Who is Organizing Campus Pro Palestinian Protests?

Pro-Palestinian encampment at Columbia University| Image credits: Inside Edition

Last week, tensions at Columbia University reached a new high. Over 100 students were arrested after New York City police, equipped with riot gear, entered the university on President Minouche Shafik’s orders to restore peace on campus.

The students had set up a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on the campus, protesting and demanding that the university stop investing in companies linked to Israel, given the current conflict in Gaza.

Students and faculty from various universities, including the University of North Carolina, Ohio State University, University of Michigan, Boston University, and University of California Berkeley, have been organizing marches, walkouts, and other forms of protest.

 

Who is Organizing Campus Pro-Palestinian Protests?

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is a prominent group leading protests for Palestinian rights on U.S. college campuses. Recently, they have been organizing encampments at various universities.

Students and faculty at various universities nationwide, including the University of North Carolina, Ohio State University, University of Michigan, Boston University, and University of California Berkeley, have organized marches, walkouts, and other demonstrations. These actions are in solidarity with the students at Columbia University who are involved in protests.

Protest at this campuses
Protest at this campuses| Image Credit: Inside Edition

Pro-Palestinian student activists have faced pushback and consequences.

 As students engaged in organizing pro-Palestinian activities, they encountered several challenges, including counterprotests from pro-Israel student groups, changing policies from university administrators, and significant backlash.

They also faced serious threats such as death threats, legal battles, surveillance, doxing, and targeted actions by pro-Israel organizations. This increased scrutiny of student activism coincided with broader national security measures implemented following the 9/11 attacks under the George W. Bush administration.

Notably, the introduction of the Patriot Act facilitated greater domestic surveillance, impacting various forms of activism, including those on college campuses.

Early Monday, New Haven police arrested nearly 50 people on Yale University’s campus during the third day of a demonstration. Meanwhile, Columbia University shifted to virtual classes for a “campus reset” and plans to continue with a hybrid format for the rest of the semester.

On Monday night, police also arrested students at New York University, where around 400 people had gathered for a protest. The university administration described the demonstration as “disorderly, disruptive, and antagonizing.”