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Encampment Moves to Pomona Commencement Stage

Marston Quad Encampment

Early in the morning on May 6, students at Pomona College began to rearrange the commencement fences on Marston Quad, transforming the graduation stage into a barricaded encampment for ‘Palestinian Liberation.’ The students announced plans to stay until the administration agrees to divest from arms manufacturers accused of complicity in what they call 'Israeli war crimes and settler-colonialism.' The group Pomona Divest Apartheid put it bluntly on Instagram: “NO COMMENCEMENT UNTIL DIVESTMENT.”

This protest follows the recent disbanding of a similar encampment at Pitzer College, where President Strom C. Thacker promised on May 3 to reveal any investments in military and weapons manufacturing by June 30. The action at Pomona also comes after a campus-wide referendum in February, showing over 80 percent support from respondents for divesting from companies tied to what they perceive as the apartheid system in Israel. On May 2, 64 percent of Pomona’s faculty supported a similar divestment resolution.

President Gabriel Starr of Pomona assured the faculty that the police would not interfere with the protestors and announced plans to address divestment issues in a faculty meeting scheduled for today. Meanwhile, Avis Hinkson, Vice President for Student Affairs, advised students via email to avoid the encampment area while the administration was handling the situation.

Within the encampment, the mood was one of calm determination — no shouting or chanting. Wearing black masks and keffiyehs, participants quietly brought in supplies and set up tables with vegan and halal food. As press members, we were asked to wear N95 masks for “COVID” precautions before being allowed inside, where a press liaison detailed the strategic goals for an "escalatory" campaign until the administration agreed to divest. The demonstrators, she explained, were a mix of students and community members, backed by legal counsel. When asked about potential compromises, the liaison rejected negotiating any further with what she called "settler-colonial institutions on Turtle Island." 

This is a developing story…


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