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Pro-Palestinian encampment stays up 8 days after U. Denver disband order

Protesters being ‘coddled’ by university, rabbi says

A pro-Palestinian encampment stayed up on the University of Denver campus eight days after administrators demanded that it disband – prompting complaints about safety and “coddled” protesters.

The DU Students for Palestine announced plans to end its encampment in a statement Wednesday on Instagram. However, it did not provide a timeline.

University leaders ordered the protesters to disband more than a week ago, giving them a 9 p.m. May 21 deadline.

“Our fight is not over,” DU Students for Palestine stated Wednesday. “The Board of Trustees, Chancellor Jeremy Haefner, and the rest of administration are cowards who continue to support genocide. … We know that a better world is possible. It is up to the people to start the revolution, and it will be the people who win.”

The student protesters mentioned threats of suspension and safety concerns, as well as university leaders’ refusal to support a “permanent ceasefire” in Gaza and divestment from Israel, as their reasons for disbanding the camp.

Meanwhile, Jewish students and a campus rabbi expressed frustration with university leaders’ failure to follow through on the May 21 order.

FOX 31 reports:

As of Monday, May 27, the encampment had a fence around it, which the university said was to keep those inside the encampment safe, which led to more frustration among some Jewish students.

“The frustration, really, is that this group of demonstrators are being coddled by the university that is of course embracing their right to free speech,” said DU Rabbi Yossi Serebryanksi. “There’s no perception that there are consequences to their actions, which leaves many in the Jewish community feeling unheard, unseen and unsafe.”

Freshman Jack Burkman said he was assaulted on campus shortly after the 9 p.m. May 21 deadline passed.

“I was just walking around with an Israeli flag you know; I wasn’t saying anything hateful toward the camp at all,” Burkman told the news outlet. “And then I just got shoved really hard.”

He said friends of his also were “called slurs directed at Jewish people.”

At least three arrests and vandalism incidents have been reported in connection to the pro-Palestinian protest in the past week.

Two students and a third individual were arrested Thursday while allegedly caught in the act of vandalizing Craig Hall, according to a message from Chief of Campus Safety Michael Bunker, reported by 9 News.

According to an update from 9 News:

Officers entered the room and noticed that the carpeted floor had been spray-painted with the words “What side of history will you be on.” The white dry-erase boards had the words “free Palestine” and “40,000 dead silence is complicit” written in permanent marker.

It was estimated that replacing the carpet would cost about $2,000 and replacing the boards would cost about $1,000.

The suspects are facing felony charges, according to the report.

On May 23, Chancellor Jeremy Haefner and Provost Mary Clark issued a university update acknowledging the violence that occurred on campus after the deadline passed.

“… as Carnegie Green overflowed with people from within and outside our university, we witnessed alarming behavior including verbal expressions of hate, physical harm, and vandalism,” Haefner and Clark stated.

Haefner and Clark said they met with the protest leaders and agreed to set up a fence around the encampment for everyone’s safety.

“In prioritizing safety and holding firm to our commitment to free expression, our goal remains the safe and peaceful resolution to the encampment,” they stated.

In a statement earlier this week to FOX 31, the university asked students “with immediate concerns about their environment, faculty, roommate or anyone else involved in their university experience” to contact Student Affairs and Inclusive Excellence.

MORE: Wayne State anti-Israel encampment forces classes online as Rep. Rashida Tlaib joins protest

IMAGE: DU Students for Palestine/Instagram

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About the Author
Micaiah Bilger is an assistant editor at The College Fix.