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A Roundup: Campus Protests Continue Despite the Repression 

No Graduation as Usual Amidst a Genocide

College campuses continue to be the site of determined resistance to the U.S.-backed Israeli genocidal slaughter of Palestinian people. While most of the Gaza Solidarity Encampments that cropped up across the country have been violently shut down, creative and courageous protests continue to spread. And students are continuing to demand their schools divest from Israel financially, and demand an end to the genocide happening now. At many campuses faculty members have stepped forward to support the protests, speaking out against the violent assaults on their students.

As we wrote last week, “These college students, especially from 'elite' universities, are going up against their own government on a matter of strategic importance to the ruling class—the state of Israel as a military outpost for U.S. capitalism-imperialism in the strategic region of the Middle East. This is forcing many others to sit up and take notice, to question what they are going along with and to challenge long-held fundamental assumptions about the nature of this system, and their responsibility to the world.”

This has been met with slander and lies from Genocide Joe Biden and other leading representatives of this system, and a violent nationwide crackdown. Police have been called in to more than 80 campuses, and more than 2,800 protesters— mainly students—have been arrested at demonstrations or on campuses. Some of these protests have also been violently attacked by pro-Israel and MAGA fascist mobs.

System Moves to Break Up Protest Encampments, Arrest Students

Here's a roundup of just some of the protests that have spread this week, and the intensifying repression against them:

** University of Chicago: On Monday, April 29, when students first put up a tent encampment on the quad, the university administration took a hands-off approach. The school is well known for being an advocate for “free speech, and the right to protest.” But by the end of the week, it became clear that the school was going to bring down the hammer when the university president issued a letter declaring that the encampment “cannot continue.” Four days later, the university police in riot helmets marched onto campus and tore down the encampment, as students continued to protest outside. “They started very, very quickly ripping and throwing the barricades that were protecting the camp,” one faculty member who had been at the encampment to protect students said. “They started destroying the tents and throwing them.”

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At DePaul University, Chicago, entrances are blocked and people are linking arms to protect encampment from anticipated Zionist counter protesters, May 12, 2024.


At DePaul University, Chicago, entrances are blocked and people are linking arms to protect encampment from anticipated Zionist counter protesters, May 12, 2024.     Photo: Special to

** University of Massachusetts Amherst: On May 7, police raided the encampment students had set up—for the second time. Students ended the first one voluntarily on April 30, but this time they’d refused to leave.  "It was a militarized zone—that's all I can explain it as. It was not our campus. It was not a safe place," a leader in the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine said. "They keep calling it a riot and it simply was not a riot until the cops came and made it to be a riot. And even then, we were being peaceful." Police arrested more than 130 demonstrators. The next day hundreds turned out to protest the attack. This brutal crackdown prompted Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Colson Whitehead to cancel his planned commencement speech: “[C]alling the cops on peaceful protesters is a shameful act,” he said. “I have to withdraw as your commencement speaker. I give all my best wishes and congratulations to the class of ’24 and pray for the safety of the Palestinian people, the return of the hostages, and an end to this terrible war.”

University of Massachusetts, cops destroy encampment, make arrests, May 7, 2024.


University of Massachusetts, Amherst, cops destroy encampment, make arrests, May 7, 2024.    Photo: Website screen grab

** University of Virginia in Charlottesville: On Saturday, May 4, riot police armed with M4 military carbines and chemical-gas launchers stormed the protest encampment. “We were able to hold our ground until they started to spray huge clouds of chemicals at close range,” one protester said. “When we ran back into the encampment to flush out our eyes and our throats, it was when we were separated and on the ground that they started to beat me down with their shields, drag my body by my clothes, and they sprayed us at close range with the chemicals. I saw the can close to my face. I had a friend who they ripped her goggles off and sprayed her. They took us somewhere where they had no medics and no water, while we screamed in pain. They detained 26 of us for almost nine hours with the chemicals still burning on our skins. I’m now banned from campus. This is the same campus that knew that men with rifles, Nazis, white supremacists were coming [for the fascist “Unite the Right” rally in 2017], and did not stop them. And none of those white supremacists are banned from campus.” 

Cops with riot shields viciously dismantle encampment for Palestine at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, May 4, 2024.


Cops with riot shields viciously dismantle encampment for Palestine at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, May 4, 2024.    Photo: Cal Cary/The Daily Progress via AP

** Harvard University: On May 10, more than 200 students, faculty, and staff rallied in Harvard Yard in the center of campus. They were protesting the University’s decision to put 20 students on involuntary leave because they had been taking part in the Gaza solidarity encampment which was started on April 24. Students righteously refused this “deal” of taking down their encampment in exchange for not being forced to take this “involuntary leave.” Students marched around campus, stopping at various halls and renaming them in honor of Palestinians murdered by Israel—Sidra Hassouna, a seven-year-old girl who was killed in an airstrike; Shireen Abu Akleh, the Palestinian-American journalist assassinated in the West Bank two years ago; and Hind Rajab, a six-year-old girl killed alongside her family, as well as medics who tried to save her, in Gaza.

** University of Pennsylvania: Early in the morning of Friday, May 10, police in riot gear cleared the Gaza Solidarity Encampment, arresting 33 people. In defiance of the administration’s order to disband, the encampment had been there for more than two weeks. During this time the encampment had tripled in size, with dozens of tents set up on College Green. The crackdown came after Democratic governor Josh Shapiro demanded the university “restore order and safety on campus.” Some students have received punitive suspensions which bar them from campus, commencement, university housing and dining halls and employment by the university, services, housing and jobs many students depend on.

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia students lock arms as police approach to clear the pro-Palestinian encampment, May 10, 2024.


University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia students lock arms as police approach to clear the pro-Palestinian encampment, May 10, 2024.    Photo: Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP

** George Washington University, Washington, DCOn May 8, police used pepper spray against students to break up their encampment that had been in place since April 26. Thirty-three were brutally arrested. This attack took place the night before the DC mayor was due to testify before Congress about the city’s response to GWU’s encampment. Following the crackdown, the hearing was canceled.

Metropolitan police cleared a pro-Palestinian tent encampment at George Washington University and arrested demonstrators, May 8, 2024.


Metropolitan police cleared a pro-Palestinian tent encampment at George Washington University and arrested demonstrators, May 8, 2024.    Photo: Sage Russell/GW Hatchet via AP

** Princeton University: More than a dozen students have been on a water-only hunger strike since Friday, May 3. This came after the April 25 arrest of 13 students who were occupying a building on campus. This past Friday, more than a dozen faculty members joined for a one-day fast in solidarity with the students. The students say they will continue their hunger strike until their demands are met: no charges brought against the students who were arrested and what they call a “serious meeting” with the administration for them to divest from Israel. The administration has yet to take any of this seriously and one student said in response, “If they want to let us starve, then they’re welcome to do that...”

** State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz: On May 2, police violently raided a student encampment, attacking with batons and dogs, the day after it had been set up. “Police raided us for over three hours,” a protester said. “They knocked my friend unconscious. He had a concussion. They knocked an 82-year-old woman unconscious. All of my friends have bruises. They have red marks on their hands from the zip ties. And then, afterwards, they bulldozed all of our things.” Some 133 students and others were arrested.

** New York: On May 7, in New York City, a rabid Zionist drove his car into a protest called by Columbia University students, injuring and hospitalizing one. The NYPD then arrested the driver along with two of the victims for banging their hands on the hood of his car! The driver was charged with second-degree assault. No charges were filed against the two protesters.

** UCLA: On Monday, May 6, 44 people, mainly students, were arrested for “conspiracy to commit burglary” for allegedly planning to occupy Moore Hall on the campus in protest of the genocide in Gaza. This included two members of the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity. Arrests included journalists and legal observers. After, there was a brief sit-in in one of the campus buildings and several hundred students participated in a march around campus.1

UCLA faculty and staff members march on the school campus in support of students protesting for Palestine, May 9, 2024.


UCLA faculty and staff members march on the school campus in support of students protesting for Palestine, May 9, 2024.    Photo: AP/Jae C. Hong)

2 Revcoms—Arrested at UCLA—Speak Out About the Anti-Genocide Student Uprising & Repression

Gaza solidarity encampments are spreading across Europe

Anti-Genocide Upsurge Disrupts Commencement Ceremonies

Commencement ceremonies at colleges and universities across the country—from the University of Southern California to Columbia University in New York—have been canceled, altered, scaled back, or moved, all in an effort to avoid protests against Israel’s U.S.-backed genocide in Gaza, now unfolding horrifically in Rafah. Some schools have encouraged students to go home early. Despite these efforts, protests have broken out at commencement ceremonies across the country.

** University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: On Saturday, May 11, students protested outside campus buildings. Red paint was splattered on one. When the chancellor finished speaking at the graduation, students carrying two large Palestinian flags moved up the center aisle as many in the crowd booed and chanted “USA, USA.” Police hustled the protesters out. National Students for Justice in Palestine posted: “Today is UNC’s graduation commencement and students have established an encampment at the famous bell tower, where many graduates will want to take their graduation photos.” This was posted on the chancellor’s door.

** Duke University: On Sunday, May 12, dozens of students walked out of Duke’s graduation ceremony chanting “free Palestine,” as its commencement speaker— rabidly pro-Israel actor and comedian Jerry Seinfeld—was being introduced. Some waved Palestinian flags, while others who remained booed. This was contentious and many others cheered. Seinfeld has supported Israel’s Gaza genocide and his wife helped bankroll the Zionist mob which violently attacked students at UCLA on May 1. 

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** University of California, Berkeley: in a raucous scene, hundreds of graduates stood up and chanted in protest throughout the commencement. One group, which grew to 500 students, gathered in a section behind the main stage, chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, the occupation has got to go” and “UC divest.” Palestinian flags were waved in the crowd. Students at the UC Berkeley Law School commencement formed the words “UC DIVEST” with their shirts in protest. One protester said, “I felt like it was necessary” because the university had not done enough. 

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 UC Berkeley Law School graduates wear T-shirts that read "UC DIVEST" during commencement, May 10, 2024.


UC Berkeley Law School graduates wear T-shirts that read "UC DIVEST" during commencement, May 10, 2024.    Photo: Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle via AP

**Asna Tabassum, the USC valedictorian whose speech was cancelled because she spoke out against the genocide of the Palestinian people submitted her speech to the school newspaper, the Daily Trojan:

USC 2024 Valedictorian Asna Tabassum in her graduation dress and sash.


USC 2024 Valedictorian Asna Tabassum in her graduation dress and sash.    Photo: Alessandro Tasso

USC Valedictorian Asna Tabassum shared what would have been her speech to the USC graduation


USC Valedictorian Asna Tabassum shared what would have been her speech to the USC graduation, with the text blacked out to show she was silenced.   

The main USC graduation was also cancelled, though each school had their own smaller ceremony. At her graduation, where she did not speak, she was given a long standing ovation by fellow students.

** Virginia Commonwealth University: Some 60 students rose and walked out of the graduation ceremony when the fascist governor Glen Youngkin was about to begin his address. The students were protesting Youngkin’s support for police assaults on pro-Palestinian protests on Virginia campuses, as well as his reactionary opposition to LGBTQ+ rights and a proposed “racial literacy” requirement in schools.

Students for Palestine confront cops at Virginia Commonwealth University, April 30, 2024


Students for Palestine confront cops at Virginia Commonwealth University, April 30, 2024    Photo: Mike Kropf/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

** Other graduation protests included University of Texas, Dallas and Northeastern Law School. At Northeastern, one student held up a banner that said “No Graduation in Gaza,” and others held up their hands covered in red paint to symbolize the school's complicity with genocide.

UT Dallas graduates walk out during their president's speech at graduation, in solidarity with Gaza's lost class of 2024, and in protest of the school's complicity in Israel's bombardment and siege on Gaza. All power to the graduates, and all power to the student movement. DISCLOSE, DIVEST, WE WILL NOT STOP WE WILL NOT REST

“No Graduation in Gaza”: On May 10, 2024, graduating law students at Northeastern University School of Law (NUSL) protested during their commencement ceremony to advocate for an end to the genocide in Gaza.  They highlighted Israel’s destruction of schools and universities in Palestine and Northeastern University’s complicity in the ongoing genocide 

Faculty Members Step Forward

At campuses across the country, faculty members have stepped forward to support and defend the students and to speak out against the genocide in Gaza. 

On May 8, faculty members at the New School in New York City set up the “Refaat Alareer Faculty Solidarity Encampment” inside the lobby. It was named for the Palestinian writer, poet and professor Refaat Alareer who was killed on December 7, 2023 in Gaza by an Israeli airstrike. The faculty set up their encampment in the same lobby which students had occupied and been forcibly evicted from by the NYPD the week before. This is the first faculty encampment in the country and now New York City’s only remaining encampment.

One part-time professor said, “...we could not stand on the sidelines any longer. What we’re doing here is calling for all faculty across the country to step up, to risk more and to escalate, because we have to get all war profiteers out of our universities.”

UT Austin faculty and staff have held silent demonstrations calling for an end to the war in Gaza. Faculty at UCLA have intervened to protect student protesters and held a march last week in unity with the students. Professors at Columbia University have taken part in protest encampments and are speaking out against the university’s repression. At Emory University, Washington University in St. Louis, Dartmouth, and Northwestern University, faculty have stepped in to protect students. After 57 students were arrested at the University of Texas at Austin, more than 500 faculty expressed no confidence in President Jay Hartzell.

“This moment has actually brought faculty together in a way I’ve never experienced in 20 years on campus. I’ve found myself working closely with colleagues I’d never met before,” Columbia University history professor Nara Milanich told The Intercept. “People have dropped everything to support students and respond to this moment.”

Faculties joined together “across ranks, schools, disciplines, and ideologies in outrage and collectivity” in a way one professor hadn’t seen before: “faculty walkoutsdissent from permanent law school professors, condemnation from scientists around the world, and even mass global academic boycotts against the school.”

A Politically Explosive Situation

As the statement from the Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity says:

Right now, three things must happen:

[1] The resistance to the genocide in Gaza must spread—on the campuses and throughout all of society!

[2] Defend ALL anti-genocide students & protesters! Do NOT let them divide & demonize a movement with right on our side!

[3] Everyone who seriously agonizes about the future and wants to see a world without the unjust brutality we are witnessing in Gaza, and in this illegitimate repression, needs to dig in seriously to the source of all this: the system of capitalism-imperialism. And dig into the solution to it: a real revolution. The Revcom Corps for the Emancipation of Humanity invites and urges you to do this... talking with us more deeply and joining. Find out about the strategy, vision, plan and leadership for this revolution. Bring the spirit of defiance and your desire to get to a world where these kinds of crimes never happen again to anyone! With this whole system in crisis and society being ripped apart, the revolution that's needed to overthrow this system could happen not just in some far off place and time, but right here and right in this time we are living in.

In his social media message REVOLUTION #27, Bob Avakian exposes the real reason speech and protest are being viciously repressed, particularly on college campuses: 

…because fundamental interests of U.S. capitalism-imperialism are at stake. Because Israel plays a “special role” as a heavily armed bastion of support for U.S. imperialism in a strategically important part of the world (the “Middle East”). And Israel has been a key force in the commission of atrocities which have helped to maintain the oppressive rule of U.S. imperialism in many other parts of the world.

And this repression is happening because representatives of the ruling class in this country have a definite sense that if youth especially at “elite” universities begin to seriously question and act against what this system is doing—if the system “loses the allegiance” of large numbers of those students—that can be a big factor in creating a real crisis for the system as a whole, as happened in the 1960s: a crisis that, now more than ever, this system really cannot afford, when the whole country is already being torn apart by deep divisions, with bitter clashes right among the ruling powers. So, at the same time as they are bitterly divided, the ruling powers of this country are firmly united in their determination to punish and intimidate especially students at elite universities who have stepped forward to protest the genocidal slaughter of Palestinians. The ruling class is desperate to prevent opposition to its fundamental interests from spreading and involving masses of people, from all parts of society.



1. Protests and repression are taking place at many other campuses, including the Rhode Island School of Design where students held an “All Eyes on Rafah” rally on May 6 and occupied the school’s main administrative building. On May 7, police shut down an encampment at the Fashion Institute of Technology, arresting some 50 protesters. On May 6, riot police officers dismantled a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of California, San Diego and arrested dozens. On May 8, police also took down Gaza solidarity encampment at the University of Houston and arrested two students, as part of Texas’ crack down on campus protests across the stateThe “Free Palestine” University encampment at Johns Hopkins University is continuing as are protests at nearby colleges in the Baltimore Maryland area. On May 6, Somerville high school students in Cambridge, Massachusetts walked out of class in solidarity MIT’s encampment. [back]

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From the genocide in Gaza, to the growing threat of world war between nuclear powers, to escalating environmental devastation… the capitalist-imperialist system ruling over us is a horror for billions around the world and is tearing up the fabric of life on earth. Now the all-out battle within the U.S. ruling class, between fascist Republicans and war criminal Democrats, is coming to a head—likely during, or before, the coming elections—ripping society apart unlike anything since the Civil War. 

Bob Avakian (BA), revolutionary leader and author of the new communism, has developed a strategy to prepare for and make revolution. He’s scientifically analyzed that this is a rare time when an actual revolution has become more possible, and has laid out the sweeping vision, solid foundation and concrete blueprint for “what comes next,” in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America

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