‘A deeply disturbing act of disrespect against the martyrs in Palestine’
Members of a University of Chicago pro-Palestinian group are angry at school officials over the removal of their policy-violating “emergency art build.”
UChicago United for Palestine assembled the art structure on Wednesday at the school’s main quad, but the official Student Manual states any such construction must be approved by the Director of the Student Centers “or a someone designated by the director,” The Maroon reports.
The UCUP art build included “wooden figures, canvases, and oranges” upon which members “were encouraged to paint” and write the names of Palestinians killed over the last two months.
Despite conceding the build was not authorized, UCUP blasted its removal saying it was “both a deeply disturbing act of disrespect against the martyrs in Palestine and a sinister message to Palestinian students everywhere who are increasingly targeted in hate crimes.”
Art build organizers also said projects like theirs “are helpful in keeping morale up” and show how members “persevere” through university officials’ “suppression.”
scenes from the uchicago united for palestine art build. despite admin tactics of repression, intimidation, & retaliation, UCUP is still out there, expressing solidarity w/ palestine pic.twitter.com/wI2AyNVGH7
— kxh (@halfmoonpoem) November 29, 2023
“[The protests have] been straining, especially with the suppression we’ve been facing with the administration when 26 students and faculty were arrested in Rosenwald Hall during a peaceful sit-in, and from administrative and UCPD presence at our events,” the UCUP member said. “Events like this one, where we’re making art and building community, are really part of how we persevere through that.”
Organizers have also found art builds useful for establishing their presence and keeping their cause visible on campus.
“An art build creates community understanding, compassion, and solidarity. When we did this the previous time, we saw that it was powerful not just for the people who were there [at the art build] but also when you walk past and see the jars representing Gazan homes, [you are] reminded of what’s going on in Gaza currently and the community that made [the art].”
Students for Justice in Palestine member “Isaiah” said pro-Palestinian protesters will remain at the campus’ main quad “until the bombardment of Gaza ends.”