After violent California campus clashes, lawmakers weigh in. ‘Where is the governor?’

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Tensions boiled over into violence late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, when hundreds of pro-Israel counter-protesters stormed a Palestinian solidarity encampment at UCLA and assaulted the protesters gathered there.

According to Al-Jazeera, police stood by and watched the violence transpire for hours before stepping in. The Los Angeles Times has a timeline of events here.

The shocking violence drew the attention of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose office posted on X that he condemned the violence.

“The law is clear: The right to free speech does not extend to inciting violence, vandalism, or lawlessness on campus. Those who engage in illegal behavior must be held accountable for their actions — including through criminal prosecution, suspension or expulsion,” Newsom said in a statement.

It also drew the attention of state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, made several posts on X about the violence at UCLA, criticizing Newsom for a lack of leadership in handling the matter.

“Anyone harassing and assaulting students, taking over buildings, or blocking access to education on our state campuses should be arrested and removed. Period. Full stop. Where is the Governor?” Gallagher wrote in a post on X.

The Republican leader criticized UCLA for its decision to cancel classes Wednesday to help assure student safety.

Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones, R-Santee, issued a statement Wednesday condemning the protesters.

“Actions involving illegal activities including erecting illegal encampments, blockading entrances, vandalizing property, obstructing campus access, holding individuals hostage, or instigating violence, harassment, and intimidation are not protected by free speech, but are criminal offenses. Perpetrators must face immediate accountability such as suspension and arrest,” he said.

Neither Gallagher nor Jones specifically addressed the pro-Israel attack that took place at UCLA.

Assemblyman Rick Chavez Zbur, D-Hollywood, in a statement Wednesday called the violence “horrific” and “abhorrent” and said it has no place in Los Angeles or in a democracy.

“No matter how strongly one may disagree with or be offended by the anti-Israel demonstrators’ messages, tactics, or goals, violence is never acceptable and those responsible must be held accountable,” Zbur said in the statement.

The assemblyman said that UCLA’s administration “has failed in their most important duty — to protect the safety, well-being and civil rights of all students on campus.”

Assemblyman Isaac Bryan, D-Los Angeles, wrote in a post on X, ”What UCLA students and Daily Bruin journalists experienced in the encampment last night is unlike anything I’ve ever seen at a demonstration. It was not a counter-protest. It was not peaceful. It was violently unacceptable in every possible way.”

California lawmakers also have weighed in on the student encampment protest at Cal Poly Humboldt, where dozens of students were arrested.

The two lawmakers whose district includes that university, Senate President Pro Tem Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, and Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, released a joint statement Tuesday calling this “an extremely challenging week in Humboldt.”

“Protesting peacefully in America is a fundamental, Constitutional right — it’s what our nation is about and, let’s be candid, protesting is part of the fabric of the North Coast,” the two lawmakers said in the statement. “That said, there is a clear line and it starts and stops with destruction of school property, vandalism, and antisemitic hate speech.”

The lawmakers referenced law enforcement’s efforts to clear the campus of protesters, saying damage to the school is estimated to be more than $1 million.

“Let’s be clear — it’s going to take time to heal. Trust is earned, and it is going to take all sides coming together to have the difficult conversations needed to move forward. Cal Poly Humboldt must be a campus where all faiths and students of all backgrounds feel safe, respected, and included. This has not been the case for Humboldt’s Jewish students and others over the past week,” the lawmakers said.

They added “reasonable ideas don’t have to be in conflict,” and that people can support the return of hostages taken by Hamas and “mourn every single of of the thousands of innocent lives lost.”

“We’re stronger as a community when we learn from our differences and where we’ve been, and move forward together,” they said.


“Apropos of nothing, I feel like the Cybertruck was designed by people who spend way too much time playing Minecraft.”

- Sen. Dave Min, D-Irvine, via X.

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