Spirit Night NoDAPL Protesters Release Statement of Intent

Stock/The Triton

Around 40 protesters staged an action in RIMAC Arena during the men’s basketball game at halftime on Friday, Feb. 3rd. TerrillJames Kānealiikeikiokaāina Iron-Moccasin Kapalehua (Lehua), a student at UCSD who organized the Spirit Night “No Dakota Access Pipeline” (NoDAPL ) action, released a statement to The Triton on Monday:

“The People have chosen to rise up. What they are doing by demanding the University of California divest from Energy Transfer Partners is part of a larger conversation of resisting continued military occupations, expansion, and destruction of land and people. Energy Transfer Partners is an oil company that has been responsible for attempting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota — thus breaking treaties made between the United States government and the sovereign tribal governments of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Sioux nations — as well as the Trans-Pecos Pipeline and the Comanche Trail Pipeline from Texas (the state where their headquarters are located) crossing the US-Mexico border and into Mexico. As such, Energy Transfer Partners plays a large role in the the continue land dispossession and genocide of Indigenous peoples. What they did by protesting at “Triton Spirit Night” was indeed an opportunity for all those listening and watching to actually challenge themselves to think beyond the confines of what the University as a system would like us  to deem as important — if you are bothered by the fact that roughly 20 minutes of “Triton Spirit Night” was interrupted and remain unbothered by the threats to the actual survival  and livelihood of the land and people globally as a result of the University of California itself as a military project, then I highly suggest for you to re-check your priorities. Not only that, but they are also calling us to join the struggles to enact radical and transformative change as students of the University of California. Learn and act. We can no longer continue to be complicit and divestment from Energy Transfer Partners is one step in doing so.”

The UC San Diego men’s basketball team received a technical foul due to the protesters’ refusal to vacate the court to resume the game.

Campus police officers observed the action from the court corners  until protesters exited the arena after approximately 20 minutes.

During the action, some students voluntarily stood up, raised their fists and applauded. Others attempted to chant over the protestors, yelling, “Basketball! Basketball!.” Protesters on the court responded the hecklers by chanting, “The people, united, will never be divided.”

“I don’t agree with the protesters because they’re getting nothing done protesting at a basketball game,” said a first year Warren College student who requested to be anonymous. “I went to watch basketball and nothing else and they took that experience from me.”

Other students, like first year Muir student Jose Jimenez, expressed annoyance with students that heckled the protestors. 

“As soon as they stepped on, some people were already chanting from behind, ‘Basketball, basketball!’” said Jose Jimenez, a first year Muir student. “I just felt they didn’t real understand the point of the protest.”

Earlier this week, students organized by the Native American Student Association hosted an action on Library Walk in protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) currently holds bonds in Energy Transfer Partners, one of two companies involved in the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

ASUCSD passed a resolution on Wednesday urging fiscal transparency and full divestment from Energy Transfer Partners.

This article was updated Feb. 10th at 5:30 p.m. 

Sylvia O is a staff writer at The Triton. Compiled with reports from Gabriel Schneider.