Cal Poly Humboldt officials are closing the campus for the remainder of the semester with classwork continuing remotely, as pro-Palestinian student activists refuse to end their occupation of two academic buildings.

This closure means that anyone on campus without authorization by University Police is subject to citation or arrest, the university wrote in a statement Saturday. Students living on campus are being asked to limit their movement to between their residence hall and dorms, and they cannot be on other parts of campus “until further updates.”

The far Northern California campus had already been shut down since Monday, when dozens of students set up an encampment inside Siemens Hall, an academic and administrative building, at the Arcata school in an act of “solidarity with those facing genocide in Gaza,” organizers said. They demanded that the university divest from Israeli companies and weapons manufacturers.

University administrators called in riot police to clear the encampment, resulting in a clash with protesters and three arrests.

“Those who are staying in there are not staying in there for noble causes. They’re criminals,” University President Tom Jackson told the Eureka Times-Standard.

Jackson also said the closure, which is set to last through May 10,  could end up impacting commencement, scheduled for the following day.

“What we’ve seen since Monday evening is protesters trying to break into multiple locked buildings across campus, which has and continues to create an unsafe learning and working environment,” wrote Aileen Yoo, a university spokesperson, in a statement. “The university closed the campus for the safety of our campus community.”

On Friday afternoon administrators demanded that students end the occupation in two buildings, Siemens Hall and Nelson Hall East, by 5 p.m. or face arrest. Students who complied peacefully would “not be immediately arrested,” the university said, but could still face further “university conduct-related sanctions or legal implications.”

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But as of Friday evening, several student activists remained at Siemens Hall, saying that they would not leave until the university met their demands, the student newspaper reported.

Photos from inside Siemens Hall show Jackson’s office spray-painted with messages like “Viva viva Palestina!” and “Blood on your hands.” Protesters also scattered desks and chairs around the halls, and covered the walls in pro-Palestinian graffiti.

University administrators told the Los Angeles Times that the damages could cost the school millions of dollars.



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