Claremont Colleges students hold ‘5C walk out for Palestine’

About 100 mask-wearing Claremont Colleges students weathered heavy showers Monday to take part in “5C walk out for Palestine” on Marston Quad. Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

By Andrew Alonzo |

About 100 mask-wearing Claremont Colleges students weathered steady rainfall Monday to take part in “5C walk out for Palestine” at Pomona College’s Marston Quad.

The 1:30 p.m. protest, organized by Pomona Divest Apartheid, focused on the college’s endowment investments and included students banging on pots with plastic cutlery and chants such as, “Israel bombs, Pomona pays, how many kids did you kill today?”

According to posts on Pomona Divest Apartheid’s Instagram page, the group’s list of demands are that Pomona College, “divest completely from all weapons manufacturers and all institutions that aid in the ongoing occupation of Palestine”; “adhere to the USACBI academic boycott”; “publicly call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza”; “publicly condemn Israel’s apartheid, occupation, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and dehumanization of Palestinians”; and “institute anti-discrimination policies explicitly for Palestinian, Muslim, Arab, SWANA, Black, Brown, and Indigenous students.”

Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

On Monday, demonstrators formed a circle around organizers, who took turns reading statements from Pomona College students who say they faced punishment for participating in demonstrations over the past several weeks.

Organizers then urged protestors to complete the boycott, divest and sanctions movement referendum emailed by Associated Students of Pomona College, at which point nearly all of the students took out their phones and complied. The survey, “regarding Pomona’s investments in Israel and whether Pomona should disclose their holdings and divest — sell their holdings — from ‘the apartheid system in the state of Israel,’” is active through Wednesday, according to reporting from The Student Life.

The referendum was proposed by Divest Claremont Colleges, an organization made up of Claremont Colleges students pushing the schools to “divest their endowments from fossil fuels and push for a more socially just world.” Organizers denied the Courier’s request to access the survey, but according to The Student Life it was “created for the purpose of gathering the opinions of the student body,” and includes five questions that seek to “offer insight into student views on divestment, disclosure and academic boycott.”

Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

The demonstration closed with organizers handing out pamphlets with information about Pomona College’s endowment — $2.8 billion as of December, 2023. The pamphlet did not list “companies that cause harm to students and their communities” by name, but asserted that the college has refused to divest from such institutions.

None of the demonstrators or organizers of the protest would speak to the Courier.

According to a safety sheet handed out to student protestors on Monday, “Once the demonstration starts, keep your mask on and do not give your name or personal information to anyone.” It also urged protestors not to engage with campus security, administration, Zionists, or media. It also suggested safety measures including traveling in groups, not providing identification to campus security, and not telling anyone that they took part in the rally.

Courier photo/Andrew Alonzo

Monday’s demonstration follows a February 9 action outside Alexander Hall that saw protestors demand Pitzer College suspend its study abroad program with the University of Haifa in Israel. On February 12, Pitzer President Strom Thacker noted he had attended a meeting where Pitzer’s Student Senate passed such resolution, and the college subsequently issued this statement:

“Pitzer College is aware of the resolution passed by the Student Senate and respects the right of that elected body to act within our shared governance structure. It should be noted that the Student Senate does not speak for the College, nor does it represent the views of all Pitzer students.”

Another gathering, a BDS referendum teach-in, took place February 15.



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