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Friday, June 21, 2024
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encampment morning pic

BREAKING: George Washington University students set up an encampment with local organizers

Students from the D.C. area protest, calling for universities to divest from Israel

George Washington University students woke up this morning to an encampment of around 20 tents on the University Yard. By 10:30 a.m., an estimated 70 GW students had joined in calling for the university to divest from Israel. GWU Students for Justice in Palestine announced the encampment with DMV SJP on Thursday around 5 a.m., writing “rise and shine DMV” on an Instagram story and calling on other students across the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area to join. 

The encampment joins a national movement of encampments on college campuses, including those at Columbia University, Emory University, Yale University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of Maryland College Park and several others. 

GW officials have sent multiple safety updates to students telling them “not [to] admit unknown persons” and an email sent at 10:34 a.m. noted that “GW will prohibit non-GW individuals from participating in any demonstration on university property.” An online statement at 9:50 a.m. also told protesters to move their tents because “University Yard was previously reserved and is not available for demonstrations” and disperse by 7 p.m. Thursday.

DMV SJP and its associated organizations posted calling “for students across the DMV as a united demonstration of our power, uplifting our collective demands for financial transparency, boycotts and divestment from the zionist state, and an end to the racist repression [of] pro-Palestine students.”

GW’s student newspaper, The Hatchet, reported at 12:26 p.m. that over 120 students, faculty and staff from Georgetown University joined and noted a significant Metro Police Department presence on the streets around the encampment. 

Along with the protesters from Georgetown, GW SJP was joined by the D.C. chapter of Party for Socialism and Liberation. Students from other D.C. area schools — George Mason University, American University, University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Howard University and Gallaudet — were called to join the encampment, according to GWU SJP. AU SJP posted on Instagram at approximately 2 p.m. that they were in attendance at the encampment. 

Faculty members were announced by organizers and led through the University Yard where they joined students in the encampment at approximately 11 a.m.

Access to University Yard was limited to GW students, and all media outside of The Hatchet was removed according to an Instagram post from DMV SJP. To enter the University Yard, students were required to show a valid form of GW identification. The Eagle was asked to leave the University Yard. Non-GW students were allowed to congregate outside of University Yard on the public street and sidewalk.

Emily Scott, a senior at GW in the Elliot School of International Affairs, was a bystander watching the demonstration. 

“They’re doing some peaceful protesting, just like many of the other college campuses across the nation right now. I was fully expecting it because there has been a lot of tension at GW regarding this issue,” Scott said. 

Lynn Erskine, a D.C. resident, came to support a ceasefire and watch the demonstration. 

“I’m an anti-war activist,” Erskine said. “I support ending the bombing of children.”

SJP supporters and organizers set up speakers and a microphone to rally with those within the encampment from the public street. They spoke about protecting students as the organizations noted that the support of student activism was why their protests have been successful. Organizers said they would remain protesting at University Yard and that they would remain peaceful. 

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Correction: A previous version of this story said The Eagle was removed from University Yard. The article has been updated to reflect that The Eagle was asked to leave the yard. 

This article was edited by Kathryn Squyres, Zoe Bell, Tyler Davis and Abigail Turner. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks. 

As the semester comes to an end and one of the founding members leaves American University, Section 202 has decided to take a trip down memory lane. For our fans, old and new, who are wondering how Section 202 came to be, this episode is a must. Listen along as hosts Connor Sturniolo and Liah Argiropoulos reminisce about the beginning of Section 202 and how it got to where it is now.

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