Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


As encampment demonstration ends, efforts to support, uplift Palestinian students on campus continue

SJP members to work on initiatives with academic departments, university administrators
Library Mall. May 11, 2024. Photo by Cat Carroll, The Badger Herald.

Friday evening, University of Wisconsin students and Madison community members stood on Library Mall as a group of organizers took tents down one by one. As each tent was taken down, the name of a Palestinian university destroyed in the ongoing war in Gaza was read aloud.

It was a moment that marked the end of the 12-day encampment demonstration in solidarity with Palestine and emphasized solidarity with the students of Gaza specifically.

“These are students just like us who are unable to finish their degrees, unable to finish their studies,” an organizer said. “… There is nothing more that Palestinians love than education.”


Though the encampment came down, organizers held programming on Library Mall throughout the weekend, celebrating and uplifting Palestinian culture — as was done during the nearly two week student-led demonstration.

Lead organizers of the demonstration from Students for Justice in Palestine UW–Madison emphasized the importance of taking up space, and making their voices heard. In doing so, the organizers fostered a community of students, local individuals and businesses dedicated to supporting Palestine. This community sustained the encampment, through on-campus presence, donations and other support efforts.

Beyond building community, SJP member Dahlia Saba said Friday the encampment built momentum on campus to further hold space and advocate for Palestinians. One way SJP will continue to find space is by working with the Nelson Institute and Department of Geography to secure a Palestinian Student Space on campus.

Separately, under the agreement that resulted in the encampment being taken down, members of SJP will work with university administrators to initiate and oversee efforts to support and uplift Palestinians locally and globally. The agreement came after ongoing negotiations between student protest leaders and university administrators in response to a set of demands made April 29.

Saba said the agreement does not achieve disclosure or divestment of the university’s investments — the primary demands made by organizers of the encampment. But Saba said the agreement is a “first step” in SJP’s fight for UW’s divestment from the state of Israel. 

“We are committed to using the gains and the knowledge we’ve established through this process to grow the strength of our movement going forward,” Saba said.

As part of the agreement, university administrators will facilitate members of SJP with access to relevant decision makers at the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association, a private nonprofit corporation that fundraises on behalf of the university.

Campus administrators also vowed to recommend leniency for those charged by the UW Police Department when law enforcement officers removed the encampment and arrested 34 individuals May 1.

UW’s International Division will conduct a review of existing UW projects, student opportunities, experiential learning, study abroad programs and internships that engage with places and people impacted by war, violence and displacement. The review will be completed and presented to the campus community by the conclusion of the Fall 2024 semester.

“SJP is concerned about discriminatory practices and study abroad programs, specifically those that discriminate against Palestinian students at UW, and will use this agreement to address that,” Saba said.

The agreement also supports scholars and students impacted by war, violence, occupation and displacement, including those in Gaza. As such, a scholar from a Palestinian university will be invited to UW’s campus for each of the next three academic years, with the possibility for extension.

A student-focused staff member whose work will focus on supporting students impacted by war, violence and displacement will also be added to the Division of Student Affairs. The position will be posted for hiring by August 1, with student representation on the search committee. And through participation in Welcome Corps and other existing programs, UW has pledged to bring to campus and provide appropriate support for students impacted by war, violence and displacement.

“SJP hopes to see these pathways used to bring students from Gaza, where there are no universities left, to UW to complete and receive their degrees,” Saba said.

Saba said the momentum built within the greater community through the encampment will continue as members of SJP advocate for Palestinians over the summer, fall and beyond. She emphasized how the material gains for Palestinians outlined in the agreement further the goal of the demonstration to center Palestine.

“We have learned the importance of keeping our university accountable to the broader community both locally and internationally,” Saba said. “We encourage everyone to join us in continuing to fight.”

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