Young Democratic Socialists of America at UC Santa Barbara held a rally and sit-in on Thursday, Nov. 30 to call for the university to divest from all fiscal partnerships with corporate weapons manufacturers.
The protest began in front of the Arbor, where Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) representatives wore yellow hazard vests to distinguish themselves from the crowd.
Demonstrators marched from the Arbor to Cheadle Hall. The protestors sat in a circle in front of the Office of Admissions, with YDSA representatives passing out chanting sheets to participants.
The decision to end the rally at Cheadle Hall was intentional, according to YDSA Co-Chair and fifth-year environmental studies and sociology double major Caela Erickson Imbrogno. The rally aimed to call attention to the university’s fiscal investments, and Cheadle Hall is home to the Office of Budget & Planning.
A constructed missile painted on cardboard was placed in the middle of the seated circle to demonstrate the purpose of the rally: protesting UCSB’s partnerships with weapons manufacturers.
The chants varied from songs to phrases, with iterations of “This land was Your Land” sung by demonstrators as members of UCSB administration walked by the circle.
“What do we want? Divestment. When do we want it? Now,” the chants read. “UCSB, make the switch. Stop acting like Raytheon’s bitch.”
“Stop funding wars on foreign lands, there is blood on all your hands,” another chant continued.
YDSA also delivered a demand letter to Chancellor Henry T. Yang’s office upon the conclusion of the sit-in in light of the continued siege of the Gaza Strip.
“As Students of this University, we find it beyond shameful that the institution we chose to attend remains complicit in the conflict in Gaza and conflicts around the world,” the letter read.
The demands include issuing a university statement “condeming the genocide perpetrated by the Israel Defense Forces towards the people of Gaza,” divesting from weapons manufacturers, among others.