Cal State LA president trapped in office as pro-Palestinian protesters block campus building

Cal State LA president trapped in office as pro-Palestinian protesters block campus building

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LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Pro-Palestinian protesters have barricaded a building at Cal State Los Angeles, where the president of the campus is apparently stuck sheltering in place in her office, Eyewitness News has learned.

Protesters had already set up encampments on another section of campus more than a month ago. But on Wednesday a group broke off and started piling up furniture, overturned golf carts and tables to create barriers in front of the Student Services Building and surrounding plaza.

They also removed copy machines and furniture from inside the building to continue reinforcing the barricade late into the evening.

The office of Campus President Berenecea Johnson Eanes, who was appointed last year and started this January, is on the eighth floor of the building.

The college was asking employees in the Student Services Building to shelter in place, while employees elsewhere on campus were instructed to leave.

Pro-Palestinian encampment at CSULA linked to vandalism, anti-semitic graffiti

CSULA students not involved in the protest say their classmates have the right to express themselves but the encampment is blocking campus access and linked to vandalism and graffiti.

By late afternoon much of the campus beyond the SSB appeared empty as AIR7 HD flew overhead. A campus spokesperson confirmed that less than a dozen school employees were still in the SSB as of Wednesday evening but would not confirm if Eanes was still among them.

“I can confirm that there are still a small number of administrators in the building,” campus spokesperson Erik Hollins said. “We are working through options to bring this fluid situation to the best resolution possible.”

A group of protesters, many of them covering their faces, were stationed in front of the building’s entrance. There was pro-Palestinian graffiti covering many windows on the ground floor and some on upper floors that was apparently painted from the inside.

There did not appear to be many campus police, or any officers from outside agencies, in the area. LAPD told Eyewitness News they have not been asked to get involved.

The school referred to the group as “unauthorized protest activity.”

Some protesters were bringing in food, supplies – even diapers – to the building, signs they were prepared to stay for some time.

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