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Photos taken inside the encampment by DJ Alla

By: DJ Alla

KZSC’s DJ Alla meets with a media liaison for the UCSC Students for Justice in Palestine organization, regarding their current encampment in the UCSC quarry, their demands for the UC, and more. 

UCSC Students for Justice in Palestine has been organizing on campus since 2015. Since the events of October 7th, 2023 they have been organizing rallies, walk-outs, and meetings to educate students about what is happening in Palestine. Their encampment in the quarry was created on May 1st and each day since they have held “teach-ins”, community forums, film screenings, and more. Today I spoke with one of their media liaisons about their encampment and what their organization aims to do. Tonight (May 8th, 2024) they have planned an “All Eyes on Rafah Rally” in the Quarry with pro-Palestinian artist Redveil, who was initially planned on headlining the Edge of Eden event in the quarry that has now been canceled.  The following interview transcript has been kept anonymous in order to protect the identities of SJP organizers. 

Interviewer:  I just want to confirm again you’re good with this being recorded.

SJP: I’m okay with all of the recordings we’ve made.

Interviewer: What is the purpose of the encampment and what are your demands for the UC?

SJP: So this encampment is the materialization of a body of students that have a number of grievances to be made vocal towards the specific campus of UCSC and the UC structure as a whole, and we do have six demands. The first is simple It’s an acknowledgement of the genocide in Gaza and the acknowledgement of a need to call it a genocide and the calling of a ceasefire in itself. Just to restate we want to acknowledge a genocide and call for a ceasefire, that’s what we want the UC to do. Second, we also have divulgement. So we want full transparency regarding the investments and the fund allocations made within the UC system as a whole, so that us as members and taxpayers and tuition payers of a public university system we collectively know where our money is going. Third we have divestment. So we want the removal of money and investments and involvement Of the UC system from Zionist systems such as on-campus Organizations like Hillel or weapons manufacturers like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman who are all complicit in providing weapons for a genocide that is tantamount to being responsible for the genocide itself. Fourth, we want the end of academic repression which means the repression of pro-palestinian sentiment pro-palestinian studies and Palestinian and an uplifting of Palestinian voices and experiences within faculty within students within workers and within the curriculum of the school as a whole. Fifth, we have the Institution of an academic boycott. So not only do we want financial divestment, but we also want the retraction of academic interactions with Zionist institutions including research agreements,Study abroad programs, and furthermore student organizations like Hillel and then That’s five.

Interviewer: Yeah.

SJP: Yeah, and then six we have cops off campus, so we do want to make relations between how the Zionist institution creates oppression among its people and it’s very intricate ties and intimate ties with the American police system and we want to call on all UCSC students to remind themselves of the fact that there could be a more equitable equitable approach to campus safety and And community moderation.

Interviewer: And what has SJP been doing in the encampment to further the cause?

SJP: SJP has been foundational in exactly what this encampment is meant to be, our presence here is in support of their attempt to negotiate divestment and they have given us a cause for unity and have helped us moderate ourselves in our activities and in our direction as we aim to support their demands.

Interviewer: Before forming the encampment What was the purpose of SJP?

SJP: SJP as a whole has always been about advocating for the Palestinian experience and for advocating for the need to overcome oppression and suppression of Palestinian voices within the American academic institution 

Interviewer: I saw that you all took over a few of the dining halls and allowed people to go in and eat for free, what was the purpose of that specific protest?

SJP: So I do want to very clearly make that known. Nobody in this camp knows who did that. There are so many people that Have been asking these questions in camp, like “did we do this” and “who’s involved”. But I saw their pamphlets that they gave called UCSC luncheon or something. They did express support for Palestine, but their actions were not condoned, not sanctioned and in no way supported by the members of this encampment and by the members of SJP. 

Interviewer: Okay, great I’m glad we could clear that up. 

Interviewer: What are your hopes for the changes to be made to the UC system and UCSC? 

SJP: I think that the money that we make and the money that goes into our system are all being used for things that could be that are not productive in our modern day and I think that when we are raised with the ideas of humanity and democracy and social solutions when we look at you know people who are paying five figures to go to this school every year we feel like it’s a disrespect to our values and our intentions as people to see this money thrown away in the name of killing a bunch of kids, you know it’s such an inflammatory thing to see and to experience. And what we want is that we want these campuses to be places where cooperation and common prosperity is fostered at the end of the day, and seeing that not happen is such a frustration and a lot of us have made so many sacrifices to be here. There are people missing classes, there are people who are missing their parents, missing work, the SJP students who have been in negotiations have spent, you know, so much time putting this together for months and the amount of work that goes in is just a reminder that we are here to be empathetic and productive for the sake of each other and really that’s what I want this to be a reminder of on a day-by-day basis.

Interviewer: And is there anything else that you’d like me to say or to include in this piece?

SJP: I Just want to say come to the rally on the eighth.

Thank you to the Students for Justice in Palestine organization for being so welcoming and allowing me into your encampment for this interview.