Which Colleges and Universities Are Experiencing Pro-Palestine Protests?

More than 100 college campuses, mostly in the U.S., are experiencing pro-Palestine demonstrations and encampments, resulting in student arrests, suspensions, and expulsions.
Published: May 16, 2024

Editor’s Note: The list of colleges that have or continue to experience pro-Palestine protests was updated May 23, 2024.

The list of college campuses grappling with pro-Palestine protests and encampments is large and growing, with the following schools experiencing some form of demonstration over the past month, as well as arrests and student suspensions related to the demonstrations against Israel’s military activities in Gaza. These protests have occurred in at least 45 states and Washington, D.C.:

  1. American University
  2. Arizona State University
  3. Auraria Campus
  4. Barnard College
  5. Brown University
  6. Cal Poly Humboldt
  7. Case Western Reserve University
  8. City College of New York
  9. Columbia College Chicago
  10. Columbia University
  11. Cornell University
  12. Dartmouth University
  13. DePaul University
  14. Drexel University
  15. Emerson College
  16. Emory University
  17. Fashion Institute of Technology
  18. Florida State
  19. Fordham University
  20. George Washington University
  21. Georgetown University
  22. Georgia State University
  23. Harvard University
  24. Illinois State University
  25. Indiana University at Bloomington
  26. Institute of Political Studies (France)
  27. Johns Hopkins University
  28. Kennesaw State
  29. McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
  30. Miami University
  31. MIT
  32. Northeastern
  33. NYU
  34. Oberlin College & Conservatory
  35. Ohio State University
  36. Oregon State University
  37. Pomona College
  38. Portland State University
  39. Princeton University
  40. Purdue University
  41. The Rhode Island School of Design
  42. Rice University
  43. Rutgers
  44. Sacramento State University
  45. San Francisco State University
  46. Sonoma State University
  47. Stanford University
  48. Stony Brook University
  49. SUNY New Paltz
  50. SUNY Purchase
  51. Swarthmore College
  52. Syracuse University
  53. Temple University
  54. The New School
  55. Tufts University
  56. Tulane University
  57. UC Berkeley
  58. UC Davis
  59. UC Irvine
  60. UC San Diego
  61. UC Santa Barbara
  62. UC Santa Cruz
  63. UCLA
  64. UConn
  65. University at Buffalo
  66. University of Alberta (Canada)
  67. University of Arizona
  68. University of Chicago
  69. University of Colorado, Denver
  70. University of Delaware
  71. University of Florida (Gainesville)
  72. University of Georgia, Athens
  73. University of Illinois
  74. University of Maryland, College Park
  75. University of Michigan
  76. University of Minnesota
  77. University of Missouri
  78. University of Missouri-Kansas City
  79. University of Mississippi (Ole Miss)
  80. University of Montana
  81. University of New Hampshire
  82. University of New Mexico
  83. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  84. University of North Carolina, Charlotte
  85. University of Pennsylvania
  86. University of Rochester
  87. University of San Diego
  88. University of South Carolina
  89. University of South Florida
  90. University of Southern California (USC)
  91. University of Sydney (Australia)
  92. University of Tennessee
  93. University of the South
  94. University of Utah
  95. University of Washington
  96. University of Wisconsin
  97. UT Austin
  98. UT Dallas
  99. Vanderbilt
  100. Virginia Commonwealth University
  101. Virginia Tech
  102. Wake Forest University
  103. Washington University in St. Louis
  104. Wayne State University
  105. Wesleyan University
  106. Yale University

Pro-Palestine protests are also happening in Lebanon, Jordan, the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, and other campuses in France, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.

Campuses Struggle to Find Balance Between Protester Free Speech Rights, Safety Concerns

Since April 18, more than 300 people have been arrested on U.S. campuses, and many encampments have been cleared, reports the Associated Press. Many of the universities that have cracked down on the demonstrations and encampments, with arrests or suspensions, say they are doing so because protesters have damaged property, trespassed, violated school codes, and/or hurled antisemitic verbal insults at Jewish students. The schools also say protesters have been egged on by outside provocateurs.

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However, student groups have denied those claims, saying the protests have, for the most part, been peaceful. Others who say there have been some antisemitic comments and threats say they are coming from outside agitators with no affiliation to the schools.

UN human rights chief Volker Turk said last month he was “troubled” by the heavy-handed tactics of law enforcement and security on U.S. campuses in response to the protests, reports the Guardian.

“It must be clear that legitimate exercises of the freedom of expression cannot be conflated with incitement to violence and hatred,” he said.

Free speech advocates are also criticizing school responses to the demonstrations. The University of Mississippi launched at least one student conduct investigation after a video of a student making racist gestures at a Black pro-Palestinian demonstrator went viral.

A newer development has been the involvement of pro-Israel counter-protesters who have clashed with pro-Palestine groups on the campus of UCLA. Mary Osako, vice chancellor of UCLA strategic communications, said in a statement on Sunday that some demonstrators that day “breached a barrier that the university had established separating two groups of protestors on our campus, resulting in physical altercations,” reports NBC Los Angeles. It’s unclear which group breached the barrier. UCLA’s school newspaper is reporting that the counter-protesters shouted chants about Palestine that were preceded by an obscenity.

On Wednesday, pro-Israel and pro-Palestine groups clashed again at UCLA, with both sides engaging in fist fights, shoving, kicking, throwing chairs, and using sticks on each other, reports the Associated Press. The altercations happened around a tent encampment erected by pro-Palestine protesters. The counter-protesters — many of whom Reuters reports as being mostly male with some being older than college-aged — tried to pull the encampment and barriers down. Both Reuters and the Los Angeles Times are reporting that the pro-Israel counter-protesters attacked the pro-Palestine encampment.

In response, UCLA requested assistance from other local law enforcement agencies. Police in riot gear were able to form lines and separate the groups. It’s unclear how many people were injured during the clashes. On Thursday, law enforcement moved in to tear down the encampment, and University of California President Michael Drake ordered an independent review of the school’s planning, actions, and response by law enforcement.

While the review is reported to largely focus on UCLA Police Chief John Thomas, the Federated University Police Officers’ Association (FUPOA), the union that represents campus police at all 10 University of California campuses, is blaming administrators for its officers’ response.

On Sunday, UCLA announced the creation of the Office of Campus Safety to oversee policing and emergency management in the aftermath of the unrest.

Protests Impact Graduation Ceremonies

In New York, protesters at Columbia occupied Hamilton Hall on the school’s main campus on Tuesday in an escalation of tactics, similar to those done by protesters at Cal Poly Humboldt and Portland State University in Oregon, reports the New York Times.

At Cal Poly Humboldt, protesters have been occupying Siemens Hall for more than a week. Portland State protesters have taken over a library. Law enforcement stormed Hamilton Hall on Tuesday and arrested dozens of people.

Some Jewish students and pro-Palestine demonstrators at Columbia are saying they’ve been unfairly treated by the administration. Some Jewish students have sued the school for not protecting them from anti-Semitic harassment, while some pro-Palestine protesters say Columbia University has pushed an anti-Palestinian narrative, reports CNN. The pro-Palestine group is urging the U.S. Department of Education to investigate the school’s compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Columbia canceled its main commencement ceremony, planned for May 15, due to safety concerns. The school says it will host “smaller-scale, school-based” graduation ceremonies. Emory University also announced it would move its May 13 commencement off campus, and on Saturday, the University of Michigan’s main commencement ceremony was interrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters. At Indiana University at Bloomington’s graduation, a plane with a banner reading “LET GAZA LIVE!” flew overhead.

Pomona College moved its May 12 graduation ceremony more than an hour away after pro-Palestinian protesters set up an encampment on the stage where the ceremony was to be held. Despite the move, which cost the Claremont, Calif., school $100,000, nearly 200 protesters gathered outside the new location.

College Admins Reach Agreements with Protesters

Meanwhile, at other campuses, administrators are meeting with protesters in an attempt to reach an agreement so that the demonstrators will leave and peacefully take down their encampments. Pro-Palestine protesters are largely calling for their schools to divest from organizations they believe are helping Israel conduct the war, including companies that make weapons.

Northwestern and Brown were the first schools to announce agreements last week, according to NPR, followed by Rutgers, Johns Hopkins, the University of Minnesota, and UC Riverside.

“We thought the best way to sustainably deescalate the situation was to actually talk with our students,” said Northwestern President Michael Schill. “We have a good sustainable agreement which provides a number of things that the students wanted and that we wanted to do.”

In part, the agreement permits peaceful demonstrations without tents through the end of classes on June 1, gives students representation on an investment committee, and pledges to bring Palestinian students to campus.

Rutgers officials reached a deal with student protesters on May 2, crediting “constructive dialogue between the protesting students and our leadership teams.” Officials noted it opened the door for ongoing dialogue to address the needs of its large Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian student body. The school  agreed to eight out of 10 demands from a coalition of student groups, including accepting 10 displaced Palestinian students on scholarship, developing a plan for an Arab Cultural Center, and exploring scholarly exchanges with a university in Ramallah.

Rutgers declined to divest from companies doing business in Israel or to terminate its partnership with Tel Aviv University, noting that “such decisions fall outside of our administrative scope.”

On May 8, Sacramento State University President Luke Wood oversaw a peaceful end to a campus protest, which began on April 29 in the school’s library quad, according to Yahoo.

“We want to take the time to thank Luke Wood for not following suit after other administrations, and not calling Sacramento police,” one student said during a news conference Wednesday announcing the end of the protest.

Wood, who grew up in foster care and has experienced hunger and homelessness, said he tries to lead with empathy.

“I did 92 listening sessions, 75 minutes each, with over 1,500 of our students, faculty, staff,” he said.

As part of an agreement, the university shared a new policy in which it “directs its auxiliaries…to investigate socially responsible investment strategies which include not having direct investments in corporations and funds that profit from genocide, ethnic cleansing, and activities that violate fundamental human rights.”

Editor’s Note: This article will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

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