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The University of California; A System of Unethical Investments. UC Protests Address the Palestinian Genocide with Power!


The Gaza genocide is a heartbreaking humanitarian crisis, fueled with violence and mass murder of thousands of innocent people. This issue is not far away; it's connected to us right here at UC Riverside. Companies like Starbucks, which is a huge part of our campus, is financially supporting military actions by Israel to attack the people of Gaza; a horrible human rights violations.


Our UC Investment Club has been investing in such companies that support Israel's violence, which fuels the financial coverage of weaponry used against Palestinians.


The Palestinian genocide isn't just another conflict; it's a pressing social justice issue that involves systemic oppression and violence. Financial sponsors from global companies, including some that our university invests in, through the UC Financial Investment Club, plays a significant role in supporting these actions. By investing in these companies, institutions like UCR are indirectly contributing to the suffering of Palestinians. Us students are also unknowingly supporting a University that uses our support to fuel Israel weaponry. 


The entire University of California System invests in companies that produce military equipment for Israel, which in turn is used against Palestinians. As mentioned earlier, Starbucks has been criticized for its financial ties to Israel, which include investments that support military efforts (Pajuelo 2). This financial complicity needs to stop, and we must push for divestment from these companies.


Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at UCR is a student-led organization dedicated to raising awareness about the Palestinian struggle and advocating for human rights (HighlanderLink). They organize protests, fundraisers, and educational events to highlight the brutality of the genocide and to use the campus community to take action.



One of the most significant events hosted by SJP was the student encampment on April 29th (MyNewsLA 3). This protest aimed to pressure the university to divest from companies that support Israel’s military actions. Held on the Bell Tower lawn, it involved setting up tents where students camped day and night until the university agreed to meet their demands. This event was part of a larger movement across multiple UC campuses and included mass support and walkouts (Taglieri 2).


It was a proud moment for UC Riverside's Student Body to find out that our demands were heard, and we were the first UC Campus to accomplish it.



The UC Riverside encampment ended peacefully after great negotiations between the university administration and student protesters. The administration agreed to several key demands, such as a webpage access of publicly available information on the UC investments. This resolution was achieved through continuous student empowerment, and ability to not back down on this fight for humanity. This emphasizes the university's commitment to peaceful conflict resolution and support for student activism. The agreement ensured the removal of the encampment by midnight on May 3, 2024, marking a significant moment of cooperation between students and university officials​ (Inside UCR).




Although it may seem we have won this fight. The truth is Starbucks is still an active shop on our campus, the investments have not been guaranteed a full stop and our students are not seeing active changes.


Students must not forget our goal to push for policies that enforce ethical investment practices not just at UC Riverside, but at all UC campuses because everyone is in this together. Having access to the investment portfolio does not mean that the investments will stop. The intended plan to push for this will serve many purposes.


The issue has not been fixed yet, but it is definitely true that the UC Riverside encampment was a successful community event. It educated our community, sought out political and public support, and allowed students to stand up for their rights without hesitation. By taking these steps, we can push for immediate divestment from companies involved in the genocide of Gaza and promote a movement toward an ethical university.



We

must

continue

to

fight

until

ALL

of

our

demands

have

been

met.



Works Cited

Pajuelo, Pamela. "The Starbucks Boycott Raises Questions of Ethical Investing Practices." The Diplomatic Envoy, Seton Hall University, 25 Mar. 2024, blogs.shu.edu/thediplomaticenvoy/2024/03/25/starbucks-boycott-raises-questions-of-ethical-investing-practices/


"Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)." HighlanderLink, highlanderlink.ucr.edu/organization/sjp.


Taglieri, Joe. “UC Riverside, students agree to end Palestine protest encampment.” Hey SoCal, 3 May 2024, www.heysocal.com/2024/05/03/uc-riverside-students-agree-to-end-palestine-protest-encampment/.


“Agreement Between UC Riverside, Students Brings End to Pro-Palestine Protest.” MyNewsLA, 3 May 2024, www.mynewsla.com/education/2024/05/03/agreement-between-uc-riverside-students-brings-end-to-pro-palestine-protest/.


"Agreement to Peacefully End Encampment on Campus." Inside UCR, UC Riverside, 3 May 2024, https://insideucr.ucr.edu/announcements/2024/05/03/agreement-peacefully-end-encampment-campus.


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