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UW officials, protesters agree to clear encampment on campus

UW officials, protesters agree to clear encampment on campus

Source: Terry Bell / Civic Media

May 10, 2024 2:33 PM CDT
By: Jimmie Kaska

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MADISON, Wis. (WMDX) – University of Wisconsin officials announced Friday that an agreement had been reached with student representatives to clear a pro-Palestine encampment from campus.

Representatives from Students for Justice in Palestine agreed to clear the encampment Friday and will not disrupt UW graduation ceremonies this weekend.

According to the agreement, UW will communicate with investment decision-makers about concerns brought up by the group. UW will also create additional support services, communication, and other resources for “students impacted by war, violence, occupation, and displacement.”

UW administration will also ask its Police Department to “use its discretion” for any citations or charges stemming from last Wednesday’s encampment clearing, where four members of the UWPD were hurt and 34 people were arrested.

In addition to clearing its encampment Friday, the student group agreed that any future protests would comply with campus policy and state law.

The pro-Palestinian protests were in response to policies and funding for Israel. Student groups called for for an end to the war and for UW-Madison to divest from companies that have business ties to Israel.

Multiple law enforcement agencies attempted to remove the encampment on the morning of May 1, but tents were put back up quickly afterwards.

Pro-Palestine protestors numbered in the hundreds on the UW-Madison campus on April 29, 2024.
Pro-Palestine protestors numbered in the hundreds on the UW-Madison campus on April 29, 2024.

UW System President Jay Rothman said last week that he supported the action taken by UW-Madison and Chancellor Mnookin.

“We commit to upholding free speech rights while simultaneously upholding the law and our mission to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of our community,” Rothman said. “I commend Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin for her reasonableness and resolve, as well as her commitment to free expression and the safety and security of her students.”

“Every individual was given the opportunity to move away from the tent area and continue peaceful protest without further police engagement,” Mnookin said. “While many chose to do so, approximately 30 protesters were cited and several others resisted police action to remove tents or otherwise interfered with the operation and were arrested.”

The largest crowd sizes were into the hundreds at the peak of the protests.

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