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Protesters occupy then vacate Dodd Hall following 2nd encampment dispersal at UCLA

Protesters stand outside Dodd Hall with a sign reading, “UCLA Faculty and Staff, we stand with our students.” An occupation and protest at Dodd Hall began this afternoon after a police-led sweep of a second Palestine solidarity encampment. (Aidan Sun/Daily Bruin)

By Alexandra Crosnoe and Gabrielle Gillette

May 23, 2024 6:29 p.m.

This post was updated May 24 at 2:13 a.m.

Pro-Palestine protesters staged a sit-in inside Dodd Hall following a police-led sweep of a second Palestine solidarity encampment and a graduate student union rally earlier in the day.

The sit-in itself then dispersed as police entered Dodd Hall around 5:30 p.m. 

At about 12:30 p.m., around 50 police officers in riot gear – including those from the Culver City Police Department, LAPD, Santa Monica Police Department and UCPD – began approaching the encampment at Kerckhoff patio. 

At 12:45 p.m., Michael Beck, UCLA’s administrative vice chancellor, and Rick Braziel, UCLA’s associate vice chancellor for campus safety, released a statement online ordering the demonstrators outside Kerckhoff Hall to disperse. 

“There is reasonable cause to find that demonstrators’ activities – including erecting barricades, establishing fortifications and blocking access to parts of the campus and buildings – are disrupting campus operations,” the statement read. “Demonstrators have been informed that if they do not disperse, they will face arrest and possible disciplinary action, as well as an order to stay away from campus for seven days.” 

At 12:48 p.m., a UCPD lieutenant issued a dispersal order over a loudspeaker, declaring the encampment “unlawful.” The order said if pro-Palestine protesters did not leave the area, police could employ “less-than-lethal munitions” on those who remained in the encampment, which could cause serious injury. 

By 1:15 p.m., all protesters had left the encampment without the use of police force and began walking toward Murphy Hall, where they were joined by around 300 other pro-Palestine protesters, including members of Faculty for Justice in Palestine at UCLA.

A rally led by United Auto Workers Local 4811 – a union representing UC academic student employees, graduate students and academic and postdoctoral researchers – began around 1 p.m. at the bottom of Janss Steps. At around 1:15 p.m., over 100 protesters affiliated with UAW joined protesters with the Palestine solidarity encampment in front of Murphy Hall, where protesters chanted “LAPD, KKK, IOF, you’re all the same” and “Disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest.”

Earlier today, UAW 4811 also called upon its members at UCLA to strike starting May 28. The strike comes after the union filed several unfair labor charges against the UC, claiming that the University failed its responsibility as an employer when it allowed law enforcement officers to use force against members of the union during the sweep of the first Palestine solidarity encampment at UCLA on May 2.

[Related: United Auto Workers Local 4811 calls UCLA to ‘stand up,’ strike starting May 28]

“It’s time to stand up for the right to protest, and it’s time to stand up for the right to free speech,” said Rafael Jaime, president of UAW 4811, at the rally. “We need to be ready for Tuesday.”

After security denied protesters access to Murphy Hall, they marched toward Dodd Hall, where several protesters entered the building, locking the doors behind them, with others sitting in front of them to block access to the building.

In the initial hour of the protest outside Dodd Hall, several LAPD officers in riot gear circled the premises. However, no action was taken, and the officers left the site around 2:50 p.m. 

Pro-Palestine protesters hold drawings depicting a police officer aiming a less-than-lethal weapon at a pro-Palestine protester shielding themselves with an umbrella. The protesters held various signs outside Dodd Hall in support of the pro-Palestine encampment. (Julia Zhou/Photo editor)

Outside Dodd Hall, around 200 people continued protesting, chanting phrases such as “Disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest” as protesters inside the building began their occupation and discussed next week‘s planned strike.

While some protesters exited Dodd Hall through the side doors, writing “Intifada Hall” on the wall outside Lu Valle Commons, many stayed inside, hearing speeches and comments from professors and other protesters. 

One speaker inside the building talked about what they expect the strike to look like next week. 

“As many of you all know, the UAW is officially going on strike on Tuesday,” the speaker said. “It’s been a long time coming, folks, so all of this power that you see today is only going to grow from here on out.” 

Pro-Palestine protesters sit in a circle inside Dodd Hall. Protesters occupied the building for about three hours Thursday before they began dispersing around 5:20 p.m. (Zoraiz Irshad/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Hannah Appel, an associate professor of anthropology and member of FJP, said she expects an “escalation” and a “deepening of the movement next week.” 

Union members will picket next week and plan to disrupt campus activities by withholding grades and canceling discussion sections, said Ethan Friedland, a UAW 4811 steward and Near Eastern studies doctoral student. The support from UAW strikes across UC campuses in addition to support from faculty has the power to push closer to getting their demands met, Appel said. 

“When the university sees that folks are withholding grades, they get scared,” she said. “They’re scared because we’re flexing our collective power, and optimally, that fear drives them to the bargaining table, and then we win.” 

UCPD officers stand inside Dodd Hall, where pro-Palestine protesters staged a sit-in around 2 p.m. Thursday. Protesters began exiting the building at around 5:20 p.m, shortly before police entered the building. (Zoraiz Irshad/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Although some protesters began dispersing from Dodd Hall around 4 p.m., others remained inside the building. Several counter-protesters also attempted to access the building around 4:30 p.m., but pro-Palestine protesters blocked them from doing so.

At around 5:20 p.m., a protest leader announced that protesters had reached a consensus among themselves to leave the building. Shortly after, police entered Dodd Hall through a back entrance as protesters were dispersing. No protesters were arrested.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. Contributing reports by Anna Dai-Liu, Zoraiz Irshad, Felicia Keller, Constanza Montemayor, Sam Mulick, Matthew Royer and Dylan Winward, Daily Bruin staff.

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Alexandra Crosnoe
Crosnoe is the 2024-2025 national news and higher education editor. She was previously a News reporter. Crosnoe is a second-year economics and public affairs student from Dallas.
Crosnoe is the 2024-2025 national news and higher education editor. She was previously a News reporter. Crosnoe is a second-year economics and public affairs student from Dallas.
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