Pro-Palestine activsts at Scripps College in October.
On Friday, February 2nd, approximately 200 students from the Claremont Colleges gathered at Pitzer College to demand Pitzer suspend its academic partnership with the University of Haifa, an Israeli university. The University of Haifa is currently listed as a direct-enroll study abroad option for Pitzer students.
According to a social media post from Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which organized the event with Claremont Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP), protesters demanded that “Pitzer College must suspend its program with the University of Haifa until Israeli universities end their complicity in Israeli apartheid, and ethnic cleansing” and that “Pitzer College must comply with the Palestinian-led call to uphold Boycott Divestment Sanction (BDS).”
Students gathered at the Pitzer clock tower for brief speeches by the event’s organizers before marching to the Broad Center to present their demands to Pitzer administrators. A representative of Pitzer noted that President Strom Thacker was not present, but that demonstrators were able to speak to Dean of Faculty Allen Omoto. Following the meeting, protesters marched through the building for approximately half an hour.
Pitzer’s partnership with the University of Haifa has been a longstanding target for activists at the Claremont Colleges. In 2018, the Pitzer faculty senate and College Council voted to conditionally suspend study abroad in Haifa, but the measure was vetoed by then-President Melvin Oliver. In April 2023, SJP relaunched the campaign to suspend the program. Since it was relaunched, over 140 Pitzer alumni have pledged to withhold donations from the College until activists’ demands are met.