An autonomous collective took over the Carrillo Dining Commons and De La Guerra Dining Commons on May 28 to give students free food. The movement, promoted by the UCSB Liberated Zone, emphasized disclosure of UCSB tuition and funds and acted in solidarity with graduate students on strike for the arrests of encampment protestors at UCLA.

Signs outside DLG read “Food not Bombs” and “Yang funds genocide,” among others. Lizzy Rager / Daily Nexus

“If UCSB can afford to fund bombs and missiles to send to Israel, they can afford to let their students eat,” a UCSB Liberated Zone Instagram post said. The purpose, an anonymous organizer said, is that “everyone can eat for free” because the group “would rather the school’s money go to feeding the students than to bombs or war research.” 

The dining common collective is made up of individuals independent from the encampment movement, but the collective has been publicly supported by the encampment, an organizer who wished to remain anonymous said. They said the group began its occupation without pushback from the dining commons. 

The takeover was also publicized the same day by the Liberated Zone Instagram. The effort began at 11 a.m. and concluded at 3 p.m. without interference by police authorities. The Nexus did not observe any Student Safety Partners (SSPs), student liaisons between students and UC Police Department (UCPD), while reporting.

At the De La Guerra Dining Commons (DLG), three to four organizers manned the DLG entrance and swipe desk, as dining common staff observed the takeover. According to an anonymous organizer, a UC Police Department officer came by DLG at 12 p.m., asked a few questions, then left the scene.

At the Carrillo Dining Commons, five organizers took turns manning the doors and speaking on a microphone to the line. “Get your free food for a free Palestine,” an organizer projected. 

The UCSB Liberated Zone post said “UCSB must disclose where it invests $169 billion.” Members of the Liberated Zone previously filed a Public Records Act (PRA) request regarding the University’s Department of Defense contracts and investments.

UCSB Liberated Zone is currently awaiting a response from the University on negotiating its encampment demands after outlining good faith bargaining rules in a May 20 email, according to a press release from May 24. 

The demands include the University’s disclosure of ties and divestment in Israel’s government and weapons manufacturers supplying Israel, alongside campus demilitarization, protecting campus free speech and freedom and reinvesting its funds toward student housing and food insecurity, among others, according to an encampment press release.

Additionally, the effort supported the ongoing graduate student United Auto Workers (UAW) 4811 union strikes at UC Santa Cruz, which began May 20, as well as strikes at UC Los Angeles and UC Davis, which began May 28. The strikes follow an unfair labor injunction for arrests of student workers at UCLA’s encampment. Across all nine UCs, about a third of the union’s 4,800 workers are on strike as of Tuesday. 

The dining staff present at the sites refused requests for comment from the Nexus. University media spokesperson Kiki Reyes did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

“It’s a two-sided coin,” an organizer at DLG said. “We have the desire to nourish the people here and also there’s the benefit of creating a dent in the university’s funds because a lot of their money is going to Rafah and murdering people.”

Michelle Cisneros contributed to this reporting.

A version of this article appeared on p. 4 of the May 30, 2024 print edition of the Daily Nexus.

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Lizzy Rager
Lizzy Rager (she/her) is the Assistant News Editor for the 2024-25 school year. She can be reached at lizzyrager@dailynexus.com