A sit-in by students and other individuals in the Native American Forum is disrupting classes during the first day of Spring Semester at Humboldt State University.
The university is reaching out to those who are protesting to discuss their concerns and urge them to leave the facility so that classes may continue as scheduled. The university recognizes and respects the students’ right to protest and have their voices heard. However, the current action is affecting the education of other students. Five classes with high enrollment are scheduled to meet in the Native American Forum on Tuesday and Wednesday – the first class was held in the room with protestors present, and others are being relocated.
The top priorities for the university as it works to address the situation are safety and student learning.
The sit-in began following a two-day conference on Native American Activism. The student club called Civil Liberties Defense Center (HSU Chapter) had campus permission to use the space through 10 p.m. Monday evening, after which approximately 30 individuals chose to stay in the room overnight. They discussed their plans in advance with University Police, and asked officers many questions about options and consequences. The university does not know how long the protestors plan to continue the sit-in.
The concern of protestors appears to be last fall’s departure of the director of Indian Natural Resource, Science and Engineering Program (INRSEP), though other issues have been raised in media reports and online. One other concern appears to be that the name of the Native American Forum may have been changed. It has not, and there have been no plans or discussions about doing so.
Campus officials have had ongoing dialogue with Native students and many others about issues and challenges related to diversity. The university remains deeply committed to diversity and to providing support to help all students be successful.