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Tents ‘can always be put back up’: Northwestern reaches deal with pro-Palestinian activists

EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern University will provide full-ride scholarships to “five Palestinian undergraduates,” restart an investment review committee, and hire “two [Palestinian] faculty per year for two years,” as part of an agreement reached with activists yesterday.

In exchange, the activists can continue to protest as long as they remove all but one aid tent.

“The University will permit peaceful demonstrations on Deering Meadow through the end of spring quarter classes (June 1) provided all such activity immediately and continuously complies with University policies,” according to the announcement from President Michael Schill and the administration.

But it is not clear the activists plan to fully follow through on their end of the bargain.

One student was heard saying that “some people were planning on sleeping here [on the lawn] without tents,” when The College Fix visited the encampment yesterday.

“[The tents] are being picked up because [they] are worried about the school” but also that “there is absolutely nothing off the table,” a student said. The student also said, “they can always be put back up.”

Other protestors indicated a weaker attachment to the idea of camping on the lawn.

One student said, “it’s not about the tent, it’s about the idea.”

“People are still going to be protesting here every day,” another activist said.

Students were mostly mulling around and talking, with some supplies packed up and put in totes or garbage bags.

The original purpose of the protests was to get the university to divest from “war and apartheid.”

However, the administration has not taken that step at this time.

Instead, they have agreed to re-establish the Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility and “provide immediate temporary space for MENA/MUSLIM students” and eventually build a house dedicated to “community building” for Middle Eastern Students.

“The University will engage students in a process dedicated to ensuring additional support for Jewish and Muslim students within Student Affairs/Religious & Spiritual Life,” the agreement also stated.

The protest area will be closed off to outside activists. The College Fix spoke yesterday to employees of Holy Buckets a halal fried chicken restaurant. The restaurant out of the nearby suburb of Lincolnwood has been feeding the protesters.

Some activists were wary to talk to reporters.

“We’re not doing any media for anyone, whether students or CNN…unfortunately…I don’t know when that will change,” one person told The Fix.

The protests may not move. “It is not clear,” a student said.

There might be “still people planning to sleep here tonight, just without tents,” the activist said.

“I think a lot of the other supplies are going to be donated to like [University of Chicago]…because they just put up their encampment today.”

MORE: Police deploy tear gas to break up violent pro-Palestinian protest at VCU

IMAGES: Caleb Nunes for The College Fix

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About the Author
College Fix contributor Caleb Nunes is a student at Northwestern University where he studies chemical engineering. He is a columnist at The Daily Northwestern, has been featured in The College Contemporary, and also in National Review where he won the William F. Buckley Jr. Essay Contest.