Breaking Campus News. Launching Media Careers.
Police use pepper spray to help shut down UMich anti-Israel protest, one of longest-running encampments

Police used force — including pepper spray — on Tuesday morning to help shut down an anti-Israel campus encampment that had become a safety hazard at the University of Michigan.

The enforcement also came less than a week after demonstrators put “fake body bags on the lawn of a school official,” the Associated Press reported.

The camp had been set up for about 30 days before it was razed by officers, according to the activists. It was reportedly “one of the longest-running university encampments in the country this year,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

Other safety concerns, in addition to conditions in the encampment, were at play, the Michigan Daily student newspaper reported.

President Santa Ono “also cited incidents of protesters going beyond the lawful expressions of free speech welcomed at the University, including a protest outside of the UMMA earlier this month that was met with police force and demonstrations outside of the private residences of several members of the Board of Regents. Ono said the University will remain dedicated to free speech on campus, but emphasized the importance of protests following the law and adhering to University policies,” the Daily reported.

Ono also said officials were “forced to take action after the protesters refused to remove fire hazards discovered during an inspection last week by a fire marshal,” the Free Press reported.

Campus spokeswoman Melissa Overton told the newspaper that prior to the crack down, “officers provided a handout and issued three warnings over a 15-minute period, asking participants to leave voluntarily before being subject to arrest.”

Posts on X on Tuesday by the TAHRIR Coalition, a cadre of University of Michigan student groups taking part in the pro-Palestinian protest, decried the enforcement, posting video of some of its participants getting sprayed by a chemical agent by officers.

Jewish Voice For Peace UMich’s X account also posted videos and pictures of the officers shutting down the campus encampment, stating: “Protestors were pepper sprayed, hospitalized, and brutally arrested. Is this your idea of student safety?”

FOX 2 News reported the university’s Department of Public Safety said about 50 students were at the encampment when police arrived.

“In recent days, encampment participants have also received numerous outreach attempts from U-M administrators and DPSS leadership, asking them to leave,” campus police said in a statement. “The encampment posed safety risks, both to participants and the community at large, and its presence was in violation of policies and regulations. Its removal was important to help maintain the safety and security of the U-M campus community.”

U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan called on President Ono to resign over the enforcement, posting on X: “Spraying chemicals in the faces of the students you are supposed to protect is unforgivable. President Ono should resign.”

MORE: U. Michigan anti-Israel protesters promise ‘no rest’ in the new year

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

Please join the conversation about our stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, MeWe, Rumble, Gab, Minds and Gettr.

About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.