Contact Us

Gaza demonstrators at New School in US threatened with suspension as protests grow

Anadolu Agency MIDDLE EAST
Published April 24,2024

Students taking part in a sit-in protest at a school in the US against "the ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza" have been threatened with suspension, activists and the school's student-run newspaper said Tuesday.

Demonstrators set up what they are calling the Gaza Solidarity Encampment in the University Center lobby at the New School, a private university in New York City, on Sunday. They have remained there since.

New School administrators ended negotiations with demonstrators without a resolution, the school's chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine said on social media Monday. They implored community members to join at the University Center to prevent arrests and suspensions from moving forward.

The New School Free Press student-run newspaper reported that Monday's negotiations with Mark Diaz, the executive vice president for Business Operations at the university, were intended to discuss divestment from "corporations benefiting from and complicit in the ongoing genocide and apartheid against Palestinian people."

Full financial transparency from the university was also to be addressed. But the meeting was called off after protesters refused demands from the administration to immediately disband.

The newspaper reported that the New School's Student Conduct and Community Standards Office issued a statement in which they warned students taking part in the demonstration that they face a range of disciplinary actions to include expulsion, "interim suspension" and unspecified warnings.

Officers with the New York Police Department have been photographed outside the building's entrance.

It is unclear when the photos were taken, but videos posted to social media Tuesday appeared to show a picket line of students on the street outside the University Center.

Protests against Israel's war against Gaza have intensified on college campuses after Columbia University, also in New York City, asked the NYPD last week to arrest demonstrators staging a sit-in on a college lawn. More than 100 people were arrested on Thursday.

The action has largely invigorated antiwar demonstrators as protests have spread to other campuses including the New School, Yale and New York University and has done little to quell criticism from those who say university leaders are not doing enough to provide campus security, particularly for Jewish students.

All 10 New York Republicans in the US House of Representatives urged Columbia President Minouche Shafik to step down Monday. The conservative lawmakers said in a letter to Shafik that "anarchy has engulfed" the school's Manhattan campus and accused Shafik of failing to provide students with "a safe learning environment."

Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip has displaced more than 75% of the coastal enclave's estimated 2.3 million residents and resulted in over 34,000 deaths, according to Gaza health officials. Israel has also targeted Gaza's places of higher education with all of its 12 major universities being destroyed.

The UN's Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA) has separately reported mass destruction at the sprawling network of schools it operates in the coastal enclave.

Demonstrators are demanding that universities divest from Israel-linked firms and condemn Israel's assault on Gaza. Counter-protesters in support of Israel have said the protests veer into antisemitism and make Jewish students feel unsafe.