Anti-Israel Protesters Arrested After Storming College President’s Office
bymuratdeniz via Getty Images
bymuratdeniz via Getty Images

Local police in California arrested a group of Pomona College students on Friday after they stormed an administration building and refused to leave the president’s office.

Eighteen students were charged with misdemeanor trespassing and another with obstruction of justice after an anti-Israel demonstration devolved into chaos Friday afternoon, according to the Los Angeles Times. The students charged, as well as dozens of others who took part in the protest, could face suspension, according to a Friday campus letter from college president Gabrielle Starr.

“Campus Safety reported that approximately 100-150 protesters were outside the President’s Office and another 30-40 protesters had stormed inside the building and taken over the President’s Office,” the Pomona Police Department said in a statement on Saturday after the arrests, according to CBS News. “Communication was immediately established by School Administration with the protesters, but they refused to leave the building.”

The Claremont chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine on Saturday called for Starr’s ouster over the arrests.

“As a supposed representative of your institution, your conduct has been fascistic in nature and absolutely reprehensible. Should you have any shame for your conduct, you will resign, drop the charges made on students, and revoke their suspensions immediately. Following these acts in this order, students and the public demand for your immediate resignation as president of this institution,” the email template says, according to The Claremont Independent.

The protesters gathered to voice dissent over the removal of a 32-foot-long “apartheid wall” meant to represent “illegal Israeli Occupation.” College officials had told students Friday that the wall was to be moved from where it had stood outside the Smith Campus Center since it was erected in late March.

Officials had offered to move the wall to an area of campus set aside for such displays of protests, but the students resisted. The students retaliated by harassing the college officials, including using racist language, according to Starr’s letter.

The students “proceeded to verbally harass staff, even using a sickening, anti-black racial slur in addressing an administrator. This is part of an escalating series of incidents on our campus, which has included persistent harassment of visitors for admission tours,” Starr wrote.

After the protest began, dozens of demonstrators stormed Alexander Hall and entered the president’s office. The protesters then occupied the space, refusing Starr’s demands to leave. Police were eventually called, and arrests were made. 


Video from the incident showed Starr confronting some of the students who took over her office and threatening to suspend them.


“Any participants in today’s events on the SCC lawn or in Alexander Hall, who turn out to be Pomona students, are subject to immediate suspension. Students from the other Claremont Colleges will be banned from Pomona’s campus and subject to discipline on their own campuses. All individual participants not part of The Claremont Colleges community are hereby banned from campus immediately,” the president wrote.

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