Pro-Palestinian teach-in at Santa Clara University held by students

Students are demonstrating on the Santa Clara University campus, protesting the situation in Gaza. But with tensions heightened at universities across the country, organizers were determined to keep this event calm.

They call this a teach-in. Student organizers at Santa Clara University say the goal is education and discourse around Gaza.

"And just make sure that this comes across as an educational event and people really get something out of it instead of just heightened emotions, argument. We don't want any of that," says Susan Amiri, co-president of the Middle Eastern-North African Club.

What they do want is a stop to the violence in Gaza, to the U.S. funding of Israel, and to any investments the university may have there.

"We do not want any of our tuition and funding or any of that to go toward the support of the genocide of the Palestinian people. We want to demand a ceasefire. We are the next generation. We are going to be voting this next election season, all of that kind of stuff," says another student organizer who asked not to be identified.

With tensions heightened on college campuses everywhere, university officials say it is important to balance free expression with campus safety.
They worked closely with the event organizers ahead of time.

"One of the expectations is that expressive activities don't block access, so the students who have class or other commitments across the campus are able to access those spaces," says Jeanne Rosenberger, the vice provost for student life at Santa Clara University.

Jewish students were offered campus escorts and asked for access to Zoom classes if needed.

"What is terrifying is knowing what has happened at other universities and how quickly it has gotten out of hand. I'm sure most of them started like this," says Lily Guggenheim, outgoing president of the Jewish Student Union.

A few counter-protestors walked the perimeter of the event without incident. But campus security was on the lookout for outside agitators.

Speakers at the teach-in included students and some faculty members, as well as proclamations from several campus organizations.

"Seeing everything going on in Palestine and in Gaza over our phones, over just the heaviness that I feel in my heart, really compelled me to really be here and tangibly stand in solidarity," says Daniel Martinez, with the Undocumented Students and Allies Association.