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USC offering online class options amid campus protest

USC informed its faculty members in its journalism department that they have the option of instructing classes online through the end of the week as pro-Palentine activists conducted a demonstration, calling for the school to cut financial ties with Israel.

“Given events on campus, we would like to offer you the option to hold your classes in a hybrid or online modality through the end of the week,” officials from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism said in a message to faculty.

Organizers of the USC occupation — identifying themselves as the USC Divest from Death Coalition — issued a statement saying the demonstration was “in solidarity with the people of Palestine as they resist genocide and continue in their struggle for liberation.”

While there were some heated moments as officers detained some protesters, the demonstration was mostly peaceful, and there were no reports of any arrests or injuries.

USC Provost Andrew Guzman issued a statement saying the university had closed campus gates and took other actions to “restrict growth of the protest and keep the rest of the campus calm.”

In his statement Wednesday afternoon, Guzman noted that the university has a ban on erecting tents or other encampments on the campus, along with a ban on the “use of loudspeakers, signs on poles or stakes and the disruption of classes and other essential functions of the university.”

Guzman said that the protest participants — “many of whom doe not appear to be affiliated with USC” — were repeatedly asked to adhere to the campus rules by removing tents and other prohibited items.

“In each case, protesters refused,” Guzman said. “Their actions have escalated to the point of confrontation and have threatened the safety of our officers and campus community.”

Some Jewish students interviewed by media on campus said they feared for their safety, accusing the crowd of shouting antisemitic slogans as they protested.

“We want to be clear that we reject speech that is hateful and that causes harm to others,” Guzman wrote in his statement. “In these challenging times, we call on the Trojan Family to remember that every member of our
community is deserving of respect, has the right to be safe on campus, take classes, and participate in other campus activities without fear of harassment or bullying. It should be everyone’s priority to treat each other with kindness
and care.”

Guzman’s statement did not address any of the demands put forth by protest organizers.

Those demands included a complete academic boycott of Israel, including an end to study-abroad programs in the area and cutting ties with Israeli universities; protection of free speech of students voicing support for Palestine; and demanding the university issue a public statement “calling for an immediate, permanent ceasefire in Gaza, denouncing the ongoing genocidal campaign against the Palestinian people and call on government officials to do
so too.”

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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