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Chico State’s “cessation of conflict” resolution makes most of its impact on campus

Chico State professor Lindsay Briggs on campus on May 13, 2024.
Erik Adams
Chico State professor Lindsay Briggs on campus on May 13, 2024.

Chico State student activists and faculty are celebrating a win after the Academic Senate approved two resolutions related to the Israel-Hamas war.

And they recognize the achievement may mean more to students and the campus community than to what actually happens on the ground in Gaza.

One of the resolutions passed last week reaffirms students’ freedom of speech protections. The other formally calls for a “cessation of conflict” in the Middle East.

Within the broader protest movement against Israel's ongoing attacks on Gaza, the impact of these resolutions is limited, according to a member of the academic senate, but still important.

“Resolutions are just basically statements,” said Marianne Paiva, a lecturer who sits on Chico State’s Academic Senate. “They aren't a policy or anything like that … They are basically just a type of way to say these are our thoughts. This is how we feel about this topic. And this is what we would like to see from our leaders.”

Paiva said administrators like the university’s chancellor and president can use the statements made in these resolutions to advocate for the university community whenever the chance arises.

“When they go to legislators or when they go to other campuses,” Paiva said, “they can say ‘this is what's really important at Chico State.’ It's important enough that we wrote it down, we all agreed on it and now we're sending it off to people.”

Chico State students have organized demonstrations and events on and off campus since the conflict began on Oct. 7, 2023.

One major demand of student protests around the country was to demand a call for a ceasefire in the Middle East.

Paiva said “ceasefire” is a strict legal term, and the resolution passed at the university last week calls for a “cessation of conflict.”

“It's a more basic level of ‘this just needs to stop, because it's putting other people at harm,’” Paiva said.

Lindsay Briggs is a public health professor at Chico State who has been involved in protests on campus.

She sees the senate’s resolution as an important part of the larger movement, but recognizes the win at Chico State can only take things so far.

“Nobody thinks the Academic Senate of Chico State is going to be the thing that brings peace to the Middle East,” Briggs said.

“Is it the end all be all? No,” she said. “We're not going to win a Nobel Prize for our resolution. But that was never the point anyway. The point was to say, ‘hey, we should raise our voices and have them heard’ and that was accomplished.”

Along with some of the protestors’ demands being met, Briggs said the approval of the resolution helped show students that their voices can influence the university.

“To see students do something relatively important in a short period of time, against all odds and have a successful outcome,” Briggs said, “I think is really inspiring for other students who were maybe too scared or felt not informed enough to get involved in this sort of process.”

Looking forward, Briggs said the summer will likely see a quiet campus while students and faculty are out of town. But depending on how the conflict pans out, she said demonstrations may continue into the next academic year.

“If, God forbid, there continues to be aggression in the fall when we're all back on campus,” Briggs said, “I would expect that there would be some more mobilization to say ‘yeah, we said we wanted this stuff to stop and it still hasn't stopped, and deaths are still occurring.’”

Erik began his role as NSPR's Butte County government reporter in September of 2023 as part of UC Berkeley's California Local News Fellowship. He received his bachelor's degree in Journalism from Cal State LA earlier that year.