The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

UW-Madison announces agreement with student protesters to end Library Mall encampment

Kyle Jones, Channel 3000, May 10, 2024

Library Mall encampment
Kyle Jones

MADISON, Wis. — After over a week of protests, the encampment on Library Mall is set to come down after UW-Madison leaders and students reached an agreement Friday.

In a statement, UW-Madison officials said that Students for Justice in Palestine, the primary group organizing the encampment, has agreed to clear the encampment, not disrupt graduation ceremonies and other campus functions and not reestablish an encampment on campus.

“We appreciate reaching resolution with SJP and acknowledge the support they received from their faculty liaisons,” university officials said.

Students had been protesting on Library Mall for just over a week, calling on the university to divest from groups who they said were supporting genocidal actions by the Israeli government against Palestinians in Gaza.

UW-Madison maintained that the encampment violated both campus policy and state law. Furthermore, campus leadership including Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin said that they don’t have direct control over how the university’s endowment is invested. That responsibility falls on the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association.

“This has been a difficult period for our campus, our nation and the world. We want to be clear that UW–Madison supports peaceful student protest, fully respects the First Amendment, and has done so throughout this year,” university leaders said. “We appreciate that the encampment, named by SJP the Gaza Solidarity Encampment, although in violation of Chapter 18, was motivated by understandably passionate feelings about the devastation in Gaza, and was a source of community for many participants. ”

As part of the agreement, administrators will set up a meeting on July 1 between SJP, the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association and the Universities of Wisconsin to discuss transparency and principles in how the university’s endowment is invested. Chancellor Mnookin will attend the meeting.

Administrators also agreed to recognize that SJP can engage in the shared government process when it comes to investment principles. Mnookin committed to not interfering with the shared government process.

UW-Madison leaders also committed to a review of the university’s projects, opportunities, study abroad programs and internships that engage with people and places impacted by war.

The university also committed to consulting with Palestinian members of the UW community and inviting at least one scholar from a Palestinian university for each of the next three academic years.

A staff member will be added to the Division of Student Affairs to support students impacted by war, violence and displacement. The position will be posted for hiring by August 1.

University leaders also committed to asking UWPD to use discretion when reviewing cases related to the May 1 confrontation between law enforcement and protesters at the encampment.


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