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Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Day five: Negotiators meet with UW administrators, vow to continue demonstration until demands are met

Encampment demonstration on Library Mall enters fifth day
Bennett Waara
Fifth day of pro-Palestine encampment at UW begins. May 3, 2024.

The pro-Palestine encampment on the University of Wisconsin’s Library Mall has entered its fifth day.

Demonstrators rebuilt the encampment after police removed tents early Wednesday morning. Protesters met with UW administrators early Thursday morning, and another meeting is planned for Friday morning.

UW Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin said no police action would be taken on the encampment before the second meeting between protesters and UW administrators takes place this morning.


This is a developing story. See live updates below.

9:41 p.m.

Demonstrators have begun reading poetry in support of Palestine. The Badger Herald will continue reporting on the Library Mall encampment demonstration at 7 a.m.

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

9:35 p.m.

One song being sung by demonstrators is called “Sawf Nabqa Houna,” which translates to “We will stay here.” The demonstrators said they were inspired to sing the song in honor of the doctors working tirelessly to support those in Gaza.

Event organizers said they were also inspired by the dedicated journalists documenting the war in Gaza. Videos of doctors and journalists singing “Sawf Nabqa Houna” have been posted online.

“We’ve seen videos coming out of them singing this very song, which is very inspirational to see their resilience and so we wanted to bring that here,” one organizer said.

— Reported by Digital News Editor Sami Bitat.

9:31 p.m.

A group of demonstrators has begun singing Arabic songs in solidarity with those in Gaza.

— Reported by Digital News Editor Brianna Davis.

9:15 p.m.

As protesters prepare to stay for the fifth straight night, there are over 35 tents on Library Mall — more than were standing when law enforcement removed tents Wednesday morning.

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

8:18 p.m.

The sunset prayer, Maghrib, has begun. Other protesters are surrounding those praying to block potential interruption and interference.

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

7:42 p.m.

SJP UW–Madison and the Madison chapter of Jewish Voices for Peace hosted a Liberation Shabbat with over 100 people. During the service, Jewish participants recited prayers and sang in Hebrew, displaying solidarity with those in Gaza.

“Our [Jewish] tradition teaches us that while we were still enslaved, the first step toward our collective freedom was to demand that we will be allowed to rest on Shabbat,” the speaker said. “In that sense, every Shabbat is a gateway to liberation.”

One speaker said the pro-Palestinian protests across the country are not to be confused with antisemitism.

“With the protesters on North American soils … we reject the conflation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism,” the speaker said.

— Reported by Print News Editor Blake Thor and Digital News Editor Sami Bitat.

7:41 p.m.

In response to the presence of College Republicans and Wisconsin Young Americans for Freedom on Library Mall, a Students for Justice in Palestine organizer referenced the encampment’s community guidelines, which ask protesters to not engage with counter-protesters to stay focused on their pro-Palestine cause.

— Reported by Print News Editor Blake Thor.

7:33 p.m.

A group of over 10 individuals stands on State Street Mall holding an Israel flag, facing the encampment demonstration.

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

6:59 p.m.

College Democrats of UW–Madison’s executive board has shown up in support of the encampment. The organization is advocating for a ceasefire and for the protesters’ demands to be met, College Democrats director of communication Whitman Bottari said.

Bottari emphasized the organization wants the protest to remain peaceful. Civil disobedience and peaceful protest are long-held traditions at UW, and an important part of its history, Bottari said.

“We think that these encampments are going to be on the right side of history and, eventually, UW will take pride in it in the same way they take pride in the Vietnam war protests,” Bottari said.

— Reported by News Associate Editor Aiden Mellon.

6:53 p.m.

Prominent Muslim leader and Palestinian refugee from Milwaukee Sheikh Rami spoke to hundreds of protesters at the pro-Palestinian encampment on Library Mall.

“It’s my honor to be here amongst you all today,” Sheikh Rami said. “These places are places of peace and love.”

Sheikh Rami called upon people from different religious backgrounds to speak out the war in Gaza. He added that students have a right to know where their university is invested, and how funding may be tied to genocide and other human rights violations.

UW administration should be proud of the students demonstrating and university leaders should meet with students ready to listen to their demands, Sheikh Rami said.

“One day we will look back at this moment and we will realize that the student movement that started from Columbia University and that has spread throughout the United States … will be looked upon as being on the right side of history as well,” Sheikh Rami said.

— Reported by Print News Editor Blake Thor.

6:47 p.m.

Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs John Zumbrunnen, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor and Provost Charles Isbell sent a statement to student protest organizers Friday afternoon, asking organizers to meet Saturday at noon for “continued dialogue.”

“We believe that today’s meeting ended productively, and that it makes sense for us to continue engaging with each other,” the statement said. “At this point, we have not made any commitments in relation to your concerns or demands, and you have not made any concessions.”

In the statement, administrators asked protest organizers to notify them by 9 a.m. Saturday if they planned to meet at noon.

— Reported by Editor-in-Chief Celia Hiorns.

6:20 p.m.

Young Americans for Freedom president Harrison Wells said he hoped the “Party in the USA” gathering would demonstrate students can communicate their viewpoints by protesting within the bounds of the law. Wells expressed frustration over the encampment.

“If you’re breaking the law and you’re breaking school policy as a registered student organization, we just ask that the school enforce their policies evenly to all registered student organizations,” Wells said.

— Reported by News Associate Editor Aiden Mellon.

6:16 p.m.

Around 25 people are gathered for “Party in the USA.” College Republicans of UW–Madison are handing out popsicles and free shirts that say “GOP Badgers” on the front and show the Wisconsin Capitol Building in front of an American flag on the back.

— Reported by Managing Editor Sophia Scolman.

6:08 p.m.

Dean of Students Christina Olstad is present at the demonstration. About five members of College Republicans of UW–Madison are gathering near the Wisconsin Historical Society, preparing for the “Party in the USA” counter-protest.

— Reported by Managing Editor Sophia Scolman.

4:36 p.m.

About 10 counter-protesters arrived on the Historical Society side of Library Mall holding Israeli flags and a sign with a whiteboard, tallying ongoing donations to Israel for every hour the pro-Palestinian encampment continues. At the time of this update, the current donation tally stands at $2,331, according to the sign.

— Reported by Editor-in-Chief Celia Hiorns

4:28 p.m.

Away from the encampment demonstration, Palestinian community members are discussing how the war in Gaza has impacted their lives in a community panel discussion at the Educational Sciences Building. UW professor of educational policy studies Nancy Kendall introduced the panel.

“Our goal in organizing this event is to provide a space where we can listen carefully and respectfully to a set of diverse and particular perspectives about the experience of being Palestinian,” Kendall said.

— Reported by News Associate Editor Anna Kristoff.

4:25 p.m.

The University Committee, which is the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate at the University of Wisconsin, released a statement urging student protest leaders and UW administration to “continue their discussions through the weekend.”

“We fully acknowledge the complexity of the issues in Israel and Gaza, which is at the heart of the demonstrations, and the suffering that the violence there has caused … The parties must continue their discussions with the aim of peacefully coming to a speedy resolution acceptable to all those involved, as difficult as that might be,” the statement, which was signed by all members of the University Committee, said.

— Reported by Managing Editor Sophia Scolman.

3:00 p.m.

An organizer gave updates on the hearings that occurred for the four individuals who were booked into the Dane County Jail Wednesday morning. None of the four individuals had a criminal record prior to their arrest, and all will be released by the end of the day Friday.

Three of the individuals were banned from the UW campus. The individual affiliated with UW was banned only from the Library Mall area on campus.

The organizer encouraged protesters to continue calling the Dane County District Attorney’s Office, asking for the charges made against the four individuals to be dropped.

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

1:19 p.m.

About 40 protesters are gathered at the center of Library Mall for the 1 p.m. teach-in, using various percussion instruments and their voices to make music.

— Reported by Managing Editor Sophia Scolman.

12:48 p.m.

In a statement posted to the social media platform X this morning, the executive board of the American Association of University Professors chapter at UW–Madison condemned the use of force by law enforcement Wednesday.

“These actions are deeply damaging to the University of Wisconsin’s traditions of open inquiry, debate, and activism, and threaten the free speech rights of all members of the university community,” AAUP UW–Madison said in the statement.

The organization urged university leadership to reject the use of police force against protesters.

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

12:19 p.m.

In an Instagram post, Students for Justice in Palestine UW–Madison encouraged individuals to call the Dane County District Attorney’s Office and ask they drop charges made against protesters Wednesday.

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

11:22 a.m.

Lead organizers gave an update from their second meeting with representatives from UW’s administration, including Provost Charles Isbell, Vice Provost John Zumbrunnen and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor. Mnookin was not present at the 8:30 a.m. meeting.

Professor of community and environmental sociology Samer Alatout, who is Palestinian, joined student negotiators at the meeting. Alatout has advocated for protesters throughout the week, but was among the faculty members arrested and injured during police presence Wednesday morning. Since Wednesday, Alatout has said he felt targeted as a Palestinian professor. This morning, he chose to withdraw from further negotiations until UW administrators issue an apology for detaining faculty of color and thereby perpetuating racist narratives.

The administrators offered to hold a longer negotiation meeting with lawyers present Saturday, but organizers said they feel they cannot negotiate until the UW Foundation discloses its investments. The UW Foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation governed by UW alumni that fundraises on behalf of the university.

The administrators also offered to speak over the phone later today, which negotiators agreed to. The organizers again emphasized the demonstration will continue until their demands are met.

“What more urgency does she [Mnookin] need to look past her opinions and start fighting for Palestinian students and other students of color?” an organizer said.

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

11:06 a.m.

Hearings for the four individuals arrested and booked into the Dane County Jail Wednesday morning are set to take place today.

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

10:50 a.m.

UW System President Jay Rothman said in an interview on WISN 12 News that Wednesday’s “clashes” between protesters and law enforcement on the UW–Madison campus were “instigated by the protesters.”

Rothman previously said in a statement Wednesday that the free exchange of ideas through dialogue is a “hallmark” of the UW System. But he expressed his support for police presence to remove tents from university property, which are prohibited under Chapter 18 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code.

“I commend Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin for her reasonableness and resolve, as well as her commitment to free expression and the safety and security of her students,” Rothman said in the statement Wednesday.

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

9:44 a.m.

A statement in solidarity released Monday afternoon has amassed over 2,800 signatures from UW faculty, staff, alumni and donors.

“We call on our colleagues in the UW-Madison administration to listen to our students and engage with their demands,” the statement says.

Nearly 100 Jewish UW faculty, staff and students have signed a letter in support of protesters on campus since Thursday. The letter calls on UW to “distinguish between antisemitism and criticism of Israel, between Jews and Zionists, between an identity and a political stance.”

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

9:40 a.m.

Around 40 demonstrators are gathered in a circle to discuss “The Land of Sad Oranges.”

— Reported by Managing Editor Sophia Scolman.

9:04 a.m.

A protest organizer encouraged demonstrators to network with one another, and handed out printed versions of “The Land of Sad Oranges,” by Ghassan Kanafani, a prominent figure in Arabic literature who was assassinated by an explosive device planted in his car by the Israeli Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations, known as Mossad, in 1972.

— Reported by Managing Editor Sophia Scolman.

7:16 a.m. 

There are currently around 35 tents at the encampment on Library Mall. Demonstrators are beginning to wake up and get food from “The People’s Kitchen” at the center of the encampment. Protest organizers are set to meet with Mnookin this morning.

— Reported by Editor-in-Chief Celia Hiorns.

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