlery. Loaves of bread sat next to a rice cooker and some large pots and pans had been stacked next to a propane cookstove. Underneath one of the tables, a supply of bottled water was placed alongside a bullhorn and a coiled extension cord. 

Reporters were not being allowed inside the building, but outside on the university quad, several dozen students had gathered to speak with each other and make new protest signs ahead of a scheduled “teach in” from the faculty association scheduled for noon.

Student protesters who’d assembled at a side entrance to Siemens Hall sat in a circle of camp chairs. One had an orange dog on his lap. 

“I’ve had him since I was seven,” the young man said. None present wanted to speak about the protest in any official capacity but several of them stressed that their demonstration was completely non-violent and peaceful until law enforcement arrived, and it has been peaceful since the cops left. 

Since Tuesday, dozens of tents have sprung up around the perimeter of Siemens Hall.


Another student protester, who wore a face mask and asked to remain anonymous, told the Outpost that while this protest has no official organization and no firmly established terms, students’ determination is unwavering.

“We’re seeing a genocide happen in real time,” she said. “And I feel like —  we, as a community, feel like — we have to do what we can to try to stand up … and stop it. History is watching and our actions since October 7 will be remembered.” 

What’s their goal?

“We do have a general list of five demands that are agreed upon,” the protester said. Those demands, as she explained them, are as follows:

  1. “First, the divestment of anything profiting off of or associated with Israel, including weapons manufacturers, exploitation of the West Bank as well as any firms that invest in those activities.”
  2. “Boycott all Israeli academic institutions.” Asked how Cal Poly Humboldt is currently involved in such institutions, the student referenced a study-abroad program that includes the University of Haifa in Israel.
  3. “We want the university to publicly call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.”
  4. “We want the University to promise that there will be no charges, either criminal charges or disciplinary action … taken against any protesters.”
  5. “We want the university to either amend or remove the time, manner or place clause [of its free expression policy] which allows them to call the police on students for organizing in ways that they deem inappropriate.”

She said the student protesters had no intention of barricading Siemens Hall until the university called for backup from multiple regional law enforcement agencies. 

“It’s civil disobedience,” she said. “The purpose was actually not to interrupt classes. The original intention was to allow for classes to continue and merely make our presence known to the administration officers that were in the building.”

Things have been peaceful since law enforcement left Monday night, she added, noting that several live bands performed on the quad last night. More are expected to play this evening.

As more students continued to gather, a junior forestry major named Justice Borchard got a bird’s eye view from the second-story balcony of the Gutswurrak Student Activities Center overlooking the quad.

He snapped a couple of photos of the crowd below with his phone. 

Asked his thoughts on the demonstration, Borchard said, “It’s kind of silly. That’s what I think, honestly. … I mean, if you want real action, go [demonstrate] in front of the Capitol. If you want real action, go do it in front of people who can make changes, not [a place for] education”

Borchard said he’s annoyed that he’s been unable to go to class and turn in his homework. He doesn’t have a firm opinion about what’s happening in the Middle East; he thinks the governments of both Israel and Palestine “do bad things.” But the only thing directly affecting his life right now is this protest.

“This is just kind of dumb to me,” Borchard said. “I come here to learn and people want to yap at me about social issues. I’m not here to put a big change in society. I’m here to go and be productive afterwards.”

After graduation he wants to get work on forestry conservation efforts here in California.

Cleaning supplies outside Founders Hall. | Photo by Ryan Burns.


Up at the top of the long staircase that leads to Founders Hall, a painter on the university’s payroll was outside the front doors with a plastic bucket and bottle of cleaning solvent, using a squeegee in an attempt to scrub off a newly painted message on the building’s exterior: “From the River 2 DA Sea!!!”

More words had been scrawled on the metal-framed entrance doors: “FREE GAZA” and “FREE PALESTINE.”

Much like Borchard, the painter, who asked to remain anonymous, was irked by some of the tactics being deployed in this protest. 

“I completely agree that students have the right to do what they’re doing,” he said. “But the police presence they complain about, it’s been gone for a day and a half, and we’re continuing to still have destruction and vandalism all over buildings.”

He initially thought the blue lettering applied to the orange paint of Founders Hall was chalk. Instead it turned out to be some kind of non-water-soluble paint, he said. And he was pretty sure that the words on the metal doors will leave an indelible stain.

“We’re getting ready for commencement,” the painter said. “It’s just a shame, because … there’s tags along this whole building.” He also pointed to newly applied graffiti on the Van Duzer Theatre and other prominent campus buildings. “So they’re spreading out from their area and tagging, and I just think the destruction is taking away from the cause.”

A protester addresses the crowd gathered on the UC Quad.


Back down on the quad, a woman with a bullhorn addressed the gathered crowd. 

“I just want to thank you for joining us on this historic event,” she said before acknowledging that all present were standing on the stolen land of the Wiyot people.

“And Palestinians are fighting for their right to exist on their land. This is all indigenous land, and our struggles are connected,” she said.

She then called for a round of applause for the brave people occupying the building across the quad.

“There are important lessons going on here in Siemens Hall, and we are here to learn,” she announced. “We also thought that the fact that the buildings were closed could be an opportunity for us to build the university we would like to see.”

She launched a call-and-response chant: “Whose university?”

Our university,” the crowd replied in unison.

Later that afternoon, a DJ on student radio station KRFH put out a call for items that the barricaded protesters had requested, including milk of magnesia, tourniquets, paper cups and bowls and more sidewalk chalk.

Graffiti on the Theatre Arts building has been altered since Tuesday to remove the “River to Sea’ message

“LANDBACK” scrawled on the student activity center.

Cal Poly Humboldt lecturer Aaron Donaldson speaks with a television news reporter.

Signs strewn about in front of Siemens Hall.

Dumpsters arranged to block the path to the UC Quad.

“Free Clothes” outside Siemens Hall.

A display lists the names of some of the Palestinian children believed to have been killed in Gaza.

A sign announcing the closure of the CPH Library.

A group gathered by one of the barricaded entrances to Siemens Hall.

Concrete chalk art depicts a water jug, which has become a memeable symbol of student resistance.

The latest issue of the student-run newspaper The Lumberjack was widely read by those on campus Wednesday.