Campus Watch June 5, 2024

A roundup of incidents, good and bad, happening on school campuses.
June 6, 2024

Pro-Palestinian Protesters Block Traffic at Westwood Plaza

More than 300 pro-Palestinian protesters reportedly blocked traffic at Westwood Plaza on June 3.

According to The Daily Bruin, the protesters marched from Dickson Plaza to the intersection of Westwood Plaza and Le Conte Avenue, where they 鈥渙ccupied the area鈥 and 鈥渉osted a teach-in about union organizing and the war in Gaza.鈥 UCLA alumnus Andrew Lewis posted on X that the protesters had 鈥渃ut off access via Westwood Blvd into the heart of the UCLA Campus鈥 and 鈥渙bstructed鈥 the 鈥渕ain entry-point into UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center.鈥 The Bruin posted on X that the protesters eventually 鈥渕oved from the road to a lawn adjacent to Le Conte Avenue鈥 after talking to police. Among the reported chants at the intersection included 鈥渙ccupation is a crime鈥 and 鈥渨e are the intifada,鈥 according to a post on X from the Bruin.

UCLA Vice Chancellor Mary Osako said in a June 3 statement, 鈥淭oday, the union shut down streets that patients use to get critical medical care, the same streets that students use to get to class. Why is the union punishing students who are just trying to learn?鈥 UAW Local 4811 members were reportedly among those who planned the protest; they are striking due to the university allowing 鈥減olice to use force on members of the union during the sweep of the Palestine solidarity encampment,鈥 reported the Bruin.

Pro-Palestinian Protesters Establish Encampment During Columbia Alumni Weekend

Pro-Palestinian protesters at Columbia University built another encampment during the university鈥檚 alumni reunion weekend and then subsequently removed it.

The Columbia Daily Spectator reported on June 2 that the 鈥淩evolt for Rafah鈥 encampmentlasted more than 48 hours on the west side of the university鈥檚 South Lawn before the protesters removed it; they left a cardboard sign saying, 鈥淲e鈥檒l Be Back B鈥攅s.鈥 The protesters had erected 10 tents on May 31; shortly thereafter, public safety officers removed five of the tents and told the protesters that they had to leave. Protesters surrounded their central white tent with wooden tables and chairs, per the Spectator.

鈥淒emonstrators established the encampment both to disrupt Columbia鈥檚 annual alumni reunion weekend and in response to the Israeli military鈥檚 invasion of Rafah, a southern city in Gaza and a key access point for humanitarian aid,鈥 the Spectator reported. 鈥淧rotesters called for alumni to withhold donations from the University and demanded that the University divest from companies with ties to Israel, offer full financial transparency, and grant amnesty for disciplined student protesters.鈥

鈥淔ree Palestine鈥 Graffiti Outside of UMich Jewish Board of Regent鈥檚 Office

Graffiti stating 鈥淔ree Palestine鈥 and 鈥淒ivest Now鈥 were found outside of the law office of Jordan Acker, a member of the University of Michigan鈥檚 Board of Regents.

Other graffiti found stated, 鈥淯M Kills鈥 and 鈥淔鈥 you Acker,鈥 reported Jewish Insider (JI). Acker, who is Jewish, told JI, 鈥淚t鈥檚 a disgusting escalation and pure antisemitism. This has nothing to do with Palestine. I am one of eight [regents] and I was the only person targeted. I believe that鈥檚 because I鈥檓 Jewish. I believe this was a message to be sent to the Jewish community.鈥

DePaul Students Pass Referendum to Divest from Israel

Students at DePaul University voted in favor of a referendum calling on the university to divest from Israel.

According to The College Fix, the referendum called for the university to 鈥榙ivest from companies that directly profit from the suffering of Palestinians.鈥欌 The referendum received 91% support of students who voted. The DePaul Divest Coalition said in a statement posted to Instagram, 鈥淭his referendum makes support of divestment a binding position of the Student Government Association for the entirety of the upcoming academic year and therefore codifies the legitimacy of our movement into the shared governance of the institution 鈥 though of course, much more work is needed to push the Trustees and senior administration into committing to implement this overwhelming call for divestment made by the student body.鈥

A spokesperson for the university told The DePaulia student newspaper, 鈥淲e recognize and appreciate the activism of our students, but the university disagrees with their call to divest from Israel.鈥

House Committee Requests SJP Provide Documents on Funding, Communication

House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) sent a May 29 letter to National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) requesting that the organizations provide 鈥渄ocuments and information 鈥 to facilitate oversight into how pro-Hamas propaganda and illegal encampments are being funded.鈥

Comer鈥檚 requests included asking the organizations to provide 鈥渁ll documents and communications related to National SJP鈥檚 funding,鈥 鈥渁ll documents and communications related to the October 7, 2023, terrorist attack by Hamas, including, but not limited to, documents and communications related to National SJP鈥檚 public facing responses to the Oct. 7, 2023, terrorist attack by Hamas鈥 and 鈥渁ll documents and communications, regardless of topic, created on or sent between Oct. 6, 2023 鈥 Oct. 8, 2023, inclusive.鈥 AMP, according to Comer, 鈥渇ounded and controlled鈥 NSJP. The organizations have until June 12 to provide the information requested by the committee.

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