Cal Poly Humboldt holds senate meeting after faculty calls for Jackson and Johnson to resign

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“We must say something. We must act,” Kelly Fortner, Cal Poly Humboldt student support coordinator said.

Angry, upset and disappointed students, faculty and community members spoke out at the Cal Poly Humboldt university senate meeting on Tuesday. The senate motioned to suspend normal senate rules to allow for a two and a half hour open forum.

“While I am not surprised by the decision of our university leadership to send police in riot gear here to campus is an attempt to quieten the voices of students,” Fortner said. “I am deeply disappointed and heartbroken by the actions of our university leadership.”

This week, more than 300 staff and faculty members of the university signed a letter calling for the resignation of university president Tom Jackson and chief of staff Mark Johnson.

“This is not the first senate meeting like this, where people are asking, ‘where’s the president,'” Loren Cannon, a philosophy lecturer and CFA faculty rights chair said.

This is in wake of administration’s handling of the pro-Palestine protest at the university that began on April 22 and was forcibly broken up by law enforcement in the early hours of April 30.

“In times like this, when international events demand our attention and receive the attention of our students and our students bravely stand up for those things we care and the rest of us have a responsibility to listen and to maintain a safe space for them to protest,” Dan Barton, wildlife chair, said. “We have failed them. We have created a hostile space that is deeply offensive to me.”

“I am profoundly ashamed, however, by the manner in which the administration has responded to the protests with absence, negligence and punitive disciplinary actions taken against members of our community,” Tani Sebro, associate professor of politics said.

An unidentified student stated, “administration was not protecting us that night. They were protecting property.”

Several who spoke asked the senate to pass a resolution calling for the university to drop all charges against those arrested at the protest.

“Drop all and any charges and suspensions for students and faculty without hesitation,” Michihiro Sugata, associate professor of sociology, said.