The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Breaking: University calls stalemate on negotiations with encampment organizers

Jake Cox
As the sun sets on the encampment on DePaul’s Quad a thunderstorm passed through, as protestors took shelter in tents and the Richardson Library. As the rain cleared, protestors walk around the Quad.

The office of DePaul’s president, Robert L. Manuel, emailed the university community at 8:10 p.m. today to announce that the university reached a stalemate in negotiations with the encampment organizers.

“Together with the Board of Trustees, we have worked to substantively respond to each of the demands the students have put forward. However, at this point, we are concerned that we are not on a path to understanding,” the email said.

On April 30th, the DePaul Divestment Coalition and Students for Justice in Palestine launched the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” to demand university transparency regarding investments and divestment from Israel. As of Thursday, Ayah Shaw, the encampment’s media liaison and DePaul student, affirmed the coalition’s resolve to remain on the Quad until all demands are met.

The email contained an addendum to the University’s original May 6 response to the coalition demands. These included financial support for teach-ins, facilitating a dialogue between coalition members and the Board of Trustees leadership and exploring academic connections with Palestinian higher education institutions.

However, the statement clarified that meetings between the Coalition and Board members are “informational only.”

 “This meeting does not mean that the board will consider the idea of divesting from companies doing business with Israel. The coalition’s demand, “Divest[ing] from companies that advance Palestinian suffering and profit off the occupation,” will not be placed on any formal agenda for the board to consider,” the statement said.

The addendum outlined agreement conditions, offering amnesty for encampment members and individuals involved in property damage, contingent upon dismantling the site by noon May 12.

“The university will not initiate disciplinary actions against students, faculty, staff or alumni for administrative policy violations such as requiring space reservations, permits for tents, staking of the ground in the quad, or the location of posting materials.  Nor will the university initiate disciplinary action for the current physical damage to campus property as a result of the encampment,” the conditions within the statement read.

A recent Instagram post from Students for Justice in Palestine at DePaul said that the university called a stalemate “despite the DePaul Divestment Coalition’s good faith intention to continue negotiations” and that the “Coalition did not agree to a statement.”

“The university is threatening to disperse the encampment. We will not be intimidated and will continue to protect our encampment community. We will not leave until divestment,” the post reads.

Within the post, SJP states that the university “attempted to unreasonably force students to sign an agreement today with many concerns left unaddressed or terminate negotiations effective immediately.” 

The Coalition chose not to sign the agreement and instead sought to continue negotiations “to be able to construct an agreement that respects and honors Palestinian life in solidarity with Gaza.” 

The university’s email concluded by stating that “the responses to the encampment had inadvertently raised public safety concerns, and put our community at risk” with a commitment to provide further updates as they become available.

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