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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Live blog: Updates on the pro-Palestine UW-Madison encampment

Protest organizers announced that negotiations will be ending for now.

The pro-Palestine encampment photographed from above on May 6, 2024.
The pro-Palestine encampment photographed from above on May 6, 2024.

The pro-Palestine protest and encampment organized by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Young Democratic Socialists of America continued through Tuesday.

Protesters pitched tents on April 29, 2024.

Approximately 50 tents are up on Library Mall as of Wednesday afternoon as negotiations break down with UW-Madison administration and protesters.

Read coverage of the encampment from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.


[3:45 p.m. CDT 5/09] Encampment officials criticize crime report

By Noe Goldhaber

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, SJP organizers said a UWPD crime alert was “a breach of protocol to immediately report such incidents in order for them to be addressed.”

UWPD is required to release crime alerts under the Clery Act, according to UWPD spokesperson Marc Lovicott.

“The Crime Warning sent yesterday was sent in accordance with the Clery Act — just like every other Crime Warning we've sent,” Lovicott said. “We not only have an obligation under the Clery Act, but we also have an obligation to our community as a whole to share important crime information.”

“We again disagree with the false information these groups continue to share as part of what appears to be a misinformation campaign,” Lovicott said.

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The statement said the report was sent to try and push a narrative from administration that the encampment is unsafe.

“We believe there is a narrative the UW police and administration are trying to spin about the encampment by compiling these alleged safety incidents and delaying their release until now, which serves to potentially paint the encampment as a public safety issue to evade negotiations while commencement is approaching,” said safety marshal Lily Zyndorf Shell in the SJP statement.

The encampment is led by a group of “marshalls” who wear yellow vests and help organize.

“As negotiations continue with the Chancellor, the Gaza Solidarity Encampment stays committed to the safety of students, allies, and the surrounding community regardless of whether they are supporters of the movement. In the event of future safety concerns, marshals encourage admin and UWPD to connect with Gaza Solidarity Camp organizers via faculty, organizers, and city representatives through existing lines of communication,” the SJP statement said.

[3:00 p.m. CDT 5/09] Organizers hold a “Hands off Rafah” rally and ‘Die In’ on Bascom Hill

By Mary Bosch

SJP held a “Hands off rafah! Hands off students!” rally, inviting seniors and professors to dress in gowns or regalia. Protesters chanted and an organizer read a speech co-written by professors representing universities in Palestine.

“You stand for the courage that is needed to take action strongly for justice and freedom and determinately against systems of genocide and racism,” the letter read. 

Protesters marked their hands with red paint to represent the murder of Palestinians in Gaza, then walked up Bascom Hill to participate in a “die-in.” As protesters laid on the ground, an organizer read the names of infants killed in Palestine.

[5:27 p.m. CDT 5/08] SJP releases statement against ‘weaponizing Jewish identity’

By Tomer Ronen and Annika Bereny

SJP released a statement recognizing the “diversity of Jewish students, staff and faculty and the danger of assuming that all Jewish students are Zionists.”

The statement said “Jewish safety” is being used to “justify repression” of protesters.

In the statement, SJP said there were several incidents that conflated antisemitism with anti-Zionism, including a meeting with campus administration and a Jewish student group, a Havdallah that Jewish anti-Zionist protesters say they were excluded from and the Liberation Shabbat which was disrupted by a Zionist counter-protester.

“We refuse to have Jewish identity weaponized,” the statement said.

The statement also criticized UW Hillel and Chabad’s statements that emphasized Jewish students’ feelings of safety on campus without acknowledging the safety of Jewish protesters in the encampment.

“Hillel and Chabad claim to prioritize keeping the Jewish community safe — yet Jewish students were not safe during the police raid at the encampment,” the statement said.

Yard signs with “anti-genocide does not = antisemitic” were placed by protesters on Library Mall.

[4:28 p.m. CDT 5/08] UW-Madison releases statement on ongoing discussions

By Noe Goldhaber 

A Wednesday update from UW-Madison said the pro-Palestine protesters’ most recent demands were based on a “fundamental misunderstanding of the chancellor’s appropriate role.”

UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin does not control UW Foundation investments.

“The chancellor’s pre-endorsement of any content on such questions — regardless of her personal or institutional views — would be an inappropriate end run around important shared governance internal processes which she, and her team, take very seriously,” the statement said. “This is not something up for negotiation.”

The statement also said protest leaders “may be interested” in meeting with administrators tomorrow.

The university also said a draft proposal that circulated on social media this morning was not a call to immediate police action.

“While no such police action will occur at 4 p.m. today, it remains an urgent campus priority to end the encampment, which is illegal, a violation of student and registered student organization conduct rules, and an increasing safety concern,” the statement said.

[2:19 p.m. CDT 5/08] UWPD investigating reports of potential hate crime, violence on Library Mall 

By Anna Kleiber and Bryna Goeking

UWPD is investigating three separate reports of violence that occurred on Library Mall, according to a release sent out to the UW-Madison community Wednesday. The separate reports currently under investigation include an intimidating-religious bias incident, disorderly conduct and assault. 

A student reported on Wednesday that on May 1, a man came up to them with a knife attached to his waistband. The student was displaying a pro-Israel sign, and the man said “Jews shouldn’t be on campus,” according to UWPD.

UWPD said it is investigating the report as a potential hate crime. 

A student reported he was approached by an unknown male on Library Mall at around 3:50 p.m. Tuesday. The male threatened to kill the student if he didn’t put away his phone, according to UWPD. 

The student told UWPD the suspect followed him for a short time and continued to threaten him verbally when he tried to walk away, according to UWPD. 

On Wednesday morning at around 4:20 a.m., “an assault involving the use of a large stick occurred between two individuals on Library Mall,” UWPD said. The fight ended after UWPD officers arrived and remained in the area to monitor. 

All three reported incidents are currently under investigation, according to UWPD. UWPD is soliciting tips through the BadgerSAFE app or their non-emergency line at 608-264-2677.

[12:15 p.m. CDT 5/08] Negotiations are over unless UW administration meet with protesters ‘in good faith,’ organizers say

By Bryna Goeking 

Pro-Palestine protesters give an announcement to a crowd at Library Mall on May 8, 2024 in Madison, Wis.

Two SJP media liaisons announced updates Wednesday regarding the ongoing negotiations with university administrators. 

They said SJP negotiators sent a new proposal for ethical divestment and investment, a framework for accountability and overall commitment to ethical standards on May 7. They also called for the charges to be dropped on those arrested on May 1.

Negotiators met with university administrators on May 8 at 11 a.m., but organizers said administrators did not read the new proposal and provided a proposed resolution.  

Administrators only committed to “facilitating access” to “relevant decision makers” to hear protesters’ concerns, the media liaisons said. 

This was the same offer administrators proposed last Monday, organizers said. 

In the proposed negotiations, UW administrators emphasized their “lack of direct authority” within the University of Wisconsin Foundation’s endowments. They offered to “facilitate access” to Mnookin at the UW Foundation and Alumni Association. 

“​​We again emphasize that no university processes or decisions can be binding on investment decisions made by others,” the statement said. They also offered to listen to the concerns of Muslim, Arab and Palestinian students. 

SJP negotiators have rejected proposals from administration, according to their Instagram

If SJP accepted these negotiations, they would need to clear the encampment by 4 p.m. on Wednesday and comply with Chapter 18 of Wisconsin Administrative Code. 

“We will say this again, what we want is not radical,” said a media liaison. “We want a university to stand by its principles, and to instruct the WFAA or UW Foundation to remove all future investments from companies that profit from arms manufacturing, operations and occupied territories and management in private prisons.”

SJP said they believe that the administration was not acting in “good faith” by not preparing for the meeting or offering constructive criticism. They said they will not continue negotiations unless the administration can act in “good faith.” 

In an update from UW-Madison, administrators said they were “open to further discussions, but are deeply disappointed at this outcome.”

[7:00 p.m. CDT 05/06] Wisconsin Union Directorate releases statement 

By Gabriella Hartlaub

The Wisconsin Union Directorate released a statement on Instagram Sunday afternoon condemning the use of Memorial Union to house arrested protesters on May 1. 

The statement described this use as “antithetical” to the purpose and mission of the union. 

“Union facilities are perhaps the last two buildings on campus that should have been used for this purpose,” the statement said. 

They also called for continued “meaningful” negotiations between protesters and the university and said any future use of Memorial Union or Union South for an unscheduled event must be approved by the executive director of the union. 

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Anna Kleiber

Anna Kleiber is the state news editor for The Daily Cardinal. She previously served as the arts editor. Anna has written in-depth on elections, legislative maps and campus news. She is an intern with WisPolitics and a summer intern with Madison Magazine. Follow her on Twitter at @annakleiber03.

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.

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.

Gabriella Hartlaub

Gabriella Hartlaub is the former arts editor for The Daily Cardinal. She has also written state politics and campus news. She currently is a summer reporting intern with Raleigh News and Observer. Follow her on Twitter at @gabihartlaub.

Bryna Goeking

Bryna Goeking is the arts editor for The Daily Cardinal. She also reports on campus news. Follow her on twitter @BrynaGoeking.


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