Palestine Protesters Block Entry to Pomona College Building
Students protest Pomona's financial ties to Israel.
On Thursday, November 9th, students from across the Claremont Colleges protested at Pomona College, demanding divestment from Israel.
At 7:30 A.M., students dressed in black garb and face masks blocked off entrances to Alexander Hall, an administrative building, as well as the attached Career Development Office.
Holding up signs accusing Israel of apartheid, protesters chanted a number of slogans: “Pomona College you can’t hide, stop funding genocide... This blood is on your hands, Pomona we see where you stand... Israel bombs, Pomona pays, how many kids have you killed today?”
Students refused to relocate despite repeated requests from Campus Security officers. Administrative staff who worked in the building were forced to gather outside. Around 8AM, Campus Security found an access point that protesters were not blocking and allowed groups of staff in. Then, protesters blocked that entry as well.
Subsequent actions included a teach-in on Marston Quad at 11:00 A.M. and a march through Alexander Hall at noon. When asked for comment, several protesting students declined.
In an Instagram post shared on Tuesday, Claremont Students For Justice in Palestine (SJP) called on their peers to not attend class and “shut down” Pomona on Thursday. The students took issue with Pomona’s supposed investments in “U.S. weapons manufacturers and Israeli and Israeli-affiliated companies, who are actively profiting from the genocide and violent displacement of the Palestinian people.” This is the latest in a series of Claremont SJP protests responding to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
In anticipation of the protest, Pomona College President Gabi Starr and Dean of Student Life Avis Hinkson both sent emails to the student body. Starr announced, “Students and other participants in demonstrations may be asked to temporarily remove masks so that they can be recognized if potential conduct or demonstration policy violations appear to be taking place.” At previous events, SJP recommended all participants wear face masks to prevent identification.
A second Claremont SJP post responded to the administration, claiming Starr’s email was “fearmongering, … an attempt to discourage pro-Palestine organizing with empty threats.” The students justified their cause as “NOT an act of hate, discrimination, or violence. Anti-Zionism is NOT anti-Semitism.”