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Diversity, equity official to leave GW in July
By Jenna Lee, Assistant News Editor • June 8, 2024

Live coverage: Hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators rally at U-Yard encampment

Daniel Heuer | Staff Photographer

Editor’s note: This article includes The Hatchet’s live coverage of the first day of the University Yard encampment. For live coverage of day two, click here.

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered in University Yard Thursday, including faculty, staff and students from other D.C. universities, to join a movement of encampments at more than a dozen universities nationwide.

About 50 students pitched tents in U-Yard at about 5 a.m. Thursday, later to be joined by hundreds of other community members to protest. Students are demanding that GW divests from companies tied to Israel, drop its alleged charges against pro-Palestinian student organizers and disclose all its endowments and investments.

The demonstration is the latest in a series of pro-Palestinian encampments at college campuses across the country after the arrest of more than 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators at Columbia University last week, with many students demanding their schools end financial ties to Israel and weapons manufacturers as the war in Gaza continues.

The DMV Coalition of Students for Justice in Palestine organized the coalition with students from GW and George Mason University, American University, Georgetown University, University of Maryland, Howard University, Gallaudet University and University of Maryland, Baltimore County, helped organize the encampment, according to a post on the SJP Instagram page.

Officials said the demonstrators may protest until 7 p.m., and said the group must take down the encampment as that deadline passes.

Follow along below:

Daniel Heuer | Staff Photographer

Updated: 3:43 a.m. — Uncertainty looms over demonstrators

An hour after organizers first warned demonstrators that police could begin making arrests, it’s unclear if police plan to enter the encampment. 

Organizers are whispering among themselves, unsure as to whether or not police are on their way. A spokesperson for the Student Coalition for Palestine at GW declined to comment. 

At 3:41 a.m., a Metropolitan Police Department truck circled the block, two MPD vans were parked on H Street and three GW Police Department cars parked on nearby streets.

Demonstrators have repeatedly reviewed their strategy in case they are arrested, and one led a breathing exercise to calm the nerves of attendees. Still, many demonstrators were firm in their decision to remain in the encampment even if police arrive.  

Many students have reentered their tents or are sitting in lawn chairs. 

A group of four demonstrators grabbed their bags and left U-Yard around 3:13 a.m. Another two left about 10 minutes later. More than 50 students still remain. 

GW Police Department Chief James Tate and Dean of Students Colette Coleman were seen entering Lisner Hall. University spokesperson Josh Grossman is also on scene.

Updated: 2:54 a.m. — Demonstrators congregate as threat of arrests remains unclear 

Organizers walked back on some of their earlier warnings for arrest, saying the threats were likely not “imminent.” While a handful of MPD cars are parked around U-Yard, it is unclear if they plan to make any arrests. 

Shortly after 2 a.m., an organizer woke up protesters with a siren emanating from a megaphone to inform them of an increased presence of MPD officers who they said may begin arresting participants “at any minute.” Students offered contacts for legal support in the case of arrest and gave an overview of their plans in the case police begin arrests. 

Within ten minutes, protesters began dragging tents into the center of the encampment. Some deconstructed their tents while the majority kept them intact and stacked them in a pile. 

Minutes later, organizers seemed to waver on the immediate risk of a threat of arrest, with a demonstrator announcing that they issued the warning for if arrests were “imminent,” but that they no longer think they are. More than 50 demonstrators remain at the encampment. 

Around 2:42 a.m., organizers told demonstrators to come to the center of the encampment for “grounding,” where they discussed the war in Gaza and finding community in the face of pressure from university administrators.  

“We have 32 police units here in D.C. and we as young adults held them off today,” the organizer said.

When asked how they are feeling, students said they felt “community” and “pride.” Demonstrators are writing a jail support number on their arms and filling out jail support forms.

“Everyone understands the risk of why we’re here,” an organizer said.

Updated: 2:08 a.m. — Organizers prepare for arrests, citing MPD presence 

Organizers in the Coalition of Students for Justice in Palestine think arrests are incoming at the U-Yard encampment.

Sirens rang around 2 a.m. to wake demonstrators from their tents. An organizer told attendees their strategic plan to react to clean sweeps as more police cars appeared on H Street. Organizers told protestors to prepare their bags. 

“Everyone needs to make sure your stuff is packed now,” the organizer said.

At least two Metropolitan Police Department vans have pulled onto H Street and three cares are on 20th Street. MPD did not return multiple requests for comment.

“Lock arms and chant,” they told each other in preparation for the potential arrests.

Student organizers could be seen talking with Assistant Dean for Student Life Brian Joyce. He said he’s seen MPD cars and “thinks” they’re on their way.

Updated: 12:55 a.m. — In for the night

The last tents of the night are going up now. Groups of protesters are scattered across small groups, engaged in casual conversations.

Much of the group have entered their tents for the night — most of the noise comes from protesters still setting up tents and the debates over how to pitch them.

A handful of organizers still stand on the outskirts of the encampment, and GW Police Department officers are stationed outside Corcoran Hall, standing in a circle and talking. Another handful of officers are stood on the northeast corner of U-Yard, observing quietly.

Updated 12:27 a.m. — New demonstrators onboard into encampment 

Clusters of additional protesters joined the encampment Thursday night, with organizers onboarding the demonstrators with information about the potential of facing arrest and legal repercussions. 

A demonstrator in a pink vest informed newcomers to the encampment that they weren’t required to answer questions from police, except for their names and addresses if they were arrested, and to wait for their lawyers before speaking with law enforcement. 

“When in doubt, stay silent,” the demonstrator said.

The demonstrator described the logistics of facing jail time, posting bond and appearing in court. The organizer also detailed the color-coded system that determines when demonstrators are expected to leave – with yellow and green expected to leave after the first warning from the police, pink waiting until the second warning and red remaining in the encampment no matter what. 

The demonstrator also instructed new encampment members to refrain from yelling other demonstrators’ legal or identifiable names and to cover identifiable physical traits while protesting, like tattoos or hair.

Demonstrators wheeled a drum out of the encampment as protesters reclined in sleeping bags and zipped up their tents for the night. Elvis’s “A Little Less Conversation” softly pumped out of the speakers while sirens sounded in the background.

Updated 12:14 a.m. — Kogan Plaza fenced off overnight

While the metal barricades officials put up on the northern exit to U-Yard have largely been taken down, the gates blocking Kogan Plaza remain. 

Security guards sat in cars guarding the H Street and 20th Street entrances into Kogan Plaza. Officials also taped off the walkway between Kogan Plaza and 20th Street with yellow caution tape. White laminated “No Entrance” signs were posted to the barricades.

Officials have not announced when they plan to take down the metal fences.

Updated: 11:23 p.m. — Zooming out

On April 18, New York Police Department officers swept through a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” at Columbia University and arrested more than 100 protesters.

The police cleared the Columbia encampment at the request of university leaders, and Columbia President Minouche Shafik announced the suspension of the demonstrators. A flurry of students across the country have since pitched similar encampments, including Columbia protesters who set up a second, adjacent encampment.

Many more universities have cracked down on the encampments, arresting anyone who refuses to leave. Police arrested at least 108 protesters at Emerson College on Thursday morning and 93 protesters at the University of Southern California on Wednesday night, just two examples of multiple encampment shutdowns.

Many political leaders have bristled at the on-campus protests. President Joe Biden called the demonstrations antisemitic, and a pair of Republican senators called on the National Guard to stifle the Columbia protests. 

But, despite a 7 p.m. deadline from GW officials to close their camp, local students are less than an hour away from making it into day 2. 

The Foggy Bottom encampment is somewhat of a culmination of months of protests: in October, members of SJP projected anti-Israel statements onto Gelman Library, which ultimately led to the group’s suspension; pro-Palestinian marchers chanted outside University President Ellen Granberg’s inauguration in November; and demonstrators earlier this month unfurled a 60-foot Palestinian flag to protest an event that featured the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Updated: 10:43 p.m. — Calm in the encampment

The quiet hums of conversation have settled over the U-Yard encampment. 

Soft chatter and the smell of cigarette smoke wafted through the air of U-Yard as demonstrators settled in small circles on the grass to rest. Circles of students shared snacks and jokes among themselves — one pair took turns flipping a half-empty water bottle. 

Organizers handed out food and drinks under two canopies at the center of the encampment. A line for food cut diagonally across the green space. There are packages of water bottles stacked three high, boxes of squeeze-bottle apple sauce and at least one ham and cheese board. 

Early on, a demonstrator rhythmically tapped a frying pan and a noise like a shaking maraca emanated from the center of the encampment. Then the sound of a speaker cut through the chatter in U-Yard: “If you have a gray Toyota Corolla with Maryland plates, we’re asking you to move your car, you’re blocking a driveway.” About a block away, an aggravated man jumped up and down on the car. 

Organizers also found a wallet, directing its owner to pick it up from the medical tent on the north side of the encampment.

Some attendees pitched new tents while other new arrivals brought pillows and picnic blankets. 

Red and blue lights intermittently illuminate the walls of nearby buildings as MPD cruisers circle the block. GW Police Department officers take turns walking through the plaza.

Sage Russell | Assistant Photo Editor

Updated: 9:58 p.m. — Isha prayer

After demonstrators entered a break, about 30 people spread across two rows gathered once again in the grass between bricks on the southwest side of U-Yard for the night’s Isha prayer. 

Updated: 9:43 p.m. — Organizers prep for extra tents, if needed

Night has fallen, and as organizers prepare overnight arrangements, one speaker said they would obtain more tents if needed. The crowd has thinned some, but there are still about 200 people in the yard — more than about 20 tents up can likely handle.

 “We will make sure that everybody has a place to sleep,” an organizer said over the speaker.

Updated: 9:30 p.m. — ‘Break’

Organizers said they are taking a short break from chanting. Since nightfall, the crowd has thinned — about a third of protesters remain. Protesters briefly played music, including “El Kofeyye Arabeyye” by British-Palestinian rapper Shadia Mansour, over a speaker before pausing it for prayer.

Updated: 9:27 p.m. — Protesters say they don’t plan to leave

More than two hours have passed since the 7 p.m. deadline set by officials this morning for protesters to clear the encampments from U-Yard, but demonstrators have shown no indications of relocating or clearing the tents from the area. 

“We’re not going anywhere,” chanted a crowd of demonstrators around 8:45 p.m. this evening. 

An organizer of the Student Coalition for Palestine said in a speech that University officials told the group this morning to relocate to a different place on campus because they were “bothering administration”, but the organizer said they will not leave or rest until the University divests. 

“We remain steadfast, we remain here and continue to push our demands that you drop charges against student organizers, you protect anti-Zionist speech, you give us financial transparency, and you divest,” the organizer said. “We will not rest until you divest.”

The organizer encouraged protestors to stay in the encampment “no matter how scared” they are.  

“I need you guys to stay with me, I need students to stand as things happen, and our community to continue to show up because we cannot give up,” the organizer said. “Because as scary as the oppression might be, there is nothing scarier than being under a bomb or airstrike in Gaza.”

Updated: 9:04 p.m. — Maghrib Prayer 

The protest broke out at around 8:11 p.m. for about six rows about 20 students wide to observe Maghrib prayer with prayer mats laid out on the grass between the bricks on the east side of U-Yard. Attendees who did not pray sat in silence while Suhaib Webb, an imam from a D.C. mosque, led the prayer. 

Despite the hundreds of protesters seated in the lawn, U-Yard was silent, except for the coos of a baby in attendance.

“America’s being flipped on its head and all of this is inspiration of people whose favorite dish is flipped and that’s maqluba,” Webb said in a speech after the prayer, referencing a traditional Middle Eastern dish that is typically cooked in a pot and flipped upside down to eat.

Webb said students remind older generations to be a “flipper” and to not buy into the status quo or listen to people that try to weaken them. 

“What kind of power loves American youth one week and then the next week frames them as the greatest enemies of freedom in the country?” Webb said, to cheers and shouts from the audience. “That tells you that they were never your allies in the first place and that they see young people simply as a commodity.”

Arwen Clemans | Staff Photographer

Updated: 8:27 p.m. — The campus operations of the day

Except for the relocation of law school exams and temporary GWorld security protocols, campus operations have remained relatively normal despite the protest. 

Western Market, the food court across from University Yard, is as busy as most other weeknights. The patio of Tonic at Quigley’s Bar and Restaurant, a block away from the protest, has been full most of the day. 

U-Yard is surrounded by four- and five-story buildings — that might be why the sounds of the demonstration are hardly audible more than a block away. Within individual classrooms or residence halls, it’s difficult to say if the atmosphere or procedures have changed in response to the demonstration. 

Faces of curious students fill up the windows of buildings that face University Yard, but even the sidewalks closest to the encampment are easily passable. Kogan Plaza has been blocked to pedestrians for most of the afternoon, but protesters haven’t strayed from U-Yard except to pick up food or take a bathroom break. 

Updated: 8:11 p.m. — Granberg seen at Elliott event

University President Ellen Granberg, who has been physically absent from the demonstration so far, attended an event commemorating the 125th anniversary of the Elliott School of International Affairs tonight.

The event, sponsored by some Elliott parents and alumni, took place between 6 to 8 p.m., with a reception period between 6:45 and 7:05 p.m., according to an event flyer. Granberg spoke at 6:45 and left at around 7 p.m., according to a student at the event.

Updated: 8:03 p.m. — Demonstration stretches into dusk 

The sun has set on Foggy Bottom tonight, but the protest appears far from over.

Organizers said there won’t be any more speakers tonight, but have turned to call and response chants with the crowd. The energy in U-Yard has also multiplied, signified by the increasingly loud cries from demonstrators. 

Protesters have formed a ring around the encampments in U-Yard, with demonstrators belting chants like “Long live the intifada,” “MPD, KKK, [Israeli Occupying Force] are all the same,” “Free Palestine” and “GWU, you can’t hide, you invest in genocide.”

Some clang wooden spoons against metal pots to join in the calls, while others tap tambourines or clap along. Dozens of students are holding signs condemning Israel and calling for a cease-fire while others wave both giant and mini Palestinian flags. 

Throughout the evening, calls from protesters have evolved from urging administrators to support Palestinian protesters and drop charges against pro-Palestinian student organizations to demanding a cease-fire from government officials. 

“What do we want? Cease-fire,” the congregation of demonstrators called out. “When do we want it? Now.”

Crowds of students and community members have spilled over to the surrounding campus buildings, and at least 30 onlookers perch on the stairs of the School of Media & Public Affairs and the terrace of Lisner and Bell halls. Students are also watching the demonstration from windows on Lisner’s upper floors.

University officials have reappeared around U-Yard, but don’t seem to be directing demonstrators or police to shut down the encampment. Dean of Students Colette Coleman was seen pacing while making a phone call and speaking with members of Chabad. Assistant Dean of Student Life Brian Joyce, Chief Financial Officer Bruno Fernandes and Provost Chris Bracey were also spotted.

Updated: 7:30 p.m. — GW releases statement

GW sent The Hatchet a statement at 7:28 p.m.:

“As we said earlier, the encampment is an unauthorized use of university space and violates several university policies. The university and MPD are continuing to work in coordination to determine how to best address the situation and ensure student compliance with those policies.”

Officials initially set a 7 p.m. deadline for protesters to close the encampment in U-Yard.

Updated: 7:22 p.m. — Crowd shifts in U-Yard

Organizers directed the crowd to surround the encampment, which is on the northern end U-Yard. The crowd had drifted into the center of U-Yard and is now filling the northern half.

Hundreds of demonstrators are now filtering into the encampment and making a human barricade at least five people wide in most directions.

Updated: 7:18 p.m. — Medic tent

A medic tent has been set up at the entrance to the encampment to provide water, masks, hand sanitizer and antibiotic cream for protesters. About five medics are in the tent including at least two medics from the D.C. street medic collective.

Updated: 7:15 p.m. — Protest continues

No police are visible as the protest flies past the 7:00 p.m. deadline set by GW officials. Activists continue to speak to the crowd.

More people have trickled in, organizers are filtering through the crowd with snacks, and passersby are watching from across H Street.

Updated: 7:00 p.m. — GW’s deadline to remove encampment arrives

It’s 7 p.m., the deadline GW officials set for the encampment. Police are still stationed near campus but have yet to make further movement toward U-Yard. Protesters, though, are not filing out.

A student speaker said arrests and disciplinary proceedings “ignite the flame” for justice.

Updated: 6:52 p.m. — Geismar asks officials to not use police to remove protesters

Outgoing Student Government Association President Arielle Geismar said she urges GW administrators not to use violence or actionable force by allowing either GWPD or MPD to forcibly remove students. She said students in encampments across the country have been “brutalized” and she is “extremely” worried for the safety of GW’s students should force be used.

Incoming SGA President Ethan Fitzgerald and outgoing SGA Vice President Demetrius Apostolis declined to comment.

Updated: 6:47 p.m. — Crowd grows as deadline nears

The U-Yard crowd has swelled as more demonstrators spill into the yard, including a group of SJP members from American University. An accurate count is difficult, but it appears there might be more than 500 people in the yard now. Speakers are taking turns delivering speeches, as organizers set up speakers in the middle of the crowd. The protest has only gained momentum as officials’ 7 p.m. deadline nears.

Update: 6:29 p.m. — GW administrators trickle out of U-Yard 

Despite spending most of the day watching over the encampment from the side, GW administrators have largely left U-Yard as the rally grows.

At about 6:15 p.m., about 45 minutes before officials deadline for demonstrators to relocate, Assistant Dean of Student Life Brian Joyce was seen at the corner of the park. Other administrators like Chief Financial Officer Bruno Fernandes, Provost Chris Bracey and Assistant Vice President for Business Services Seth Weinshel appear to have left U-Yard after much of the day observing the demonstration.    

Update: 5:54 p.m. — Crowd size climbs as officials’ deadline to vacate approaches 

After beginning their encampment at 5 a.m. with about 50 demonstrators, more than 200 occupied Kogan Plaza by noon as students and faculty from Georgetown and American universities joined the protest. 

Now, at about 6 p.m., as classes are dismissed, the number of demonstrators has swelled to more than 400 people stretching the length of U-Yard, including students, faculty and passersby who have joined in the chanting. Officials told demonstrators in an email earlier Thursday they had until 7 p.m. to relocate.

Daniel Heuer | Staff Photographer

Update: 5:51 p.m. — Barricades scattered across campus, restricting Kogan Plaza, walkway access

Officials have erected barricades across campus, placing gates on the north side of U-Yard at the perimeter of the encampments. 

Staff members are weaving a Bobcat forklift through campus to transport the gates. Metal fences with yellow caution tape stand at the perimeter of Kogan Plaza, stopping anyone from entering or leaving, with the only remaining entrance being the path from H Street to the entrance of Gelman Library. 

“It’s blocked,” one security guard told students attempting to cut through the plaza. 

The shortcut next to the fire department connecting Kogan Plaza to G Street is also blocked with a metal barricade, and yellow caution tape has been fastened between a brick wall and a vending machine. 

Three gates that staff members seemingly placed to block the pathway between 21st Street and U-Yard have now been strewn to the side. 

Arwen Clemans | Staff Photographer

Update: 5:35 p.m. — Protesters distribute a number for legal support

A member of the National Lawyers Guild handed out the group’s jail support number for students planning on remaining in U-Yard through the night.

Update: 5:25 p.m.

The Secret Service officers have biked away.

Update: 5:21 p.m. — Granberg’s absence

Throughout the day, GW’s top administrators have been seen walking around U-Yard and observing the protest from afar, with one exception: University President Ellen Granberg. 

Provost Chris Bracey has intermittently watched from U-Yard. Chief Financial Officer Bruno Fernandes has quietly stood at the back of the plaza. Dean of Students Colette Coleman and Assistant Dean of Student Life Brian Joyce have conversed with leaders of the encampment throughout the day. And GWPD Chief James Tate has met with MPD and GWPD officers in Lisner Hall and observed the demonstration since the morning.

But Granberg, a consistent target of pro-Palestinian student ire, has been missing from the demonstration that has attracted hundreds of students and faculty from the D.C. region. The only indication of Granberg’s role in the University’s handling of the demonstration was an email she co-sent with Bracey to community members at about 2 p.m. 

In the email, she told students she had alerted Metropolitan Police Department officers of an “unauthorized” encampment in U-Yard in violation of “several” University policies. She said some officials have been negotiating with students about their relocation, but as of 5:15 p.m.,  the status of the negotiations are unclear. 

We will also insist that protestors meet their responsibility to university policies that prohibit the disruption of the normal academic activities of our community – the vast majority of whom are not protesting,” the email states.

A University spokesperson didn’t immediately return a request for comment about Granberg’s absence from the demonstration. 

No officials or police are visible outside F Street House, Granberg’s on-campus residence, where protesters have regularly marched this year demanding GW divest from Israel and drop student conduct charges against pro-Palestinian student organizations. 

Granberg’s presence has been sparse at demonstrations surrounding the war in Gaza this academic year, mostly limiting her public appearances to official GW events. Last week, she attended an event with Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) about climate change on Wednesday and the University’s Interfaith Dinner on Thursday. 

Update: 5:17 p.m. — Cyclist Secret Service officers stand on edge of U-Yard

A group of Secret Service officers on bikes are now on the edge of U-Yard, near Samson Hall, observing. A dozen or so more protesters are trickling in from 21st Street. An officer told a student that Secret Service officers were there in case protesters relocated to the White House.

Update: 5:08 p.m. — GW workers field calls from parents

Deepashish Basu, a student working for Campus Living and Residential Education, said the office received at least 10 calls from parents “demanding” the University to remove protestors from their on-campus housing or expel them. He said the calls started around 10 a.m. today. 

“There are some parents that are concerned with the protest going on, saying like they want to access their housing, but are afraid how and they’re checking badges,” Basu said. “Those concerns were understandable, but there are others that took it to extreme measures.”

At Columbia University, officials suspended and revoked the university housing of some student demonstrators whom New York Police Department officers arrested for their pro-Palestinian encampment. 

A University spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Update: 5:06 p.m. — Workers place barricades near Bell Hall

GW workers have placed barricades under the tunnel near Bell Hall — though not fully blocked the path — of one of the main exits for University Yard. Hatchet reporters stationed across Foggy Bottom are reporting that police are driving toward and getting nearer to campus.

Update: 5:01 p.m. — Police move from Constitution Avenue

Thirteen motorcycle officers have left their stations on Constitution Avenue have started moving toward campus. Officers at Pennsylvania Avenue and 22nd Street have entered their vehicles, and are now moving down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Update: 4:26 p.m. — The scene, nearly 12 hours in

As the temperature has cooled through the afternoon, so has the chanting.

The protesters, after hours of chanting and speeches, have quieted down for the last 10 minutes as clouds cover the area. About 200 people are still sitting on the quadrant of U-Yard closest to H Street, and the encampment is growing beyond its original borders into the central parts of the plaza. 

Students are sitting in circles around tents and, working on homework, sharing food, chatting and reading. One group is playing cards. Students are sitting on tarps, blankets and on the grass, most are wearing masks and several have keffiyehs draped over their heads or back. 

A police cruiser, blue lights on, drives by the encampment every few minutes, but the mass pays no mind. 

A Palestinian flag hangs around the neck of the statue of George Washington, who is barely visible through the crowd of tents. Demonstrators set up prayer mats on the northwest corner of the encampment.  

Most of the counterprotesters are gone now, but one man is still waving a tall Israeli flag on the other side of the yard. Most of the media cameras have left as well.

Other organizers are handing out food to fellow activists as a teach-in starts.

After about an hour of quiet, students retook the microphone to begin a teach-in at about 4:30 p.m., as GW officials look on from a distance.

Updated: 4:10 p.m. — Faculty join protesters hand-in-hand

Dozens of faculty members from GW, Georgetown University and the University of Maryland joined hands with their backs to the encampment for about an hour and a half Thursday. 

They join the more than one hundred faculty across the country who have protested hand-in-hand alongside their students for a cease-fire and university divestment from Israel. Faculty, many of them dressed with keffiyehs and graduation regalia, said the students asked them to make the human barricade. 

Professors began their human wall at around noon, but by 4 p.m., the wall had largely dispersed, with a few faculty members remaining to talk to students and media. 

Melani McAlister, a GW professor of American studies and international affairs, held her colleague’s right hand and a banner protesting the war in Gaza.

“I’m here today, the same reason everybody else is because I’ve seen thousands of Palestinian children dead over the last six months, and it keeps on going, and I see my government funding it,” McAlister said. 

She said faculty heard administrators likely would call the police on the students, and that if that is the case, the faculty barrier could help protect the students. 

“The administration at the highest levels is making the decision to not allow the students just to stay,” McAlister said. “If they wanted to let the students stay, they can let the students stay. If they don’t do that, that’s their decision.”

Mark Lance, a Georgetown professor of peace studies, said he’d once spent a semester at a similar encampment as a graduate student where he protested apartheid in South Africa. 

“There’s a genocide happening. And we’re paying for it. Every American taxpayer is paying for it, just as we’ve been paying for apartheid and occupation, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, blockade for decades,” Lance said. “That seems like sufficient reason to be out here to me.”

Daniel Heuer | Staff Photographer

Updated: 4:03 p.m. — Police presence outside campus grows

As chants hushed in U-Yard and protesters lingered in clusters around the encampments, at least 20 Metropolitan Police Department cars and roughly six MPD vans lined the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue between 22nd and 23rd streets around 4 p.m.

More than 70 vehicles are now gathered on Constitution Avenue. 

Demonstrators in U-Yard appear unfazed, despite the lack of chants. 

Officials initially gave the protesters a 7 p.m. deadline to leave — but it’s unclear if or when police may move in, given the proliferation of police nearby.

Kaiden Yu | Staff Photographer

Updated: 3:42 p.m. — Speaker testimonials 

Demonstrators have knelt and sat in the grass around speakers in the middle of the encampment while organizers have taken turns giving speeches on a megaphone to the crowd. 

After gathering the attention of protesters, organizers asked protesters to answer “What is this movement teaching us?” Many speakers who answered the question did not state their names.

After receiving a megaphone from an organizer, a GW alum who received her doctorate degree from the University and an enrolled member of a Native American tribe, said she worked for the GW Hillel around the year 2017, and has since decided she can not support the organization.

“If I was having any doubts about distancing myself from Zionists, it was actually the bombardment and nonstop bombs of the Palestinian people that totally switched me and a lot of other people who are on the fence,” the protester said. 

A member of the DC Alliance against Racists & Political Repression spoke next, who said “solidarity and organization” is fundamental to organizing.

“The number one thing you can do is follow the experienced organizers who have been leading this struggle for decades and have the knowledge of people who have been in this struggle for decades,” the protester said.

A GW faculty member received the megaphone next, who said faculty and staff are inspired by the demonstration. The faculty member said students must leverage the economic power they hold over the University.

“We need to start exerting this economic power on these universities so they remember who they serve,” the faculty member said. 

An 88-year-old Holocaust survivor then took the megaphone to express her support for the encampment, adding that she has experienced treatment similar to Palestinians in Gaza. 

“I am here because I experienced, as a child, every single thing that a Gazan child is experiencing on a daily basis, including the loss of my family, including war, firebombing, and you name it,” the woman said.

Updated: 3:14 p.m. — Student reactions

Community members stopped by the encampment to participate and observe the current activities throughout the day.

“This is pretty phenomenal,” junior Liam Pierce, a political science major, said.

Pierce said he’s seen similar protests at other colleges “get antisemitic,” but did not see any of that at the demonstration. He added he was “excited” to see people standing up for Palestine. 

A student in the School of Media & Public Affairs, who requested anonymity due to privacy concerns, said she came to the demonstration because today is Freedom Day in Portugal to celebrate the country’s freedom from dictatorship and as someone who is Portuguese, she believes in peaceful protests.

“That’s why I’m here today,” the student said. “I actually have a final in 20 minutes – I think – but I needed to be here and to support my fellow peers.”

Kamau Louis, a GW alum, said he currently lives in D.C. and visited the encampment to support his friends who currently attend the University. He said student activism has always been one of the “incubators of change” throughout the country’s history, referencing the Civil Rights movement. 

“It’s always important to stay active, to advocate and especially critically think about these issues in many ways because a lot of people like to say that the conflict overall is complicated, but what we can all agree on is the slaughter of innocent people, especially children is not and that’s why we need to stand up and do what we are doing today,” Louis said.

Updated: 3:09 p.m. — Messages from students in Gaza 

Just after 2 p.m., demonstrators played live messages from students currently living in Gaza into a megaphone. 

“We have a live message from a student in Gaza who wants to tell us about their support. They see us. They see us. This is important,” the demonstrator playing the recording said. 

In the first message, a student thanked the chapters of SJP from schools around the District and the Student Coalition for Palestine at GW for hosting the demonstration and expressed appreciation for students calling on government officials for an immediate ceasefire. The student in Gaza said they hope there will be a ceasefire soon as a result of student actions.

“Thank you for your solidarity to imagine how the effects of the government have here in Gaza,” the student on the recording said. 

A message from a second student thanked students for “putting themselves on the line for Gaza.” The student on the recording warned the crowd to not be deceived by “Israeli propaganda” which they said is “distorting the truth to make it vague and unclear.”

“You are our voice out there and we cannot in this world or return to our rightful rise without your help,” the student in Gaza said through the recording. “We see you and we are proud of every one of you. Thank you.” 

Updated: 3:03 p.m. — Police meet in Lisner Hall

Police officers have covered up the window of a Lisner Hall study room where leaders had been meeting earlier this afternoon. 

A group of about eight officers from GWPD and the Metropolitan Police Department were gathered in the first-floor seminar room earlier.

Updated: 2:53 p.m. —Counterprotesters wave Israeli, American flags

Starting about 1:30 p.m., five students lined up in front of Lisner Hall on the south side of University Yard, unfurling two Israeli flags and an American flag. 

Kieran Laffey, a GW first-year who was holding an Israeli flag, said although he’s Catholic, he decided to attend the protest to support his Jewish friends. He said he came to stand against chants like “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which he said calls for the “genocide of Jews.”

Many pro-Palestinian protesters see the chant to be a call for independence, but other Israeli and Jewish people see it as an antisemitic call for the elimination of Israel. 

“I’m here to support them and really try to help them get through these dark times, because it’s definitely scary times ahead as well,” Laffey said.

Across the street, representatives of Chabad GW stood behind a table outside of the School of Media & Public Affairs offering students merchandise like pens, notebooks and water bottles. A representative from the organization said they aimed to maintain a Jewish presence on campus and let Jewish students know that they’re safe. 

The representative said the students holding the flags were representing their own views and not representing Chabad GW.

Updated 2:28 p.m. — Members of public access U-Yard

Despite earlier comments that the Foggy Bottom campus would be limited to GW community members, officials have seemingly allowed public access to U-Yard. 

In a joint statement at about 2:16 p.m., University President Ellen Granberg and Provost Chris Bracey said the University would not allow unaffiliated members on campus.

As of 2:27 p.m., several members of the press are here, including reporters from the BBC and Washington Post. Unaffiliated individuals are also wandering around the encampment, with some joining with chants from the outskirts or recording the encampment on their phones.

Updated: 2:22 p.m. — Granberg releases statement

University President Ellen Granberg said GW requested the assistance of MPD to relocate the encampment in a statement released at 2:16 p.m. 

Provost Chris Bracey co-signed the statement.

“The encampment, unlike some demonstrations in the past, is an unauthorized use of university space at this location and violated several university policies,” Granberg and Bracey said in the email. “The decision to request MPD assistance came after multiple instructions made by GWPD to relocate to an alternative demonstration site on campus went unheeded by encampment participants.”

Granberg and Bracey said the University will allow “community members to freely express their views” but requested protesters avoid disrupting academic activities. 

“Occupying campus grounds, establishing outdoor encampments, and blocking access to buildings create safety concerns and can disrupt learning and study, especially during this critical final exam period,” the email said. “Such activities are inconsistent with the University’s mission, values, and commitment to providing a safe environment for all students and employees.”

Granberg and Bracey said the University will not allow non-GW affiliated individuals “to trespass on our campus.” The University “can and will enforce the time, place, and manner restrictions that continue to govern activities on our campus,” she said.

Here is the full message:

Dear Members of the George Washington University Community,

 Today, we requested the assistance of DC Metropolitan Police to relocate an unauthorized protest encampment on the University Yard. The encampment, unlike some demonstrations in the past, is an unauthorized use of university space at this location and violated several university policies. The decision to request MPD assistance came after multiple instructions made by GWPD to relocate to an alternative demonstration site on campus went unheeded by encampment participants.

The George Washington University will continue to uphold the right of all our community members to freely express their views and to foster dialogue in a way that models productive disagreement. We will also insist that protestors meet their responsibility to university policies that prohibit the disruption of the normal academic activities of our community – the vast majority of whom are not protesting.

Occupying campus grounds, establishing outdoor encampments, and blocking access to buildings create safety concerns and can disrupt learning and study, especially during this critical final exam period. Such activities are inconsistent with the university’s mission, values, and commitment to providing a safe environment for all students and employees.As we have always done, we will allow GW students an appropriate place for their protest within the defined limits of free expression at GW. However, we will not allow students from other local colleges or unaffiliated individuals to trespass on our campus. We can and will enforce the time, place, and manner restrictions that continue to govern activities on our campus.

Updated: 2:07 p.m. — Officials cancel planned campus safety meeting

Officials canceled the Campus Safety Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for 6 p.m., according to a 1:26 p.m. email sent to members of the committee. 

Kathleen Fox, the assistant vice president of University resilience and an ex-officio committee member, said in an email to committee members officials will do their “best” to reschedule the meeting before the end of the semester. The committee, formed alongside last year’s announcement that GWPD officers would be armed, will provide recommendations on campus safety.

“With the events on campus today, many of the personnel involved in the meeting will not be able to attend,” she said in the email. 

The committee is chaired by Interim Vice President for Safety and Facilities Baxter Goodly and also includes five faculty, students, staff members, one community member and five ex-officio administrators. 

Updated: 1:50 p.m. — MPD gathering

A group of about eight officers from GWPD and the Metropolitan Police Department are gathering in a seminar room in Lisner Hall, which is located right off U-Yard.

Kaiden Yu | Staff Photographer

Updated 1:44 p.m. — Here’s what the protesters are chanting:

As throngs of protesters from across the D.C. region join the pro-Palestinian encampment and protests in University Yard, chants for a cease-fire and accountability from University officials have rumbled from the crowds as they enter their eighth hour of protest. 

Between the sounds of drums, a tuba and widespread applause, here are the calls the hundreds of protesters have joined in this afternoon:

  • “Disclose, divest, we will not stop we will not rest”
  • “Free, Free Palestine”
  • “Christy, Christy, you can’t hide. You endanger students too”
  • “Coleman, Coleman, we know you, you endanger students too”
  • “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”
  • “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go”
  • “Free our prisoners, free them all, break their chains and let them fall”
  • “We will honor all our martyrs, all our children, sons and daughters”
  • “There is only one solution, intifada revolution”
  • “From the sea to the river, Palestine will live forever”
  • “Till you divest, we will not rest”
  • “Who keeps us safe? We keep us safe”
  • “Down, down with occupation. Up, up with liberation”
  • “We will free Palestine within our lifetime”
  • “MPD, KKK, IOF – they’re all the same”
  • “Revolution, revolution, revolution”

Updated 1:31 p.m. — GW Law moves exams

GW Law officials are relocating law students who are taking their final exams Thursday, citing noise concerns from the pro-Palestinian encampment protest in University Yard. 

In a video sent to law school students, Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew told students taking final exams on Thursday that they would be relocated to undisclosed locations. She said students who could be relocated would receive an email from the records or the dean of student offices about their new testing location. 

Students have received emails telling them to move their finals to buildings like the Law Learning Center in Potomac Square and upper floors of Stockton Hall, which is next to U-Yard. 

Bowen Matthew said law students’ safety was not at risk. The protest has been peaceful, with the only exchanges being between pro-Israel counterprotesters yelling toward the encampment demonstrators, who have seemingly ignored them. 

“Now let me emphasize, there is nothing threatening your safety that is going on at this moment, but yet you our primary concern. To protect your safety and the integrity of our academic program we will relocate student final exams”

The University said in a statement that U-Yard was previously reserved and unavailable for demonstrations, adding that law students are taking their final exams. Officials told the encampment residents to disperse by 7 p.m.

Updated: 1:26 p.m. — MPD officers congregate on Constitution Avenue

A large group of Metropolitan Police Department officers have gathered on Constitution Avenue, south of the Foggy Bottom Campus. 

At least 35 MPD vehicles line the street south of Foggy Bottom, and an officer there said the police were there because of the encampment. The officer did not say when or if they would come to campus. 

An MPD spokesperson said the department has not received a 911 call from a student or community member worried about an incident on campus. The spokesperson deferred comment on whether the University requested MPD officers to come to campus to GW officials. 

“Unless the campus calls themselves to have MPD back them up, we wouldn’t know to go,” the spokesperson said.

One van reads “truancy/curfew enforcement” on its side. Many motorcycle officers are also gathered, and officers are milling about.

Kaiden Yu | Staff Photographer

Updated: 1:16 p.m. — Officials close campus rooftops

Community coordinators for Mitchell Hall and 1959 E Street closed the rooftops for the two residence halls from 2:30 to 9 p.m.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but your safety and comfort are our top priorities,” Mitchell Hall Community Coordinator Jonathan Irias-Puerto said in the email. “During this time, we kindly ask that you refrain from accessing the rooftop area.”

Pro-Palestinian protesters hung a giant Palestinian flag from the roof of 1959 E Street — the residence hall next to the Elliott School of International Affairs — earlier this month.

Updated: 1:10 p.m. — Chabad GW sets up table near protest

Chabad GW set up a table across the street from U-Yard handing out branded bags and notebooks. Junior Ari Patinkin, the president of Chabad GW, said the group was there to show that they would not tolerate antisemitism and that the groups could coexist. He said the group plans to be there as long as they can be. 

“We are here to show that Judaism will not be sequestered on this campus and we are here to promote Judaism and show Jews that we can be anywhere and still be safe,” he said.

Lexi Critchett | Staff Photographer

Updated: 1:03 p.m. — Officers remove Palestinian flag hanging from Samson Hall

GWPD officers removed a Palestinian flag from the window of Samson Hall, which faces U-Yard, according to a member of the Geography Department. 

It’s unclear who placed the flag in the window at about noon, but officers removed the flag about 30 minutes later. The source said police took the flag and asked who had placed it.

Updated 12:30 p.m. — Protests at Georgetown begin

The Georgetown University protesters began demonstrating outside Georgetown’s Healy Hall at about 10:30 a.m., according to The Hoya. The group began to leave the Georgetown campus at about 11:20 a.m.

Updated 12:26 p.m. — Georgetown protesters arrive

More than 120 students, faculty and staff from Georgetown marched to GW from their campus to join the protest in U-Yard at about 12:07 p.m. 

“Palestine will be free,” the groups shouted as they approached the GW encampment. “There is only one solution, intifada revolution.” 

When the wave of demonstrators arrived, GW student demonstrators rejoiced with yells of support. Many of them embraced, other wiped away tears. The arrival of the group meant the size of the encampment tripled in minutes. 

The demonstrators were first seen passing the Milken Institute School of Public Health outside Washington Circle. The march then proceeded down H Street into U-Yard. 

More than 200 demonstrators are now rallying at the north end of U-Yard. They clapped together, one student banged drums as they crowd chanted along. 

Georgetown anthropology professor Lauri King said that between 25 and 30 Georgetown faculty attended a rally earlier this morning at the gates of Georgetown. King, who is wearing her regalia, said she and other faculty are wearing the garb as a reminder that the Israeli military has bombed every university in Gaza.

Hundreds more onlookers have now made their way into U-Yard.

Daniel Heuer | Staff Photographer

Updated: 12:22 p.m. — Campus enters GWorld “Safety mode”

Officials will restrict access to campus buildings to community members with regular GWorld access in response to pro-Palestinian protests and encampments in University Yard, according to a campus alert Thursday afternoon. 

A GW Alert stated the Foggy Bottom Campus, except the University Student Center, would enter GWorld Safety mode, automatically locking all GWorld readers and requiring community members who “normally” already have access to certain buildings to tap to enter. The alert advises people not to admit “unknown persons” who do not have access to buildings and report unauthorized access or suspicious activity.

Community members can exit buildings at any time.

Sage Russell | Assistant Photo Editor

Updated 12:01 p.m. — Inside the encampment

About six hours into the protest, more than 100 students have made their way into the encampment where more than a dozen tents encircle the George Washington statue on the north side of University Yard. 

Inside the encampment, students are wearing masks and keffiyehs white sitting in tents and on blankets and mats in the grass. Some students are talking amongst each other while others rally on the sidewalk north of U-Yard. 

Extension cords stretched across the ground, connecting to students’ laptops. In the center of the encampment, a porta-shade tent draped with Palestinian flags covers a folding table of food and drinks. Boxes of doughnuts, fruit snacks, chips and water bottles spilled over onto the ground, and students filter in and out of the encampment to offer packs of water bottles and extra food to the demonstrators. A bathroom tent is set up on the corner of the encampment with several buckets around it. 

Many of the tents are filled with sleeping bags and mats, an indication that students likely plan to stay here past officials’ 7 p.m. deadline. 

Lexi Critchett | Staff Photographer

Some students are perched along the outskirts of the encampment, wearing neon safety vests to demarcate themselves as safety and media liaisons to others in the encampment. At one corner of U-Yard, a security guard asked passerby to show their GW ID. 

Dozens of onlookers are standing around U-Yard taking videos. GW Police Department officers are huddled together watching the demonstration. GW officials are also in and out of the demonstration. Provost Chris Bracey, who initially was at the protest then returned about 30 minutes later with a to-go bag from Tatte Bakery & Cafe. 

A study group for a Freedom of American Thought class sat in a discussion circle a few dozen feet away from the encampment, with students sitting with their notebooks and laptops out. One of the students said the group elected to move their circle outside today.

Someone inside Samson Hall, next to the encampment, hung a Palestinian flag from the window. It’s one of the many flags throughout the demonstration.

Sage Russell | Assistant Photo Editor

Updated 11:51 a.m. — GW Hillel releases statement, offers space to law students

GW Hillel posted a statement to Instagram shortly after 11 a.m. saying Hillel staff members were “closely monitoring” the protests in U-Yard, which they said are a part of a “growing and deeply troubling pattern” emerging on college campuses across the country. The statement outlined Hillel’s continued support for Jewish students, as Passover celebrations take place throughout the week. 

“We say unequivocally that no student’s rights to be safe, to pursue their education, and to be proud Jews should be compromised in response to another student’s actions,” the statement said. “When a cause aligns with terrorist organizations taking pride in these protests and actions, and when language calls for violence against an entire religion and people — this is not a fight for justice, but it is an embrace of hate.”

The statement said that law students seeking a quiet place to study may use the GW Hillel building on 23rd Street. 

“Many came to GW to be in the heart of American power — to pursue changemaking, thoughtful dialogue, productive discomfort, and classrooms for critical thinking,” the statement said. “We pray that our university will continue to live up to this hope.”

Updated 11:45 a.m. — Protesters’ demands

Every 15 to 30 minutes, the chants of the group subside and a speaker presents the group’s demands. 

The demonstrators, during the protest and in posts, said they will only leave University Yard if the following demands are met:

  • Officials must drop disciplinary charges against pro-Palestine student organizers
  • GW must protect pro-Palestine speech on campus
  • GW must divest from companies selling technology and weapons to “the zionist regime”
  • GW must immediately disclose all endowments and investments.
  • GW must end all academic partnerships with Israel

Officials have not commented on whether they will adhere to the demands.

Updated 11:34 a.m. — Local SJP chapters announce 6 p.m. event

The DMV SJP Coalition, a collective of regional SJP chapters, announced a 6 p.m. “All out for DMV SJP!” event. 

The post announcing the event calls on attendees to bring noisemakers to University Yard and said a Maghrib prayer will be held at 8 p.m. Officials have said the protesters must leave at 7 p.m.

“Students are calling on the DMV community of conscience to rally in full force at 6 pm today at George Washington University Yard to protect our students as they take a principled stand for Gaza!,” the post reads.

Lexi Critchett | Staff Photographer

Updated 11:25 a.m. — Faculty join the demonstration

About ten faculty members from GW and the University of Maryland joined the protest at about 11:15 a.m. 

“UMD faculty in the house, GW faculty in the house, faculty that care to protect their students in the house,” a demonstrator shouted. 

At encampments around the country, some faculty have followed their students in protests against their universities and the war in Gaza. At Columbia, more than a hundred faculty walked out of their classes in support of the student protesters. At New York University, faculty joined arms to protect students as New York Police Department officers arrested about 100 students and 20 faculty. 

It’s unclear if more faculty plan to join the encampment on Thursday.

Updated 11:22 a.m. — Congressman tweets disapproval

Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), a GW alum, condemned the protest on X, formerly Twitter, Thursday morning.

“Alumni will never allow that to happen,” Moskowitz said in a quote tweet of a picture of the encampment.

Moskowitz was one of a group of GW alumni in Congress who demanded an investigation after members of SJP projected anti-Israel messages onto Gelman Library in October.

Updated 11:09 a.m. — GWPD officers remove pro-Israel counterprotester

GWPD officers removed a pro-Israel counterprotester holding a small flag of Israel in the air from U-Yard at around 9:59 a.m. The counterprotester repeatedly pushed a GWPD officer who was attempting to separate the protesters as he confronted pro-Palestinian demonstrators standing on the sidewalk at the perimeter of U-Yard. The protester shouted “against terror more peace” as he was taken away. 

It was unclear whether the counterprotester was a student.  

GWPD officers escorted the counterprotester into Corcoran Hall, ultimately letting them go and asking them to stop escalating the demonstration.  

Officials issued a campus advisory just after 10:30 a.m. alerting community members of “First Amendment activity” occurring in U-Yard. The email stated that students are permitted to demonstrate until 7 p.m. and will then be required to take down the tents. 

Florence Shen

You can read the original post here: 

More than 50 pro-Palestinian students pitched tents in University Yard beginning at about 5 a.m. Thursday, joining a movement of encampments at more than a dozen universities nationwide.

Students are demanding that GW divests from companies tied to Israel, drop the alleged charges against pro-Palestinian student organizers and disclose all its endowments and investments. The protest is the latest in a series of pro-Palestinian encampments at college campuses across the country after the arrest of more than 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators at Columbia University last week, with many students demanding their schools end financial ties to Israel and weapons manufacturers.

“We demand each of our universities to divest from any business that aids the ongoing genocide of Palestinians with arms or technology while at the same time disclosing all endowments and investments immediately,” a student at the encampment said, who did not provide their identity due to concerns for their safety.

The DMV Coalition of Students for Justice in Palestine organized the coalition with students from GW and other universities in the D.C. area like George Mason University, American University, Georgetown University, University of Maryland, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Howard University and Gallaudet University helped organize the encampment, according to a post on the SJP Instagram page.

Student protesters deferred requests for comment to a media liaison at the event. The coalition did not immediately return a request for comment.

“We will not stop. We will not rest. Disclose. Divest,” student demonstrators chanted.

The Israeli military has killed more than 34,000 people in Gaza, according to the Associated Press, two-thirds of them women and children. Those still living in Gaza are facing an imminent famine as they struggle to receive aid due to Israel’s blockade on the strip.

GW Police Department officers and other University officials arrived at the encampment this morning to confirm that all participants are GW students and explain University policies, according to a GW statement at 9:50 a.m. Demonstrators will be required to remove tents and disperse at 7 p.m., per the statement.

Officials told demonstrators that U-Yard was “previously reserved” and protesters are not permitted to occupy the space, that GW Law final exams are taking place in buildings on the outskirts of U-Yard and officials prohibit overnight encampments on University property, the statement reads.

“The GW demonstration remains peaceful; however, there are non-GW individuals on public property and the university is coordinating with D.C. Metropolitan Police Department,” the statement reads.

GWPD Chief James Tate said officials have offered student protestors a move to Anniversary Park, a fenced-off area on F Street because GW Law students are taking their finals in buildings facing U-Yard. He said officials are “hopeful” that students will agree to relocate.

“We just want to make sure that first amendment activity, demonstrations, always important. That it’s part of the fabric of GW,” Tate said. “But we also have to be mindful of the fact that we have students who are taking finals, and so this is disruptive.”

The encampment at GW comes after six months of student protests for the University to cut alleged financial ties with Israel, which began with projections of divestment calls onto the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library on Oct. 25.

Encampments have spread throughout the United States, with students at the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard College and Yale and New York University. Organized by the DMV Coalition for Justice in Palestine, the encampment is the first to be set up in D.C.

Students in the encampment began chanting at about 7 a.m., calling for divestment from Israel with chants of “It is our right to rebel, divest now or go to hell.”

Students then directed protest calls toward Dean of Students Colette Coleman, chanting “Shame on you” and “Coleman, Coleman we know you, you endanger students too.” Demonstrators unveiled two banners, reading “End the siege on Gaza” and “Drop defense.”

Members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation joined the demonstration from outside the U-Yard on H Street at around 7:30 a.m.

Coleman and Assistant Dean of Student Life Brian Joyce arrived at the encampment before 7 a.m. Other officials like Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities Christy Anthony, Provost Chris Bracey, Assistant Director of Student Involvement David Bonilla-Ciferri and members of GW Media Relations were present at the encampment throughout the morning.

When Anthony arrived around 8:25 a.m., students chanted “Christy, Christy you can’t hide, you endanger students too.” Students also chanted “Coleman Coleman we know you, you endanger students too.”

At around 8:48 a.m., students began chanting “The more they try to silence us the louder they will be.”

Dara Orenstein — an associate professor of American Studies, and a member of the GW and DMV faculty for academic freedom — said she joined the encampment because she is excited that the students have mobilized in this way and wants to support “as much as possible.”

Sean Blackmon — a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation who are congregating outside the U-Yard on H Street — said the group is responding to the students’ call for community support for the encampment. He said PSL’s goal is to back the students following “attacks” on student movements like police arresting those in university encampments.

“The students have clearly been pulling strength from the movement and we are here to support that,” Blackmon said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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