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Friday, June 14, 2024

What went down during day two of the pro-Palestine protest encampment on Library Mall

Tents are still up on Library Mall. It is unclear how or if UWPD and UW-Madison administration will respond.

<p>A view of the encampments set up on Library Mall during a pro-palestine protest on April 29, 2024.&nbsp;</p>

A view of the encampments set up on Library Mall during a pro-palestine protest on April 29, 2024. 

More than 36 hours after the University of Wisconsin-Madison Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Young Democratic Socialists of America started their protest and encampment at Library Mall, there are no signs of slowing down. Tents have remained up overnight despite violating the Wisconsin Administrative Code’s ban on camping on university lands without authorization from a university’s chancellor.

SJP released their demands on Instagram and to campus administration, which included disclosing all University of Wisconsin Foundation investments, cutting ties with all Israeli organizations and removing cops from campus.  

Protesters met with campus administration twice yesterday and said they did not progress in negotiations. Campus leaders released a statement last night indicating that they would not negotiate until tents are gone, but protesters have said the tents will remain.

Approximately 30 to 50 police officers congregated last night at the Fluno Center and were seen with batons and zip-tie handcuffs. They were also reviewing drone footage from over Library Mall. UWPD officers pushed District 8 Ald. MGR Govindarajan and District 2 Ald. Juliana Bennett out of the Fluno Center last night. 

Catch up on yesterday’s live coverage here


[12:00 a.m. CDT] Cardinal reporters end Tuesday live blog

By Annika Bereny and Noe Goldhaber

The clock has struck midnight on the second day of UW-Madison’s Liberated Zone, and, aside from the quiet chatter of demonstrators keeping watch, a hush has fallen over Library Mall. 

Around the quad, pro-Palestine protesters have returned to their tents as they prepare for the third straight day of the encampment. Approximately 35 tents are standing.

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Administrators and student protesters are still at an impasse in negotiations. Student protesters announced an update on negotiations just after 6:30 p.m. 

The live blog for Tuesday has ended. We will be back tomorrow reporting on Library Mall.

[11:15 p.m. CDT]  

By Mary Bosch

As midnight nears, protesters chant “disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest” toward two UWPD officers standing near the entrance to the Wisconsin Historical Society. 


[9:51 p.m. CDT] 

By Nicholas Sinn and Noe Goldhaber

A faculty member told the Cardinal a group of faculty met with administration to address their concerns. The faculty member said they attempted to have student organizers present during these discussions, but administration would not discuss with students present.

[9:04 p.m. CDT] Organizer says Nazi salute not committed by student protester

By Rachel Hale

An antisemitic incident that occurred Monday afternoon was not committed by a pro-Palestine student protestor, according to Adrian Buyer, a student organizer with the protest.

On Monday afternoon, a man agitated a small group of Jewish students and a Hillel staff member standing near the encampments and did a Nazi salute toward them, according to Justin Kay, a UW-Madison student and Hillel attendee. 

“He was not affiliated with the demonstration, he was not a student at UW-Madison, and we did not agree with what he did in any way, shape or form,” Buyer said.

Buyer said the students were peacefully standing there when the man approached them. He and another community organizer stepped in to ask the person to de-escalate and walk away and explained to the group of students that the man was not affiliated with their group.

An active police investigation is ongoing regarding the incident, according to Marc Lovicott, UWPD executive director of communications.

Jewish students partake in pro-Palestine protests

A number of protestors taking part in the encampments are Jewish. Signs at the encampments included ones stating “Jewish Students for Palestinian Liberation” and “Genocide is not a Mitzvah.” Other protestors wore “not in our name” shirts. 

First-year grad student Abbie Klein, who is Jewish, helped organize the protests. She said she’s attended SJP and Jewish Voice for Peace events since October.

“I've been anti-Zionist for a while, but I haven't really been involved in a lot of collective action, and I realized what power there is in collective action,” Klein said. “There’s so many more Jewish students involved than a lot would think.”

One of the groups in attendance is the Madison chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace, which Klein said is largely composed of adults with a few student members.

“The occupation started more than 75 years ago, and to limit it to being aligned with what happened on Oct. 7, which was 75 years in the making of people trying to fight for their lives, is just very acontextual and ahistorical and close-minded,” Klein said.

Other Jewish students feel uneasy

For other Jewish students, the encampments have created a sense of fear and intimidation on campus.

UW-Madison Jewish sophomore Justin Kay was one of the students standing on Library Mall when the agitator performed the Nazi salute. He said it took two attempts to get the agitator to leave and three attempts to get an officer to file a police report.

“With everything going on, as a Jewish student, it's hard to feel protected on this campus, and it should not take three times for something to be done about it,” Kay said.

Kay said he had heard about encampments popping up at Columbia University and NYU from Jewish friends there before seeing them here and called the environment for Jewish students “very scary.”

He criticized protests calling for the freedom of Palestine “from the river to the sea” and to “globalize the intifada,” which he said make Jewish students feel unsafe.

“Chanting ‘from the river to the sea’ means the complete destruction of Israel and the Jewish homeland. That's scary, especially when a lot of these protesters can’t even tell you which river and which sea [to which the chant is referring],” Kay said.

[8:24 p.m. CDT] Student organizations voice support for encampment

By Nicholas Sinn

The Blk Pwr Coalition said in a statement on Instagram the organization stands in support of the encampment. 

“Dear UW, Black Power Coalition is in full solidarity with the Gaza Solidarity Camp on Library Mall,” the statement read.

More than 30 other registered student organizations have made similar posts on their Instagram accounts including the Arab Student Association, the African Student Association and the Middle Eastern Law Students Association.

[8:19 p.m. CDT] Organizers create community kitchen in encampment

By Amari Mbongwo

In the Liberated Zone, organizers have created the “People’s Kitchen” where people who have agreed to the encampment guidelines are welcome to share and eat food. 

The food at the People's Kitchen has been provided by local restaurants, local community members, faculty and supporting organizations, according to a protester. 

“People are donating food from restaurants, people are cooking food and bringing it themselves,” the protester said. “Yesterday, we had a group of supportive faculty bring pizzas, and many of the supporting organizations are bringing food.”

The kitchen is supplied with a variety of food including, snacks, chips and water. Since the beginning of the encampment the kitchen has been able to supply three meals each day. 

Riz, a Madison local who asked to be referred to by their first name, said supplying the kitchen has been a way for them to support the protesters from afar.

“I have a lot of chronic illnesses, so I can't be out all day protesting, but I still wanted to support those that could come out and be here for a long time,” Riz said. 

The kitchen has also been able to support homeless people in Madison with their extra food surplus. 

“We want to also be in solidarity with our houseless folks in making efforts to distribute some of the extra food with them,” the protester said. 

A "People's Kitchen" is constructed with a tent, tables and supplies for the pro-Palestine encampment at Library Mall on April 30, 2024.

[8:12 p.m. CDT] UW prof gives talk on reproductive justice in Gaza

By Kodie Engst

At 7:30 p.m., UW-Madison sociology professor Kelly Ward took the megaphone in the Liberated Zone to give a “teach-in” on reproductive justice and how it impacts the occupation in Gaza. 

“We cannot fight for reproductive autonomy at home while ignoring the struggles of marginalized people for bodily autonomy abroad,” Menzel said. “Especially when the same government responsible for our reproductive oppression at home is sponsoring the reproductive oppression of Palestinians.”

She referenced the Palestinian Feminist Collective to term the reproductive lives of Palestinians a “reproductive genocide.”

“In the first three months of the current wave of violence, over 20,000 women gave birth under genocidal conditions,” she said. 

These conditions include a birthing kit with threadbare supplies to guide people through their own births, according to Menzel.

The speakers closed the talk by asking attendees to imagine labor and delivery with no medical staff or sterile equipment and only the people around you as a support system for emergency situations and grief.

“They are keeping each other safe, they are caring for each other,” Ward said. “That is reproductive justice and action. We do it, we save ourselves. … And as long they can do it there, we can keep doing it right here.”

[7:55 p.m. CDT] What to know about the pro-Palestine encampment at UW-Madison as day two continues

By Tyler Katzenberger

Need a refresher on the past two days of events at UW-Madison's pro-Palestine encampment? Click here to catch up on what you missed.

[6:53 p.m. CDT] SJP media liaison delivers updates on negotiations

By Tomer Ronen, Anna Kleiber and Annika Bereny

An SJP member who is serving as a media liaison gave an update on negotiations with UW-Madison administrators and announced Mnookin agreed to meet with faculty. The faculty said they would meet under the condition that students are present.

“If she wants to talk to us, we will do so together,” the organizer, who goes by Jules, said.

Protesters had two meetings with Olstad, Rodriguez and Wade, with Reesor present for only the second.

Administrators said they “did not read” SJP’s demands in the first meeting and brought up Chapter 18 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code — which bans camping on university lands without authorization from the university chancellor — according to the media liaison.

In the second meeting, the administration said the encampment’s tents are “nothing but a symbolic way to spite us,” according to Jules. 

Administrators also said they could not “guarantee” the protesters’ safety, Jules said.

Protesters said the tents represent the 1.9 million Gazans Israel has displaced from their homes since Oct. 7.

[5:23 p.m. CDT] Protesters to announce updates on negotiations with administration at 6:30 p.m.

By Amari Mbongwo

SJP announced they will be holding a general assembly meeting at 6:30 p.m. providing updates on their negotiations with the UW-Madison administration via Instagram.

[3:25 p.m. CDT] Free Plan B and COVID-19 tests distributed at encampment

By Gabriella Hartlaub

Tarah Stangler, a member of the Outreach LGBTQ+ center’s Harm Reduction team, said she is making free Plan B and COVID-19 tests available for those who want it. 

Strangler said she  understands what it’s like to not be able to afford Plan B. 

“I remember being a poor college student who needed Plan B and had to think through, ‘was it groceries that week? Or Plan B?’” Strangler said. 

Stangler said there is overlap between fights for reproductive rights and Palestinian liberation. 

“It's important that we recognize that in some way, shape or form, we're all connected and finding ways to bring other movements into space to make sure that people are understanding while still centering the Palestinian resistance,” she said. 

plan b and covid test at protest
a sign reads "Come talk to me about harm reduction! Free Plan B, Free COVID Test, Free Palestine" at a pro-palestine encampment on April 30, 2024.

[2:04 p.m. CDT] Library set up at encampment

By Amari Mbongwo and Gabriella Hartlaub

Protesters have set up a small library at the encampment. The library is named “Refaat Alareer Memorial Library” after the Palestinian professor and poet who was killed in an Israeli airstrike in December. 

Books include those written by Angela Davis, Zora Neale Hurtson and Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement. 

A memorial library for Refaat Alareer is constructed in the pro-Palestine encampment on Library Mall on April 30, 2024.

[1:53 p.m. CDT] Solidarity letter gains more than 800 signatures

By Nicholas Sinn and Noe Goldhaber

More than 800 students, faculty and alumni have signed a letter in solidarity with student protestors.

The letter commends UW-Madison students for their peaceful protest methods and recalls the history of campus protests including the 1967 Dow Chemical protest. Demands include that UW-Madison community members and students are not punished for protesting, that campus administration seriously take into consideration protester demands and for transparency in university finances. 

The letter also rejected characterizations of campus protests as antisemitic.

“In affirming our students' concerns and demands, we reject the weaponization of antisemitism. It is neither antisemitic nor a danger to campus safety for students to engage in peaceful protest,” the statement says. “Nor is it antisemitic to oppose the violent actions of the Israeli government and army that contribute to the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people.”

The letter also cited earlier reporting from the Cardinal on Mnookin’s ability to authorize encampments on campus. A source confirmed her decision to not authorize the encampment was brought up in negotiations with campus administration.


1:26 p.m. CDT] Gov. Evers releases statement, says calling National Guard ‘not on the table’

By Tomer Ronen

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement the National Guard was “not on the table” for protests at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and UW-Milwaukee, according to CBS 58’s Duaa Israr.

Evers said the protest is “fine” but urged protesters not to “break laws or policies,” according to Israr.

He also said encampments will eventually have to go, according to Israr.

“Whether that’s done voluntarily or not, we will eventually take action if we have to,” he said.

[1:18 p.m. CDT] Organizers will meet with Mnookin today, protester says

By Amari Mbongwo

A protester told the Cardinal organizers will be meeting with UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin and other university representatives to discuss negotiations later today. 

[11:00 a.m. CDT] SJP announces Tuesday schedule

By Noe Goldhaber and Annika Bereny

SJP announced their schedule for today via Instagram. There will be teach-ins and art-related events throughout the afternoon followed by nightly encampment support at 10 p.m. 

UWPD is still on scene, along with members of UW administration, including Dean of Students Christina Olstad, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion LaVar Charleston and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Lori Reesor, who briefly spoke to a few protesters. 

[8:51 a.m. CDT] Rep. Francesca Hong returns for second day

By Annika Bereny

State Rep. Francesca Hong, D-Madison, arrived at the encampment this morning. She was here yesterday, but she told the Cardinal she returned to show solidarity with the student protesters. 

“I think what they're doing is one of the strongest displays of democracy that I've seen,” she said. 

Hong also criticized police for pushing local city officials, including District 8 Ald. MGR Govindarajan and District 2 Ald. Juliana Bennett, out of the Fluno Center last night.

“I've seen state-sanctioned violence on protesters before,” Hong said. “I think especially with the elected officials clearly stating that they wanted to have a conversation, and [since] they've been liaisons between other elected officials and students, that it was deeply inappropriate.” 

[7:40 a.m. CDT] Day two begins on Library Mall

By Annika Bereny

Good morning from the second day of UW-Madison’s Liberated Zone. As the sun rises over Library Mall, 28 tents stand tall, untouched overnight. 

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Annika Bereny

Annika Bereny is a Senior Staff Writer and the former Special Pages Editor for The Daily Cardinal. She has written in-depth for state and campus news. Follow her on Twitter at @annikabereny.

Rachel Hale

Rachel Hale is a senior staff writer who covers state politics and campus events. Before getting involved with The Daily Cardinal, she was a culture editor at Moda Magazine. Follow her on Twitter at @rachelleighhale.

Mary Bosch

Mary Bosch is the photo editor for The Daily Cardinal and a first year journalism student. She has covered multiple stories about university sustainability efforts, and has written for state and city news. Follow her on twitter: @Mary_Bosch6

Noe Goldhaber

Noe Goldhaber is the college news editor for The Daily Cardinal. She previously served as the copy chief. She is a Statistics major and has specialized on a wide range of campus issues including protests, student housing, free speech and campus speakers and campus administration. She has done data analysis and visualization for the Cardinal on a number of stories. Follow her on Twitter at @noegoldhaber.

Tomer Ronen

Tomer Ronen is the Features Editor for the Daily Cardinal. Follow him on Twitter at @TRonen22.


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