Cal Poly Humboldt “secured” – 25 arrested in protests

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 2:30am. Photo by Savana Robinson.

At 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 30, a “unified command” of law enforcement officers from around the state moved into Cal Poly Humboldt to secure the campus.

Last week, protesters barricaded themselves inside Siemens Hall in a pro-Palestinian protest.

The protest led to a hard closure of campus through May 10, meaning no unauthorized personnel would be allowed on campus. It also meant the May 11th graduation was up in the air.

For five hours on Monday night, into Tuesday morning, Campus Police drove around broadcasting a pre-recorded message in English and Spanish. It said that the protest was an “illegal assembly” and if protesters didn’t disperse immediately, they’d face chemical agents and rubber bullets.

Our reporter, Savana Robinson, who is also a student at Cal Poly Humboldt, was on the scene when the arrests began. She said she didn’t see any chemical agents or projectiles used.

The university says in all, 25 people were arrested, and no one was hurt.

This is a live stream from the event as it happened on our Facebook page.

The following is a statement from Cal Poly Humboldt.

Law Enforcement Secures Buildings and Restores Order at Cal Poly Humboldt

On Tuesday, April 30 at about 0230, law enforcement began a series of actions to restore order on the Cal Poly Humboldt campus.

Law enforcement cleared and secured Siemens Hall and Nelson Hall East, as well as the area near those buildings. About 25 individuals were arrested, without incident. There were no injuries.

The operation was carried out by Unified Command, which is made up of law enforcement personnel from throughout the State of California under the leadership of Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal and University Police Department Chief Peter Cress.

At the time the operation was initiated, on-campus residents were advised by University text and emails to shelter in place. Others were directed to stay away from campus, which was already under a hard closure.

The operation’s objective was to establish control of the site; protect the rights, safety, and health of students and employees; eliminate the threat of violence and criminal behavior; and reestablish control of buildings and other property.

Those arrested faced a range of different charges depending on individual circumstances including unlawful assembly, vandalism, conspiracy, assault of police officers, and others. In addition, students could face discipline for conduct violations while any University employees arrested could face disciplinary action.

The University had made repeated efforts over the last week to resolve the situation. This morning’s enforcement action was determined to be necessary to restore order and to address the lawlessness and dangerous conditions that had developed.

What was occurring was not free expression or a protest. It was criminal activity, and there were serious concerns it would spread even further on campus.

The hard closure of the campus remains in place through May 10, and law enforcement is continuing to monitor the situation. For employees, your supervisor will contact you if you are authorized to be on campus.

Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal
“The law enforcement action at Cal Poly Humboldt was essential to reestablishing order on campus. When someone commits a crime and infringes on the rights of others, it becomes necessary for law enforcement to step in. I’m grateful to the agencies and officers who contributed to bringing safety back to our campus. I understand the widespread frustration caused by the campus closure, threatening behavior, and lawlessness we’ve witnessed over the past week. By restoring order, we’ve sent a clear message that the criminal and dangerous activities we experienced were not peaceful protests, but outright criminal behavior, which is unacceptable.”

University Police Department Chief Peter Cress
“The University Police Department is deeply grateful to the local and statewide agencies that lent support to our campus during this event. The support was critical in restoring an environment on campus where learning and work occur safely. UPD remains committed to a learning environment where everyone can be heard without breaking the law.”

Tom Jackson Jr., Cal Poly Humboldt President
“This is a difficult day, it breaks my heart to see it, and truly nobody wanted to see things come to this. We’ve all watched this with great concern, and always with the sincere hope that it would be resolved peacefully. Unfortunately, serious criminal activity that crossed the line well beyond the level of a protest had put the campus at ongoing risk. I commend the law enforcement team for their effort in resolving this very dangerous situation, and I’m incredibly grateful for the many agencies who advised us and who came to our aid in our time of need. I’m also very grateful for our many staff members who performed far and above their normal duties to help us protect the campus and maintain operations. Our focus for the entire time has been on doing all we could do to protect the safety of all involved, and we were very patient and very disciplined with that.”