The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    SSU English professors voice support as encampment continues to grow

    As the encampment enters its third week, student and faculty support remains constant
    Ally Valiente
    The encampment began on Friday, April 26, and has grown since.

    On April 15, 2024, SSU student Julianna M., a first-year political science major, organized a student walkout as part of a global strike day to protest against the CSU system’s financial ties to Israel. 

    According to Julianna, the walkout formed a connection between those involved and created a platform for them to further organize. “We thought it was time to take a real stand and unite, to build something more powerful and uplift this movement,” Julianna said. 

    Those living at the encampment have a list of demands that they need to see met by university officials before they are willing to pack up and leave. 

    Those demands include divesting from Israel and disclosing financial information, calling for an academic boycott of Israeli universities in regards to the study abroad program, recognizing Palestinian identity in curriculum and a statement for a permanent ceasefire from President Mike Lee. 

    The encampment itself came together with the help of community members who wanted to support the students and their cause. They have been supplied with tents, food and all of the necessary equipment they need to continue living at the encampment.

     “A lot of organizers came together to help us set this up. Community members have seen and heard us, they follow our Instagram. We have at least 15 people coming a day to drop things off or check in and see if we need anything else,” Julianna said. 

    I’m fully in support of them. I think that they are embodying the spirit of Sonoma State at the very highest level and need to be protected and supported.”

    — Anthony Rizzuto, SSU English professor

    Aside from local residents, they say they have also received supplies and support from SSU alumni as well as students from Cal Poly Humboldt and San Francisco State. 

    While they were initially stressed about being able to acquire everything needed to live at the site, they say that now, a few weeks in, they have just about everything they need. Aside from necessities, they even have some creature comforts, including a television set. 

    Some faculty members at SSU share the same feelings students have and are in support of the encampment, such as English professor Anthony Rizzuto. 

     Rizzuto said, “I’m fully in support of them. I think that they are embodying the spirit of Sonoma State at the very highest level and need to be protected and supported.” 

     Kevin Nguyen, an assistant professor in the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies, said that “there should be a real commitment to meeting student demands.” 

    He added that it was one thing to “talk about it,” but action needs to follow.  “I think the demands are really reasonable from ceasefire to curriculum to all of it.  Not just talking, but let’s do some follow through,” Nguyen said.

    Teresa Buruel Stone, an assistant professor in the English Department, said, “We want disclosure. We want divestment. We want scholarship and fellowship money that doesn’t depend on genocide profiteering. We don’t want to be complicit either. And Sonoma State absolutely needs to take the steps to engage with the students, to figure out how to meet their demands. 


    The encampment hosted a number of speakers from community activists to SSU students and faculty. So far, SSU professors Allison Ford, Kim Hester-Williams, Anthony Rizzuto and Theresa Burruel Stone have spoken. Santa Rosa Junior College professor Tony Kashani also spoke. 

    According to Julianna, the student population here at SSU has generally been supportive of the encampment and their cause. “They see our social media posts and want to know more, they want to know what it’s about and experience the environment we’ve created here,” she said. 

    Students have been engaging with the encampment in a number of ways, with some stopping by to chat, while others have been grabbing pamphlets and using the study area they’ve set up.  “Some come to just hang out and then end up staying and are then incorporated into the community,” Julianna said. 

    In order to prioritize their safety, those living at the encampment take turns with night shifts. This allows them to stay vigilant at all times and avoid potential violence. The night shifts also ensure that nothing negative is written in association with the encampment. “You never know what could happen, especially with the uprisings at other campuses,” Julianna said. 

    According to Julianna, the encampment has been growing by the day and she anticipates that it will only continue to do so as more students become aware of its existence. 

    Those who wish to support the students and their cause can follow their Instagram account at @ssu.sjp, where they keep an updated supply list and post about upcoming events taking place at the encampment.

    Donate to Sonoma State Star

    Your donation will support the student journalists of Sonoma State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    About the Contributors
    Kate Williams
    Kate Williams, Staff Writer
    Kate Williams is a third year communication studies major at Sonoma State.
    Marc Duran
    Marc Duran, Staff Writer
    Marc Duran is a third year communication major at Sonoma State.
    Ally Valiente
    Ally Valiente, News Editor
    Ally Valiente is in her 4th year at Sonoma State majoring in communication and media studies and English.
    Donate to Sonoma State Star