Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Berkeley staged a protest Sunday as part of their annual Israeli Apartheid Week activities.
About a dozen SJP members distributed about 600 fake eviction notices under the doors of every room in Unit 2, except for one floor, where a resident advisor barred their entry. The club also left an eviction notice in Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’ mailbox.
According to a press release from the group, the eviction notices were meant to represent the Israeli government’s policy of expelling Palestinians. Protesters accessed the buildings after students signed them in, said SJP member David McCleary.
“With this action, we are calling on the UC Regents to honor the consensus in favor of divestment,” SJP said in a press release. “(Dirks) has the power to influence the Regents, and we believe students have the power to influence Chancellor Dirks.”
To date, several student governments have passed resolutions to divest from corporations allegedly in violation of Palestinian human rights, including UC Berkeley’s ASUC in 2013, United Auto Workers Local 2865 — the UC student-workers’ union — in December and the University of California Student Association in February. The Associated Students of the University of California, Davis, also passed a measure in favor of divestment, but it was struck down by the student court.
“If I got that notice I don’t think I’d believe it,” said Claire Tramontozzi, a freshman who found the eviction notice after returning to her dorm late Sunday night. “I felt really disgusted by it — that this injustice has been happening throughout the world.”
Students at Northwestern University and New York University staged similar protests last year, after which Northwestern’s SJP chapter was suspended. McCleary said SJP decided to follow suit and pass out imitation eviction notices to stand in solidarity with those universities, as well as Palestinians facing eviction.
According to campus policy, all flyering in the residential areas is restricted to issues concerning the residential halls or health and safety.
“We do not allow any solicitations out of respect for the students residing there,” said Adam Ratliff, spokesperson for the campus’ Division of Student Affairs, in an email. He said he is not aware of any planned response to SJP for breaching dormitory policy.
“At first I was really confused,” said Tiffanie Abacan, a campus freshman, in a Facebook message. “But then after reading the flyer, I thought it was a clever way of spreading the message, since I personally don’t know much about the subject.”