UChicago Gaza camp persists days after school prez called for it to end

May 5, 2024 | Political News

University of Chicago's Gaza camp enters week two on Monday despite calls from the university president for it to be disbanded and for student activists to disperse. University President Alivisatos made a statement saying the camp was against school policy but that he allowed it to be put up based on the school's free speech principles.

In a statement released on Friday and reported on by the Chicago Thinker, President Alivisatos said that the Gaza camp “created systematic disruption of campus” after it was set up by UChicago United for Palestine on Monday.

Photo credith: Ben Ogilvie, UChicago student and Publisher at The Chicago Thinker.

“Disruptions include repeated destruction of an approved installation of Israeli flags, shouting down speakers they disagree with, vandalism and graffiti on historic buildings, incorporating walkways into the encampment, and co-opting the University flagpole to fly the Palestinian flag,” Alivisatos wrote in the statement.

On Monday, the university president stated that the encampment would end if he learned that the Gaza Camp blocked the free expression of others. “We have reached that point,” he concluded.

Photo credith: Ben Ogilvie, UChicago student and Publisher at The Chicago Thinker.

Mitch Robson, senior staff member at the Chicago Thinker, shot video of the Gaza Camp on Sunday morning, 48 hours after UChicago President Paul Alivisatos called for the Gaza Camp to end.

Reports of students being shoved, as well as Israeli flags being destroyed were happening on the campus as the encampment increased in size throughout the week. It came to a head on Friday.

The Thinker reported that a group of pro-American counter protesters attempted to raise the American flag on Friday at the Gaza Camp, however, they were blocked from doing so and several Gaza Camp agitators pushed them in retaliation, preventing Old Glory to be raised.

“Counterprotestors tried to raise the U.S. flag on UChicago's quad and were rebuffed; there was some pushing and shoving and a speaker was broken. So, the counterprotestors retreated and put up U.S. flags on lamp posts instead,” the Thinker wrote with the video.

Additionally, the flagpole cable was allegedly cut by UChicago after the Gaza camp protesters raised the Palestinian flag. Declan Hurley, senior staff member and former Editor-in-Chief at the Thinker, posted about it online.

Video of the pro-America group approaching the encampment went viral with many suggesting it and the UNC Chapel Hill fraternity brothers holding up the flag on their quad were a sign of pushback against the Gaza Camp occupations.

Robson told The Post Millennial about the instances of violence on campus he was personally aware of that included his phone getting slapped out of his hand by a protester, his friend getting punched in the face, and another friend who was hit in the throat.

The Dean of Students sent an email on Friday night equating the two groups as “two groups of protesters” who were in a “confrontation.”

Police also came to separate the two groups on Friday.