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: Divestment Coalition holds press conference, rally

Claire Tweedie
Pro-Palestinian protestors hold a banner saying ‘End the genocide” while marching down Sheffield Avenue May 16, 2024. The rally came after CPD and DePaul Public Safety cleared the student encampment earlier that day.

About 300 demonstrators gathered at the east entrance of DePaul’s Student Center in Lincoln Park at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, more than 12 hours after the Chicago Police Department and DePaul Public Safety dismantled the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.”

The DePaul Divestment Coalition and Students for Justice in Palestine also staged a press conference and subsequent march around the periphery of DePaul’s campus. According to an Instagram post by the DePaul Divestment Coalition, the gathering was meant to make it very clear that DePaul will not be allowed to breakdown the encampment and maintain any semblance of peace while it is invested in the Gaza genocide.”

Several speakers headlined the press conference, including Ald. Byron Signcho-Lopez (25th) and Rabbi Brant Rosen, both of whom spoke at the encampment’s press conference Saturday, May 11.

Sigcho-Lopez called it an “honor and pleasure” to stand with DePaul students and the DePaul Divest Coalition. He posed the question etched on the statue of Monsignor Egan outside the student center “what are you doing for justice?” as he called shame upon university administrators who ordered the removal of the encampment. 

“It is an attack on human dignity and morality,” Sigcho-Lopez said into a line of microphones from local news stations as demonstrators yelled “shame” behind him. 

Rabbi Brant Rosen, co-founder of Jewish Voices for Peace, said he was appalled to see the encampment torn down. He called the encampment “the safest place I could be as a Jew.”

“Jewish students … were an integral part of the ‘DePaul Liberation Zone’ community,” Rosen said. 

Student body president Parveen Mundi spoke to press about her unique role as often the only student involved in the shared governance structure of the university. 

Mundi classified herself as “someone who believes more than anything else that the administration today had an opportunity to do business differently, and instead chose to do something less than great.”

She went on to compare the 17-day encampment to other protests and sit-ins for social change throughout DePaul’s history. 

“Institutions of higher education act as authorities on attention … shaping what and whose idea matters, or doesn’t,” Mundi said. 

She said DePaul’s move to take down the encampment shows that they do not value shared governance. 

Mundi explained that at a joint council meeting on Tuesday, May 14, President Manuel said “he did not have much to discuss” regarding the impasse with negotiators. 

“President Manuel did not think leaders of this institution were worth considering when it came to what happens next, or whether or not an intervention would be considered and whether or not notice would be given to the vulnerable members of our community,” Mundi said. 

A CPD officer stands on the opposite side of Sheffield Avenue from pro-Palestinian protestors following a rally on May 16, 2024. The rally began by the Egan statue before circling DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus and ending at the same place.

Following the press conference, demonstrators with signs and Palestinian flags took to the streets for the next several hours. 

Chants such as, “We want divestment now, now, now” and “No justice no peace, no racist police” echoed off the John T. Richardson Library and Schmitt Academic Center as demonstrators marched down Sheffield Avenue, turned onto Fullerton Avenue and rounded out the night through on Belden Avenue. 

CPD was present throughout the press conference and march but generally did not engage with demonstrators. 

“We are here, we have our demands, and we will continue to push until this administration actually gives us a response that isn’t only signed by Manual but actually done in consultation with all the stakeholders that make this university great,” Mundi said. 



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