May 3—Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have spread across college campuses in California and throughout the country, with students calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war and demanding that school administrators stop all investments tied to Israel.

Students at more than a dozen major universities in California — including UC Berkeley, Stanford and San Francisco State in the Bay Area — have rallied and set up encampments, holding study groups, prayers, art workshops and more. In some cases, demonstrations and the response to them have disrupted academics, campus life and commencement plans.

Some violence has occurred, including clashes between protesters and counterprotesters at UC Berkeley and at UCLA, where a group of masked pro- Israel counterprotesters attacked the student encampment.

The protests have largely been peaceful, though some Jewish students have reported feeling unsafe amid claims of increasing antisemitism. More than half of both Jewish and Muslim college students reported they were fearful because of their stances on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to a recent report by the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats.

Several thousand protesters have been arrested on campuses nationwide, including California schools such as UCLA, USC and Humboldt State, though no arrests have been reported so far in the Bay Area. While protesters have accused colleges of suppressing their free speech, legal experts say officials may stay within the law as long as they penalize students for their actions and not their opinions.

Protests at universities had been happening since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 250 hostages, 100 of whom are still being held. In the ensuing war, Israel has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians in Gaza, the majority of them women and children, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The current movement was sparked by an April 17 protest at Columbia University in New York, during which administrators called in the city's Police Department to clear student encampments. More than 100 students were arrested, prompting faculty members to rally in support of the demonstrators and condemn the arrests. In solidarity, students at campuses across the country began following suit.

Here are the California colleges where major pro-Palestinian demonstrations and protests are taking place.


San Francisco State University

Hundreds of SFSU students rallied at Malcolm X Plaza on Monday afternoon, and demonstrators set up a dozen tents outside the student union. Students are demanding that SFSU and the California State University system divest from Israel and "stop investing our tuition in genocide," organizers said. Administrators said the university will respect the rights of students to peacefully protest while working to ensure the safety of protesters and the campus community.

UC Berkeley

On April 22, students established an encampment with rows of tents on the steps of the administrative building Sproul Hall and pledged to stay outside until the university divests from companies doing business in Israel and creates a Palestinian studies program. The Jewish Community Relations Council Bay Area on X called the protesters' words "abhorrent" but said they have a right to free speech and assembly, and that administrators were "committed to ensuring Jewish safety and participation in campus life." Some violence has occurred, with three people injured in a confrontation between protesters and counterprotesters on Wednesday. Campus officials issued a statement "urging everyone to avoid engaging in pointless provocation and physical conflict" and condemning violence by protesters on either side.

Stanford University

Students erected a " People's University for Palestine" encampment at White Memorial Plaza on April 25. The next day, administrators threatened to discipline or arrest protesters who camp overnight, saying free expression is allowed at White Plaza but that overnight camping isn't. However, the encampment has remained in place. No arrests have been reported.

University of San Francisco

Students at the private college on April 29 launched a " Popular University for Gaza" encampment.

Sonoma State University

The "SSU Gaza Solidarity Encampment" on Person Lawn was set up at the Rohnert Park campus on April 26. In a campus-wide message to the campus community Sunday, Sonoma State President Mike Lee said the protest has been peaceful. The university's Police Department has been monitoring the protest and "have not found it necessary to take any action at this time," Lee said.


Cal Poly Humboldt

Police arrested more than 20 people, including students, faculty and one journalist, early Tuesday morning on Cal Poly Humboldt's campus after issuing warnings to disperse for several hours. The arrests and further attempts by police to clear the encampment of protesters calling for a cease-fire in Gaza and an end to U.S. military support for Israel reflected simmering tensions on the Northern California campus. after days of demonstrations. Students occupied two buildings over the weekend.

The university announced a hard closure of the campus, prohibiting people from being on or entering the campus without permission. All instruction and work has shifted to remote during the closure, which will remain in effect through the end of the semester on May 10.

UC Santa Cruz

The Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at UC Santa Cruz launched an encampment at Quarry Plaza on Wednesday afternoon, according to an Instagram post.

Sacramento State University

The Sacramento State chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine launched an encampment at the Library Quad on Monday. A university spokesperson told the State Hornet, the student newspaper, that protesters will need to disperse by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.


University of Southern California

The Los Angeles Police Department arrested 93 people at the University of Southern California on April 24 amid protests against the Israel-Hamas war and the university's cancellation of the graduation speech of a pro-Palestinian valedictorian. The next day, the university announced it was canceling its main commencement ceremony on May 10. In response, two prominent speakers scheduled to appear at satellite graduation ceremonies dropped out and are calling on others to join them in a boycott, the Los Angeles Times reported. The university subsequently announced plans for a "Trojan Family" graduation event on May 9 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.


Students and supporters set up a tent encampment in front of Royce Hall on April 25. It had grown to include about 1,000 pro-Palestinian protesters by late Tuesday night, when violence erupted, as pro- Israelcounterprotesters tore down encampment barricades and threw fireworks, pieces of wood and other objects. Calm was restored on Wednesday, as university officials and encampment leaders met but failed to reach agreement on a voluntary end to the protest. Early Thursday, police broke up the camp and arrested 210 pro-Palestinian protesters. Protesters fought with police, and officers deployed rubber bullets, but no serious injuries were reported. Campus operations were limited Thursday and Friday, with in-person classes required to meet remotely.

UC Irvine

The UCI Gaza Solidarity Encampment was launched on Monday. Students organized the first day with a rally, teach-ins, art activities and games, meals and a prayer break.

UC Santa Barbara

Students have organized protests around campus, some setting up tents and hosting workshops at the university's student resource building on Monday, according to News Channel 3-12.

UC San Diego

The UC San Diego chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine launched an encampment Wednesday morning at Library Walk on campus, according to an Instagram post.

UC Riverside

Students launched an encampment at the Belltower Lawn on Monday morning, organizers announced in an Instagram post.

Occidental College

An encampment was set up Monday morning on the campus Quad, according to an Instagram post by the group Students for Justice in Palestine at Occidental College.

Claremont Colleges

Demonstrations at three Claremont College campuses — Harvey Mudd, Pitzer and Pomona — halted alumni festivities over the weekend of April 27, according to the Claremont Courier. A pro-Palestinian encampment was set up at Pitzer College, the outlet reported.

Reach Jessica Flores:; Twitter: @jesssmflores


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