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Breaking Out on U.S. College Campuses

Student Protests condemn Israel's genocidal slaughter of the people of Gaza 

Over the last month, there have been hundreds of protests at college campuses, middle and high schools against the U.S.-backed Israeli genocidal slaughter of the Palestinian people. Students are walking out of classes, marching on their campuses, throughout their city, shutting down the streets, and staging sit-ins. 

The campuses are becoming sharply polarized; the growing support among students and faculty for the struggle of the Palestinian people is being met with harassment and intimidation by pro-Israel students and outside Zionist groups, and by universities resorting to administrative measures to silence and punish pro-Palestinian student organizations. 

There is great importance to this growing turmoil. It is forcing students to confront the reality that “their” country is fully supporting this genocide, and many are raising their voices in determined outrage. Millions of young people, students, and intellectuals are awakening to political life through this horrific U.S.-backed genocide. 

Everyone who wants to see a better world should spread these slogans onto the campuses and into these protests—uniting with the righteous outrage, and struggling for the revolution humanity needs to put an end to this outrage, and all the needless suffering brought down on humanity by this system. 

Stop the U.S.-Backed Israeli Genocidal War Against Palestine!
The Palestinian People Must Be Free!
Down with the Racist Apartheid State of Israel and Its Master, U.S. Imperialism!
Stop the Repression, Censorship and Blacklisting of Pro-Palestinian Voices!
From the Imperialist U.S.A. to Palestine the People Need Real Revolution Based on the New Communism!
Hamas Is Not a Force for Liberation!
Anti-Zionism Does NOT Equal Anti-Semitism!

What follows are just a sampling of some of these protests.

New York Columbia University: Protest for Palestinians called by Students for Justice for Palestine


Columbia University, New York, October 12, 2023.    Photo: AP

Columbia University: Suspension of Student Groups has been met with Condemnation and Further Campus Protests

On Thursday, November 9, hundreds of students gathered in front of Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library for a “peaceful protest art installation” and demonstration organized by the Columbia chapters of SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) and JVP (Jewish Voice for Peace). They were demanding that the university call for a ceasefire in Gaza, divest all endowments from corporations involved with Israel, and end Columbia's academic programs in Tel Aviv.

As part of their art installation, they had placed seven infant-sized bundles of white cloth on the steps, splattered with red paint. Behind them plywood boards were placed, reading “10,600 lives slaughtered,” “4,412 children,” and “let Gaza live,” next to images of Palestinian flags and olive trees.

Just one day after this powerful and dramatic statement, Columbia's administration announced both student organizations were suspended and banned from campus through the end of the term, citing an “unauthorized event” that “included threatening rhetoric and intimidation.” There was no evidence offered for these accusations.

This blatant act of repression has been met with outrage and condemnation by students and faculty at Columbia and Barnard,* while resonating throughout the country and beyond. Read more

* Barnard is an official college of Columbia University while also an independent educational institution. [back]

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University of California Berkeley:

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists gathered Thursday, Nov. 16, on the UC Berkeley campus called by the student group Bears 4 Palestine. Students marched around the campus reading the names and ages from a list of thousands killed in Gaza, and chanting after each name “not just a number”. At one point the march stopped at California Hall and called out the UC administration, and particularly the president Carol Crist, for the huge investments that the UC system has in Israel. The protesters chanted “Free, free Palestine!” as a huge “Free Gaza” banner blew in the breeze from the campus’ 307-foot Campanile bell tower.

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Berkeley Secondary Schools:

November 17, Berkeley, CA. Students walked out of King Middle School in Berkeley to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. About 75 students marched through North Berkeley chanting "Free Palestine" and "Gaza, Gaza, don't you cry, we are with you right now." On October 18, over 150 Berkeley High students walked out of class and held a pro-Palestine rally to call for a ceasefire. One student said “We refuse to stay silent while so many families are being massacred and millions are being forcibly displaced,” while another said, “We are calling for an end to the occupation that Palestinians have endured for 75 years.”

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New York High School students walk out to support Palestine, November 10, 2023.


New York high school students walk out to support Palestine, November 10, 2023.    Photo: DocumentedNY

New York City High Schools: 

Students from 75 high schools in NYC walked out of class November 9 to protest the Israeli bombing of the Palestinian territory. They joined a huge crowd in midtown to protest Israel’s war on the Palestinian people. One high school student said, “We are showing the people of Gaza that they are being listened to... We are the resistance fighters of the West and we will not be quiet until Palestine is free.” 

Howard University: 

More than 100 students at Howard University organized a walk out on October 25 in protest of Israel's massive bombardment of Gaza. They also focused on the U.S.—and Howard's—role in backing and giving aid to Israel's apartheid state. At the rally they called for a “liberated” Palestine and chanted “Free Free Palestine,” “Long Live Palestine,” and “Not in Our Name” and held signs saying “End Genocide Now” and “HU Students for Palestine.” Some wore Palestinian flags on their backs, others wore shirts saying “End Apartheid.” Two days earlier, students had held a vigil to pay respects to the Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor:

On Friday, November 17, hundreds of University of Michigan students protested on the Ann Arbor campus to demand the University stop investing in companies that fund military operations in Israel. The demonstrators descended on and made their way into Ruthven Hall, where the university president's office is located. Students from over 50 student organizations were involved. They were chanting and waving signs that read, “From the river and to the sea.” The police gave out citations to anybody who would not leave.

Students at University of Illinois, Chicago, disrupt Illinois trustees' meeting.


Students at UIC, disrupt Illinois Board of Trustees' meeting, November 16, 2023.    Photo: Tom Callahan

University of Illinois Chicago:  Pro-Palestine UIC Students Disrupt Trustees Meeting

Students from UIC (University of Illinois Chicago) were part of the dozens of people who protested, and disrupted, the meeting of the UIC Board of Trustees on Thursday, November 16. A handful got inside the public section of the meeting, while the rest protested outside. One of those who made it inside (and could be heard on the livestream) interrupted the President: “Over 11,000 Palestinians have been massacred just this month alone, and their blood is on all your hands." Another asked: “What is your answer? Do you have an answer? Will you divest from genocide?” One more student asked: "How many times do we have to yell? How many times do we have to scream for you to hear us that you have blood on your hands? Divest now and condemn Israel's attacks." The meeting temporarily adjourned, and the police came to end the disruption. 

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