UC Santa Barbara temporarily suspended the MultiCultural Center and its Instagram account after pro-Palestine student activists posted signs during a gathering at the Center, expressing solidarity with Palestine and dissent against university administration, the Associated Students President Tessa Veksler and Zionism on Feb. 26. 

The signage was not attributed to any specific individual or entity. Hanz Herman / Daily Nexus

The signage garnered polarizing reactions from the campus community, leading to published statements from Students Supporting Israel (SSI) and Alpha Epsilon Pi and social media backlash.

A university-wide email from Chancellor Henry T. Yang and other university administration members condemned the signage posted by pro-Palestine student advocates. 

“We were distressed to learn of incidents over the weekend that included offensive social media messages and signage at the MultiCultural Center entrance. Campus offices are reviewing these unauthorized and unofficial messages,” the email read. 

“The signage has been removed and campus is conducting a bias incident review based on potential discrimination related to protected categories that include religion, citizenship, and national or ethnic origin,” the email continued. “The posting of such messages is a violation of our principles of community and inclusion.” 

The decision to temporarily suspend the Center was made following “discussion with student leaders and [MultiCultural Center] staff,” according to university spokesperson Kiki Reyes. The MultiCultural Center (MCC) Instagram account has been deactivated since the Feb. 26 gathering. 

The unauthorized posters and social media posts have been removed and we are conducting a review of the incident,” Reyes said in a statement to the Nexus. 

Though the signage was not attributed to any specific individual or entity, one of the posters at the gathering was signed by the Jackson Social Justice Legacy Scholarship (Jackson SJ) interns and MCC faculty and student staff.  

Jackson SJ interns, the MCC, political science and communication double major Tessa Veksler and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) did not respond to requests for comment. 

SSI at UCSB published a statement on Instagram in response to the gathering. 

“While the MCC prides itself on dedicating to creating a safe and inclusive space for cultural minorities, this attempt aims to silence, threaten, intimidate, and discriminate against the Jewish community,” the SSI statement read. 

The MCC, Jackson SJ interns nor SJP have published statements in light of Monday’s gathering as of Feb. 27. 

Monday’s collective action reportedly began before 9 a.m., with visible signage on the doors of the center reading “Zionists not welcome.” 

Around 11 a.m. in the MCC Lounge, students expressing pro-Palestine sentiment gathered to create posters as students in favor of Israel sat together in protest of the already existing signage. 

Discussions around Palestine and Israel began shortly thereafter. Veksler entered the Lounge at around 12:30 p.m. in protest of the signage and to discourse with the gathering’s attendees. 

Students posted signage opposing UCSB administration and Zionist sentiment throughout the Lounge, with more than 100 signs covering the windows and walls of the room. 

Students posted more than 100 signs covering the windows and walls of the room. Courtesy of Ericka Bradley

The signage carried the following phrases, among others: “Admin not welcome”; “Fuck your neutrality”; “We are not disposable”; “Free the speech, free the people”; “Justice for Palestine”; “Blood on your hands”; “Divestment Now”; “The olive trees will rise again”; and “When people are occupied, resistance is justified”. 

Some signage also voiced specific dissent against Veksler and Dean of Student Life Katya Armistead. 

“Tessa Veksler supports genocide,” “Fuck a ‘neutral’ A.S. president” and “Dean of Student Life, stop letting people die. Katya’s emergency exit,” the signage continued. 

Some signage voiced specific dissent against the Associated Students President and Dean of Student Life. Courtesy of Ericka Bradley / Daily Nexus

Veksler took to her personal Instagram following the gathering in opposition to the anti-Zionist signage. 

“I am floored by today’s events. I am deeply upset by the blatant antisemitic messaging displayed at UCSB’s Multicultural Center,” the post read. 

The gathering began to split down the middle of the MCC Lounge as it continued, with pro-Palestine-leaning students on one side and pro-Israel-leaning students on the other. Discourse around the ongoing crisis in Gaza, Zionism and antisemitism continued throughout the early afternoon. 

The gathering ended at around 3:20 p.m. following conversations escalating from students and university administration present. MCC staff shut its blinds and took down its signage visible to the outside thereafter. 

The gathering received negative responses on social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram. Various X users doxxed MCC faculty and staff and misattributed them to Monday’s gathering, sharing individual contact information in public posts. Instagram users have also left negative comments on departmental accounts like UCSB’s African diasporic Cultural Resource Center.

Reyes said the University investigates all reports of complaints against staff and “take appropriate actions, when possible.” 

We have shared a guide to respond to doxxing and individualized support,” she continued. “Creating a safe and welcoming learning environment on our campus is a continuous process that requires ongoing engagement with all constituent groups of our community.” 

The Nexus will continue to report on this topic as more information becomes available. 

A version of this article appeared on p. 1 of the Feb. 29, 2024, print edition of the Daily Nexus.

CORRECTION [2/28/2024, 2:53 p.m.]: A previous version of the article said the University investigates all complaints against community members. University Spokesperson Kiki Reyes clarified that the University investigates all reports of complaints. 


Asumi Shuda
Asumi Shuda (they/them) is the Lead News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Shuda was the Deputy News Editor, Community Outreach News Editor for the 2022-23 school year and the 2021-22 school year and an Assistant News Editor during the 2020-21 school year. They can be reached at asumishuda@dailynexus.com or news@dailynexus.com.