2 Universities Have Now Reached Deals With Pro-Palestine Protesters To End Encampments

Northwestern University in Illinois and Brown University in Rhode Island both reached a deal with pro-Palestine protesters this week to end their occupation of campus grounds.

College and universities across the U.S. have been flooded with student demonstrations in the past several weeks against Israel’s attacks on Gaza, in some cases pressing their schools to divest from companies linked to Israel. Many of the demonstrators, including those at Columbia University, have set up encampments on campus that have been met with police force, arrests and school suspensions. 

On Monday, Northwestern officials appeared to be the first to reach a deal with antiwar demonstrators, following five days of protests and encampments on Deering Meadow, the Daily Northwestern reported.

As part of a bargain made by NU and the Northwestern Divestment Coalition, a group helping to organize the protests and encampment, the university agreed to permit protests and pro-Palestine gatherings through the final day of spring classes on June 1. The school has also agreed to disclose its investments in businesses with Israeli ties.

In exchange, the NDC has agreed to leave just one aid tent on the lawn. University officials also stressed that students shouldn’t be punished for demonstrating by non-campus actors like employers.

Signs are displayed outside a tent encampment at Northwestern University on Friday, April 26, 2024, in Evanston, Illinois.
Signs are displayed outside a tent encampment at Northwestern University on Friday, April 26, 2024, in Evanston, Illinois. via Associated Press

″[The university] will advise employers not to rescind job offers for students engaging in speech protected by the First Amendment,” a university statement obtained by the Daily Northwestern said.

In a statement, the Northwestern Divestment Coalition celebrated the victory.

“For the first time, a university administration has committed to full disclosure of its holdings and investments in specific companies, including those whose investments support Israeli apartheid, as well as a clear path to the university’s divestment from those holdings,” the group’s statement said in part.

On Tuesday, another deal was reached between Brown University and the Brown Divest Coalition, a similar pro-Palestine group. Protesters involved with the coalition agreed to remove all tents and end the encampment on campus in exchange for a promise from the university to hold a board vote in October on whether or not to divest from Israel-linked companies.

Brown also agreed to invite five students chosen by the coalition for a meeting next month with school administrators to again discuss a 2020 proposal recommending divestments from companies linked to Israel. BU also said students and faculty who have engaged in demonstrations won’t be punished by the school.

“No member of the Brown community ― including faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, or alumni ― found to have been involved in the encampment or related activity will face retaliation from the University, including termination of employment or reduction in salary,” the agreement from the university said.

In a statement posted to Instagram, Brown Divest Coalition said the “victory is not the end to our work but rather fuel for it.”

“We will continue to pressure Brown to ensure we divest in October and support encampments across the country,” the statement said in part. “We stand with student protesters as they face university oppression and police brutality, and the people of Palestine as they continue to withstand the Israeli occupation.”