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Day 12: Protest organizers reach agreement with UW administrators, begin encampment removal

Agreement provides material gains for Palestinians on campus, abroad
Sami Bitat
Tents begin coming down at the Library Mall Encampment. May 10, 2024.

Tents remain on a portion of the Library Mall lawn as the pro-Palestine encampment demonstration continues into its twelfth day. Commencement celebrations at the University of Wisconsin are set to begin at the Kohl Center today for doctoral, MFA and medical professional degree candidates.

Negotiations between protest organizers and university administrators have continued throughout the week and are set to continue today.

Protest organizers have scheduled various teach-in demonstrations throughout the day, and a “Liberation Shabbat” is set to take place this evening, according to the Students for Justice in Palestine UW–Madison Instagram.


This is a developing story. See live updates below.

5:52 p.m.

Protest organizers stood in the center of Library Mall explaining the agreement reached with UW administration. One organizer emphasized the agreement does not achieve divestment — a key goal of the encampment — but does achieve material gains for Palestinians, both in Palestine and on campus.

The organizer added the power and momentum built during the 12-day encampment will continue as SJP fights for UW’s divestment from Israel through the summer, fall and beyond.

“We have learned the importance of keeping our university accountable to the broader community, both locally and internationally,” the organizer said.

Demonstrators will begin taking the encampment down slowly and deliberately, redistributing materials to community members in need. Programming is set to continue, including a “Liberation Shabbat” and Dabke, a traditional Palestinian dance, this evening.

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

4:41 p.m.

In a message sent to all UW students and employees, Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin said she appreciates the “hard work, engagement, and careful listening” that has occurred within the campus community over the last 10 days. Mnookin thanked both university and student leaders who took part in constructive engagement during the negotiation process.

Mnookin emphasized the importance of fostering engagement and dialogue on campus moving forward.

“We must continue to work to find ways to see each other, to listen, to understand, and to recognize our shared humanity,” Mnookin said in her message.

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

3:30 p.m.

Protesters have begun to take down tents and clean up encampment site. Banners hung up on the Library Mall side of Memorial Library have been taken down.

SJP UW–Madison organizers were unable to make a public statement on progress of the encampment removal.

— Reported by Digital News Editor Sami Bitat.

3:14 p.m.

District 8 Alder and UW student MGR Govindarajan released a statement on X, formerly Twitter, praising SJP organizers and UW administration’s continued dialogue throughout the encampment.

“I’m proud of both the Organizers and the UW Administration for continuing discussions throughout this difficult period,” Govindarajan said.

Govindarajan said the agreement between SJP and UW administration was the “best outcome” anyone could have expected.

— Reported by Print News Editor Blake Thor.

3:04 p.m.

SJP UW–Madison has agreed to remove all items associated with the encampment from library mall, avoid disrupting any university activity, including those associated with spring commencement and follow all university policy in any future pursuits. Any further collective protesting that violates UW guidelines on behalf of SJP will render the agreement null.

In the agreement, UW administration stressed again their inability to disclose and divest investments of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association. But, UW administration has agreed to connect SJP with decision-makers from the WFAA, the private organization that controls UW investments. Mnookin has agreed to attend a meeting between the two groups to advocate for SJP’s demands.

Further, UW administration has pledged not interfere in any attempts by SJP to influence university investment policy through forms of shared governance like the Associated Students of Madison. UW administration will require the International Division create a review assessing current projects, internships, abroad programs and learning opportunities accessible to students impacted by war, violence and displacement. The review will be submitted to Mnookin by the end of the fall 2024 semester and methods to improve or expand these opportunities will be considered.

UW administration has pledged to host at least one scholar from a Palestinian university each of the next 3 academic years through the Scholars at Risk Network or the IIE Scholars Rescue Fund. UW administration will also hire a staff member focused on supporting students impacted by war, violence and displacement. The position will be posted Aug.1 and student representation will serve on the candidate search committee.

— Reported by Print News Editor Blake Thor.

2:12 p.m.

This morning, campus leaders and student protest organizers from SJP UW–Madison reached a resolution to end the encampment. Under the agreement, the encampment — which currently includes around 45 tents — will be cleared by 6 p.m.

As part of the final agreement, campus leaders committed to address concerns of the encampment organizers through “facilitation of access for SJP to meet with decision makers to discuss disclosure and investment principles and enhanced engagement with and support for scholars and students impacted by war, violence and displacement,” a UW statement said.

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

9:12 a.m.

The encampment still stands on Library Mall, and protesters remain in their tents.

— Reported by Managing Editor Cat Carroll.

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