Students set up camp at DePaul University as pro-Palestinian university protests continue across the country – NBC Chicago

DePaul University students and demonstrators have joined a national movement to protest the war between Israel and Hamas on campus.

A tent encampment was launched Tuesday on the Lincoln Park campus, made up of a “diverse coalition of Palestinian students and their allies,” according to a press release.

Like protesters on other campuses, DePaul demonstrators are calling on the university to divest from companies that do business with Israel, while also calling on the university to call for a ceasefire .

In Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, protests entered their second day at the University of Chicago, where a tent encampment remains despite threats of discipline from the university.

“We are outraged by the scale of the violence,” graduate student Safia Mahjebin told NBC Chicago. “We know that the university owns shares in the manufacturing of weapons. It has close relationships with people who have profited and made fortunes from the war. For us, this is unacceptable.”

Elsewhere in the country, protesters clashed with police.

In New York, protesters stormed and occupied a building on Columbia University’s main campus overnight, with some students now at risk of being expelled from the university.

In Austin, Texas, dozens of protesters were arrested Monday during a pro-Palestinian demonstration on the University of Texas campus.

So far, protests at the University of Chicago have remained mostly peaceful and no arrests have been reported.

Ali Rezadoostdar is an associate professor and serves as faculty liaison.

“In case communication is necessary,” Rezadoostdar said. “Agitators have been passing through here since yesterday, so we must ensure that everything is peaceful and calm.”

The students said they would remain on campus until the university responds to their demands.

“We need to remove investment from the University of Israel, outside of supporting arms manufacturers and fossil fuel industries that support Israeli settlement,” said undergraduate student Andrew Basta.

A statement from University of Chicago President Paul Alivisatos to the university community affirming the school’s adherence to “rigorous viewpoint neutrality” while adding that establishing an encampment “violates clearly policies against building structures on campus without prior approval and against staying overnight on campus.”

Alivisatos also said the use of the word “encampment” implied more the use of force than persuasion.

“I think protesters should also consider that an encampment, with all the word’s etymological links to military origins, is a way of using force rather than reason to persuade others. For a short time, however, The impact of a modest encampment is not that different from that of a conventional rally or march,” the statement read in part.

Alivisatos added that while students should expect disciplinary action for violating university policy, the encampment will be allowed to remain “for a short period of time.”

“Given the importance of our students’ speech rights, we may allow an encampment to continue for a short period of time despite obvious policy violations, but those who violate university policy must expect disciplinary action,” the statement reads in part.

The statement also added that the encampment requires a reallocation of police resources and that the university will act to preserve the functioning of the campus.

“The impact of an encampment depends on the extent to which it disrupts studies, studies and free movement on campus. To be clear, we will not tolerate violence or harassment directed at individuals or groups. And the disruption gets worse the longer the encampment lasts. persists. With a 24-hour presence, day in and day out, we must, for example, divert police resources from public safety to our campus and community.

“If necessary, we will act to preserve essential campus operations from the accumulated effects of these disruptions. I ask the students who set up this camp to instead embrace the multitude of other tools available to them. Seek to persuade others of your point of view with methods that do not violate policies or disrupt the operation of the University and the safety of others,” Alivisatos said at the end of his statement.

A follow-up statement from the university’s dean of students, Michele Rasmussen, added that those involved had been informed of possible disciplinary action.

“Those involved are advised that the University is prepared to take additional action in the event of continued violations of our policies regarding time, place and manner governing protests, threats to public safety, disruption of operations or academic activities, or destruction of property,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen also said deans were in limited communication with protesters, informing them of university policy and other information.

“Deans on duty are in contact with Quad students. Their role is limited to advising protesters on university policy and procedures, and providing information and support where necessary. Security Ambassadors and Officers University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) are also present and available to ensure public safety,” Rasmussen’s statement said.

As for DePaul University, a university press release indicates in particular that, although several university policies are violated by the presence of the encampments, the university invites people who are protesting to discuss how to express themselves peacefully.

“While tents and unauthorized structures on DePaul property violate various university policies, we invite members of our university community who are protesting to discuss with us how to peacefully express themselves. Our goal is to identify a path forward that allows our community to have their voices heard, while respecting the right of their fellow students to continue to actively engage in their education and remain in compliance with the law and university policy.” can we read in part in the press release.

The university added that it hopes to establish a dialogue with protesters while ensuring the safety of all members of the community.

“We hope to establish a dialogue with members of the DePaul community who are leading the protest. We again want to emphasize that we have a team of senior leaders, staff and faculty on campus who are here to engage with those protesting , communicating to them the limits within which the university will allow their efforts and work toward creative solutions through which their voices can be heard. We hope to be able to accept these limits – within the framework of university policies as well as state and local ordinances. – in order to be able to support the voices of those who protest.

“While we are passionate about promoting open dialogue in the spirit of peace, we must also protect the safety of our campus community. Violence, harassment, or intimidation, and actions that interfere with university operations, damage property, or are disruptive. to our neighbors – including, but not limited to, amplified sound – will result in immediate disciplinary action, such as suspension or expulsion, as well as criminal sanctions. Please remember that any complaints filed directly with the Chicago Police Department by the neighboring community will be followed up on. directly, and the university will not be able to intervene in these cases,” the press release added.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League was among three organizations calling for the resignation of Northwestern University President Michael Schill after the university reached a deal with protesters that they would agree to answer questions on specific participations and investments.

The agreement also states that the university will reconvene an advisory committee to ensure that “any vendor who profits from the Israeli occupation” will not provide services on campus. The statement said the university plans to invest more in supporting Muslim and Jewish life on campus, according to the Associated Press.

The agreement also allows “peaceful protests consistent with university policy” to continue until June 1, when spring term classes end.

“President Schill capitulated to hatred and intolerance, and gave power and courage to those who used intimidation, harassment, and violence to achieve their ends. Instead of imposing fines and suspensions in accordance with university policies, he awarded the protesting groups scholarships, professorships and a renovated community house. Instead of permanently closing the encampment and making the campus safe for everyone, he told protesters they could stay until June 1. Instead of reaffirming a long-standing university policy rejecting the anti-Semitic campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, he created new avenues for its implementation. And instead of holding perpetrators accountable, he committed Northwestern to actively defending, protecting, and shielding students from anyone else, such as potential future employers, who might choose to hold protesters accountable for their harassing conduct and discriminatory”, we can read in the press release from the ADL party.

NBC Chicago

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