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Letters to the Editor: Vandalizing Cal State L.A. buildings isn’t peaceful campus protest

 Barricades block access to the student service building at Cal State Los Angeles on June 13.
Barricades block access to the student service building at Cal State Los Angeles on June 13.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: The so-called protesters who camped at Cal State Los Angeles took over the student services building last week, forcing the campus to close. The president and other administrators who allowed the encampment in the first place are reaping what they sowed.

What was billed as a peaceful protest has now turned into something different. Of course, it was never different in the first place. Encampments on university property are either illegal or against university policy. This is not free speech. It is a form of intimidation.

I’ll bet that many of the individuals who were encamped and took over the building were not Cal State L.A. students. Most of the students I have taught over the past 20-plus years have much more immediate personal concerns. Some are homeless, some are hungry, and many work while they go to school and take care of parents or siblings.

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Now, our campus has been hijacked. My mother used to say, “If I give you an inch, you take a mile.” The president of Cal State L.A. now finds herself in this position.

Henry D. Schlinger, Glendale

The writer is a professor of psychology at Cal State L.A.

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To the editor: Apparently, the protesters don’t understand that “peaceful protest” does not include vandalism and defacing of public property.

The lack of arrests means there can be no claims for restitution. The protesters gain no support for their cause when they force students and taxpayers to pay for their damages.

Mason Nakamura, Santa Ana

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To the editor: When I first heard about the Ohio National Guard shooting and killing students protesting the Vietnam War in 1970, I could not grasp how such a thing could have happened in the United States. Now I understand. (“About two dozen pro-Palestinian protesters arrested at UCLA, ordered to stay away from campus,” June 10)

On June 10, UCLA allowed police to brutalize students peacefully conducting a vigil for the many Palestinians killed in Gaza. The videos of police brutality directed against the students are agonizing, showing that students faced considerable risk from police actions.

If this frightening situation were not enough, the university released a statement announcing that student actions “injured people, threatened the safety of our community and vandalized our campus.”

I see now how we can go from permitting cops on campus to students injured and killed, as they were at Kent state. My campus is unrecognizable as a place of learning where there is a deep commitment to social justice. It is instead a militarized zone.

Sherene Razack, Los Angeles

The writer is a professor of gender studies at UCLA.

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