April 29 Palestine Rally

On Monday, April 29th, a group of demonstrators led by Caltech Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in conjunction with Pasadena for Palestine and other faith-based groups from local churches. A representative of SJP stated that 2 of their members had led the march. This occurred on the same day as a silent sit-in organized by Caltech undergraduates. The march was part of a larger series of sit-ins in front of congressman Judy Chu’s office that take place every monday organized by Pasadena for Palestine.

At 5:45pm, a group of around 20 Caltech students formed outside the Chen Neuroscience Building before joining the larger group of Pasadena residents already marching. The total group numbered around 100 according to eyewitness reports.

Protesters marched through the campus shouting slogans including “Your hands are bloody too”, “Caltech, Caltech, pick a side, justice for genocide”, “The students united will never be defeated”, and “The students united will never be divided.” A reporter for the Tech later caught up with the man leading the chants (who had been using a megaphone) and learned he was not Caltech affiliated. Some protesters held signs calling for Caltech to disclose any investments in or funding received by Israel. Protesters led an interfaith prayer for Palestine before dispersing at around 6:30pm.

According to a representative of Caltech SJP, the main goal of the protest was to raise awareness of Caltech’s institutional complicity in Palestinian genocide. “It’s not for us to tell the students what to do. We’re just here to tell the students to rise up,” said a member of the protest from Pasadena for Palestine. The protester who had been leading the chanting also stated that they wanted to show Caltech students that they would be supported if they chose to engage in further pro-Palestine activities.

The Pasadena-based group, which is not affiliated with Caltech, said their choice of location to protest on Caltech campus was to encourage students to take action now in light of many other protests happening at other college campuses and was part of their collaboration with the Caltech SJP.

Caltech President Thomas Rosenbaum released a statement to the Caltech community on Tuesday, April 30th about these demonstrations. Rosenbaum stated that the protests were peaceful and did not disrupt campus operations. He went on to say that “these protests occurred in violation of Caltech’s Free Speech and Expression Policy because the Institute was not notified of the events in advance by an authorized campus organizer.” The campus free speech policy was recently updated on April 26th. The letter warned that members of the Caltech community who proceed with these activities will be subject to campus disciplinary measures. In addition, members of the community external to Caltech engaging in these activities “may be subject to other actions including civil or criminal proceedings.”