As violent rhetoric escalates, UW president calls for the closure of a pro-Palestinian encampment.

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce has urged for the dismantling of a pro-Palestine encampment on campus due to the rising incidents of vandalism and the use of violent rhetoric.

Since May, the number of tents at the initial encampment has grown to a few dozen. Additionally, protesters who are not affiliated with UW have also joined in.

The demonstrators initially demanded that the University of Washington divest from Israel, cut ties with Boeing, and put an end to the repression of pro-Palestinian students, faculty, and staff. However, President Cauce noted that the representatives of the encampment have been constantly changing and escalating their demands.

Encampment representatives have recently made demands for the establishment of a new department that would require a litmus test for faculty hiring, specifically targeting those who are “anti-Zionist”. They have also called for a student group to have oversight in awarding religion-based scholarships, as well as a blanket amnesty for all violations of the law and student code.

In a recent blog post, Cauce expressed her concerns about the demands being made, stating that some of them go against academic freedom and/or state and federal laws.

In response to demands for greater support for Palestinian and other Muslim and Middle Eastern students, Cauce stated that UW does not have any direct investments in Boeing or weapons manufacturers. Additionally, the university has proposed practical steps to enhance campus culture as a means of addressing the concerns raised by the protesters.

She acknowledged that although the encampment had initially caused some disruptions, major events at the school, like the night market, proceeded as planned. However, she pointed out that there has been a rise in violent rhetoric targeting Jewish students and incidents of vandalism on school buildings.

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In the words of Cauce, there are numerous avenues for expressing one’s opinions that do not involve resorting to tactics like setting up tents, using violent rhetoric, or engaging in vandalism. According to her, the most effective way to bring about change is through constructive engagement on issues that hold significance for both our students and the wider campus community.

The University of Washington president emphasized the university’s support for global leaders’ appeal to establish a ceasefire. This includes putting an end to military operations, freeing the hostages held by Hamas since October 7th, and providing much-needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians and all individuals residing in Gaza.

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