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Police arrest protesters at Cal Poly Humboldt, campus remains closed

Police in riot gear prepare to enter the Cal Poly Humboldt Quad south of Siemens Hall
Kelby McIntosh
JPR News
Police in riot gear prepare to enter the Cal Poly Humboldt Quad south of Siemens Hall

Story courtesy of JPR. Follow the latest updates Here.

Early this morning, county and university police were sent to campus to clear out the occupied buildings and the areas around them, where protesters had set up tents and barricades, according to university spokesperson Aileen Yoo.

25 people were arrested, and there were no reported injuries, Yoo said. Those arrested face charges including, “unlawful assembly, vandalism, conspiracy, assault of police officers, and others.”

Students and university employees arrested could also face additional discipline.

Pro-Palestinian protesters had been occupying Siemens Hall on campus since April 22. After a violent encounter with police that night and three arrests, police presence on campus had remained fairly minimal throughout the week.

The Cal Poly Humboldt administration closed the campus through the end of the school year on May 10 because of the protests. This past weekend, they announced a hard closure of campus, meaning those on campus without authorization would be cited or arrested.

Students organized a rally on Monday night where over a hundred people showed up. Police began to surround the campus at around 1 a.m. Officers began arresting protesters at around 2:30 a.m.

According to multiple news outlets, Cal Poly Humboldt Assistant Professor Rouhollah Aghasaleh was among those arrested.

“In defiance of our wrongful arrest, I have chosen to reject any bond and embark on a hunger strike,” Aghasaleh said. “Until all of my students and me are released and justice is served, I will endure this hunger strike as a testament to the strength of my convictions and unwavering commitment to truth and justice.”

KRCR TV reporter Ademli Ruiz was also detained by police while recording the protest early Tuesday morning. She has since been released with no charges. Ruiz was livestreaming the protest on Facebook and she continued streaming through her arrest.

Cal Poly Humboldt President Tom Jackson provided the following statement Tuesday morning: “This is a difficult day, it breaks my heart to see it, and truly nobody wanted to see things come to this. We’ve all watched this with great concern, and always with the sincere hope that it would be resolved peacefully. Unfortunately, serious criminal activity that crossed the line well beyond the level of a protest had put the campus at ongoing risk. I commend the law enforcement team for their effort in resolving this very dangerous situation, and I’m incredibly grateful for the many agencies who advised us and who came to our aid in our time of need.”

Jackson had been silent since the beginning of the occupation. His inaction led to a vote of no confidence last week by the university general faculty, according to the Lost Coast Outpost. In it, the faculty asked for the president’s resignation, and to not pursue disciplinary or legal action against the protesters.

Protests have been growing in other parts of the region. A group of students set up an encampment on the lawn in front of the Knight Library at the University of Oregon on Monday. The Portland State University campus is also closed after demonstrators broke in and occupied the university library on Monday night.