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DU students build encampment as pro-Palestinian protests continue

DENVER — Students at DU on Thursday joined a growing list of encampments going up on campuses across the nation as protesters call on university officials to break financial and academic ties with Israel over its war in Gaza.

Members of DU for Palestine began occupying the campus outside the university’s administrative building on Carnegie Green earlier Thursday, two weeks after dozens of student at Denver’s Auraria Campus started setting up camp to protest Israel’s continued offensive in Gaza.

DU for Palestine’s demands are not so different from those made by the Colorado Palestine Coalition (CPC) and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

The group is calling for DU to disclose all of its investments; divest from all companies invested in and responsible “for the illegal occupation, apartheid, and genocide of Palestinians”; boycott Israel economically and academically; release a public statement “that acknowledges the ongoing genocide of Palestinians, calls for an immediate ceasefire, and supports an end to the illegal occupation”; and protect free speech on campus.

What Pro-Palestine student demonstrators seek on Denver’s Auraria Campus

In a news release, DU for Palestine spokesperson Ash Reid quoted an organizer of the encampment, saying Chancellor Dr. Jeremy Haefner had sent “repeated emails emphasizing neutrality that the institution’s actions have directly contradicted.”

The organizer of the student movement was also quoted as saying, “Students on campus feel unsafe and frustrated with the University’s silence regarding the Israeli military’s massacres of Palestinians, while maintaining direct connections with Israeli universities.”

Denver7 reached out to the group for clarification on those statements and received the following statement:

DU has a study abroad program in Israel. DU also has connected students to internship programs with Lockheed Martin. DU has chosen to keep details of many investments under wraps, which is the precise reason we are demanding that the university discloses this information to the students who fund the existence of the institution. While many of DU’s direct investments are hidden from students and the public, we do know that DU has roughly $24 million invested in the oil and gas industries.

Calls for divestment may be easier to make than they are to accomplish, according to The Conversation, which reported that calls from pro-Palestinian protesters on university officials to disclose their investments and divest from Israel may not be legally feasible and may be hard to accomplish due to their economic complexity.

Tensions have continued to increase in standoffs between protesters and police on campuses across the U.S. — and increasingly, in Europethree weeks into a movement launched by a protest at Columbia University.

Since April 18, just over 2,800 people have been arrested on the campuses of 50 colleges and universities, according to figures based on Associated Press reporting and statements from universities and law enforcement agencies.


Pro-Palestinian protesters in Denver threaten to disrupt commencement ceremonies

3:33 PM, May 07, 2024

The growing protests are a result of Israel’s response following a surprise attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023, in which militants killed 1,139 people, most of them civilians, and took roughly 250 hostages. Vowing to destroy Hamas for the attack, Israel launched an offensive in Gaza that has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, around two-thirds of them children and women, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden told CNN he would not supply offensive weapons that Israel could use to invade the southern city of Rafah where more than a 1 million Palestinians have been forced to relocate as they seek shelter from Israel’s continuous offensive.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said Biden’s remarks would not stop Israel from continuing its offensive in the packed city, indicating it might proceed with an invasion of Rafah against the wishes of the United States.

This is a developing story and will be updated. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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