Hundreds of UCSD students, faculty members, and staff demanded the University’s denunciation of the Trump presidency during a walk-out strike and public rally on Jan. 20. Organized by the Lumumba Zapata Collective (LZC), a coalition of UCSD faculty, staff, and students, participants attempted to block parking lots and traffic to disrupt the normal flow of the university.
Participants protested by the Silent Tree in the morning, walked out of lecture halls at noon, and rallied in Matthews Quad in the afternoon. In addition, they marched in circles across Gilman Dr., causing a roadblock and forcing MTS busses and campus shuttles to stray from normal routes.
LZC demanded the UC Administration denounce Trump’s government, enact UC-wide sanctuary school and Hispanic Serving Institution statuses, free education to counteract underrepresentation of students, and a reprioritization of UC investments to reflect social justice, according to its website.
“We organize collectively and autonomously in order to face the threats posed by a Trump presidency,” an LZC spokesperson at the rally announced to the crowd of strikers. “The Lumumba Zapata Collective intervenes in the current climate of dissolution and hopelessness to remind us that UCSD has a long history of dissent that needs to be revived now more than ever.”
Other points of the LZC platform called for the UC system to fully dissociate from receiving funds from the Department of Defense.
“Chancellor Khosla has a history in DARPA, and Napolitano was also the Secretary of Homeland Security so the UC system is very much intertwined with the militarization of the state,” a member of LZC said, who requested to be anonymous. “Places like UCSD are in fact producing materials that are essential for the exertion of state powers and violence.”
Students and workers in the STEM department, including graduate student Joseph Gumlek, also participated in the walkout. Gumlek rallied in Matthews Quad, holding a sign that read “normalize resistance.” He said the main purpose of the STEM walkout was to support social justice movements.
“So resisting is part of the political process here [and] sharing ideas,” Gumlek said. “We want to make sure that Trump’s administration doesn’t really represent our views. We want to make sure our voices are heard. So, we’re out here peacefully today, just having a good time and making sure our message gets out.”
Members of College Republicans at UCSD gathered by the Triton statue to celebrate Trump’s inauguration. Waving American flags and wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, the Trump supporters spectated LZC’s protest rally.
“We are just here to celebrate democracy, a peaceful transition of power,” said Matthew, an executive board member of UCSD College Republicans. “We are just having a good time, nothing too complicated. I don’t really understand the point. To me, a protest without a goal is more a mass temper tantrum but it’s entertaining to watch. I just wish everyone a good 4 years, maybe 8.” He requested to only be identified by his first name.
LZC plans to continue its resistance against the Trump presidency and its demand to achieve sanctuary status at UCSD.
The Triton reached out to the media office of the University Office of the President and University Communications and Public Affairs and did not receive responses at the time of publishing.
Sylvia O and Natasha Vyhovsky are staff writers for The Triton.