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The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Three alumni join Board of Trustees
By Hannah Marr, News Editor • June 21, 2024

Live coverage: Encampment commences second week after Congress visit, late night rally

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Kaiden J. Yu | Assistant Photo Editor
Kaiden J. Yu | Assistant Photo Editor

The University Yard encampment entered its second week after the demonstration attracted half a dozen politicians and hundreds of protesters to Foggy Bottom in the past seven days.

The roughly 20 tents in U-Yard last Thursday expanded to over 130 tents across U-Yard and H Street by Wednesday, garnering congressional scrutiny over the Metropolitan Police Department’s refusal to sweep the encampment and support from student organizations. Over the past seven days, under rain or shine, protesters chanted, sang songs, taught one another about their cultural traditions and shared stories about loved ones in Gaza under the watch of GW Police Department officers, MPD officers and security guards.

The protest has remained largely peaceful, but spiked in activity Sunday night when protesters dismantled the metal barricades enclosing the U-Yard encampment after an alleged attempted arrest of a student. Officials denied the officer attempted an arrest and said the officer escorted the student out of the encampment after they jumped the barricade.

At 4:35 a.m. Thursday, facilities workers began to move barricades from the pile in the center of U-Yard into a truck on the intersection of G Street and 21st Street near Bell Hall. Organizers sounded a siren from their megaphone to wake protesters before beginning to chant “Free, free Palestine.” A person loading the barricades into the truck said the workers removed them from U-Yard because the barriers are rentals.

Follow along for live updates below:

Kaiden J. Yu | Assistant Photo Editor

Updated: 4:01 a.m. — GWPD officers cut down American and Palestinian flags 

At around 3:25 a.m. about four GWPD officers cut ropes on the two flagpoles in front of Lisner Hall, bringing down the American and Palestinian flags. The officers first cut down the American flag hanging on the left flagpole, and then the Palestinian flag hanging on the right flagpole.

A GWPD officer returned the Palestinian flag to a demonstrator standing at the foot of the steps of Lisner Hall. The demonstrator draped the flag around their shoulders and joined the small group of onlookers who left their tents when the officers cut down the two flags.

The GWPD officers took the American flag inside Lisner Hall at 3:28 a.m.

At around 1 p.m. on Thursday, demonstrators hung the Palestinian flag as a crowd of protesters applauded. GWPD officers removed the flag about ten minutes later, but protesters raised it again at around 1:20 p.m.

GW Media Relations sent a statement to community members at around 7 p.m. on Thursday saying demonstrators “illegally” hung the Palestinian flag and that GWPD officers are investigating the incident.


Updated: 3:13 a.m. — Demonstrators settle in for the night  

The majority of demonstrators have retired to their tents for the night. A few students lay on blankets and mattresses on the grass in University Yard, playing cards.

Three demonstrators are writing “Zionism is terrorism” in yellow and pink chalk on H Street.

Two GWPD officers strolled down the western side of U-Yard holding sugar free Red Bull energy drinks. Two additional officers are sitting on chairs outside of Corcoran Hall, facing the encampment.


Updated 11:50 p.m. — Jewish student organizations announce ‘Walk to Remember’

At about 10:50 p.m. GW’s chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi posted on Instagram announcing a “Walk to Remember” on May 5 in honor of Holocaust and Oct. 7 victims, as well as the 133 hostages held by Hamas. 

The walk is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. at G street park across from Duques Hall. It is in partnership with GW Chabad, Jewish Student Association, Zeta Beta Tau, The Tamid Group, Alpha Epsilon Phi and GW for Israel. 

Yom HaShoah, the Holocaust Day of Remembrance, falls on the 27th day of Nisan of the Hebrew calendar. The walk is a yearly event, and last year, more than 30 people joined the silent walk around campus to commemorate the Holocaust victims.


Updated 10:39 p.m. — Film screening

At about 10:25 p.m., about 40 people sat at the center of University Yard to watch “Between Two Crossings,” a film about a student struggling to cross borders controlled by Israel and Egypt to leave Gaza to attend university in the United States.


Updated 10:00 p.m. — Contractors replace the boards over Bell Hall doors 

Three facilities contractors removed the boards covering the doors to Bell Hall around 9:30 p.m. The doors to the Textile Museum and Corcoran, Lisner, Stuart halls and the Burns Law Library remain boarded up.

At about 9:55 p.m., the contractors returned to replace the boards over the doors to Bell Hall.


Updated 8:39 p.m. — Demonstrators study for finals

An organizer encouraged protesters to take a break to study for final exams. 

“We understand this is a stressful time for everybody,” the organizer said.


Updated 7:59 p.m. — University condemns ‘aggressive act of lawlessness’ in flag hoisting

GW Media Relations issued a statement shortly after 7 p.m. saying the GW Police Department is investigating protesters’ hoisting of a large Palestinian flag onto the Lisner Hall flagpole this afternoon, which they say was done “illegally.”

The statement says officers attempting to prevent the hoisting of the flag “were forced to withdraw” when the crowd began chanting “hostile” phrases in order to “prevent further escalation of a volatile situation.” The statement says GWPD is investigating the incident. 

“We emphatically condemn this aggressive act of lawlessness,” the statement reads. “GWPD officers have worked around the clock to ensure our GW community’s safety, and we are grateful for their efforts to keep our campus safe and secure.”

Before officers withdrew, protesters chanted phrases like “IOF, KKK, MPD, they’re all the same” and “Move cops, get out the way,  we know you’re Israeli trained.” 

The statement is some of the most aggressive wording the University has used to address the encampment. A Monday statement referred to the tearing down of the barricades closing off U-Yard as “an egregious violation of community trust.”  


Updated 7:56 p.m. — Encampment under criticism from GOP after congressional visit

The Republican Party posted a photo of the raised Palestinian Flag outside Lisner Hall on X, formerly known as Twitter, at 6:33 p.m. The image was next to a photo of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students helping raise an American flag Tuesday after it was replaced with a Palestinian Flag and included the statement “We stand with those who raise the American flag, not those who tear it down.” 

The Connecticut Republican Party posted a photo at about 6:00 p.m. of the George Washington statue at the entrance to U-Yard wrapped with a Palestinian flag and keffiyeh. The post said college protests against Israel’s war in Gaza are “anti-American.”

“This is what protesters have done to the statue of our first president on George Washington University’s campus,” the post reads. “These protests aren’t just antisemitic – they are blatantly anti-American.”

Meghan McCain, the oldest daughter of former U.S. Senator John McCain, also made a post at 1:25 p.m. with a photo of the statue now and before the encampment. The post said former President Donald Trump could use the image of the statue as a political weapon.

This image is Trumps most powerful attack ad – handed to him on a silver platter by radical progressives,” McCain said in the post.The posts come a day after members of the House Oversight Committee including Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) and Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), William Timmons (R-SC), Byron Donalds (R-FL) and Eric Burlison (R-MO) met with GW officials and walked through the encampment. The representatives called for officials and police to shut down the encampment.


Updated 7:21 p.m. — Finals study break

At about 7:15 p.m., an organizer said over the speakerphone that they would take a 40-minute break to study for finals.


Updated 6:56 p.m. — Anti-abortion agitator clashes with demonstrators

An anti-abortion outside agitator entered the encampment just before 6 p.m. and began speaking against abortion and about “the word of God” through a megaphone.

Interrupting the pro-Palestinian demonstrators’ teach-in about Hamas and the state of Israel, the individual continued to chant as demonstrators circled around him and held up keffiyehs to cover the man’s face and voice. 

They soon began chanting and drumming to cover the individual’s own chants with pro-Palestinian calls.

“Justice is our demand, no peace on stolen land,” protesters chanted.

“The love of Jesus, hallelujah,” the man responded. 

The crowd of demonstrators surrounding the individual amassed to roughly 50 protesters as demonstrators linked arms around him and continued to chant. The man attempted to pull the keffiyehs around his face down. 

At about 6:20 p.m., the anti-abortion protester retreated to H Street, and the swarm of demonstrators followed him down the block.

The protester climbed onto the wall bordering the encampment and spoke through his megaphone. Encampment organizers urged the crowd surrounding the individual not to touch him or push him down from the wall, and asked them to return to the chants in the center of U-Yard. 

“I want you to be converted,” the anti-abortion protester said. 

“We don’t want to be converted, man,” one demonstrator replied. 

Within the encampment, a group of more than 50 demonstrators continued chants like “Granberg, Granberg, go to hell” as the man continued speaking to the crowd outside. 

He left the encampment around 7:10 p.m.


Updated 6:09 p.m. — Bracey: final exams period ‘proceeding as planned’

Provost Chris Bracey said in an email to students Thursday evening that final exams taking place in Bell, Corcoran, Lisner, and Samson halls, as well as the Media and Public Affairs Building will be relocated to ensure a “quiet environment” during testing.

Bracey said the final examination period will proceed as scheduled, and reiterated that the safety and security of students, faculty and staff remain the University’s “top priority.” The final examination period is set to begin Saturday and end May 10.

Bracey added that students “particularly affected by recent events” may wish to speak with their advisers or undergraduate or graduate deans who are in the “best position” to advise students on the challenges they may be facing. He also encouraged students to utilize University mental health resources, like assistance from the Counseling and Psychological Services team, during the final exams period. 

“Despite this challenging moment at the end of a busy academic year, I encourage you to remain focused on your studies and finish the year strong,” Bracey said. “I wish you the best of luck on your final exams.”


Updated 5:47 p.m. — Officials shut down SMPA building

GW Police Department officers placed the Media & Public Affairs building on emergency shutdown Thursday evening, according to students inside the building who were asked to leave by GWPD officers. 

At about 4:30 p.m., students, faculty and staff began streaming out of SMPA’s building on the corner of H and 21st streets, across from the encampment. 

GWPD officers approached people inside the building saying they had to leave immediately, some citing concerns over vandalism, others that non-affiliated GW individuals had gone inside the building. 

In an email obtained by The Hatchet and sent to College of Professional Studies faculty and staff who work in SMPA said the building would be closed “effective immediately.” The alert comes after GW facilities workers boarded the doors of the buildings surrounding U-Yard last night. 

In the short email, CPS Dean Liesl Riddle said the University had “just informed” the college about the building’s closure, and there will be no GWorld tap access, even to people who normally have access. 

“They are going to sweep the building, and all individuals (including faculty, staff and students) within the building will need to leave,” Riddle wrote in the email. 

Riddle said CPS faculty and staff will be provided with additional information or updates on the entry status of SMPA as soon as possible.

Since Sunday, the University has been placed on safety mode, restricting GWorld tap access throughout the Foggy Bottom campus to cardholders who normally have access. Barricades also continue to block entry to Kogan Plaza, and the revolving doors on Gelman Library have been locked, making the building only accessible with tap access. 

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

This post was updated to include information from an email sent by College of Professional Studies Dean Liesl Riddle at 7:13 p.m.


Updated 5:44 p.m. — Protesters listen to speaker from Black advocacy organization 

At about 4:40 p.m. organizers started a conversation with a speaker from Pan-African Community Action, a D.C.-based grassroots Black advocacy organization, about the gentrification and oppression against Black people in D.C.

The speaker spoke to students about what the organization stands for, including a unified Africa under one socialist government, empowering people of African descent in the U.S. and intersectionality. He said a motto the group follows is “unity presupposes organization,” a phrase first said by first President of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah, and recommended students use this mentality when advocating for Palestine. 

“If you’re just a student out here and you’re mobilizing, and you are sitting in, this is great,” the speaker said. “But the next step is to try to join an organization, join a revolutionary organization, don’t join an organization that’s fighting for a little reform here and there.”

The speaker then said there is a difference between power and influence. He asked the audience what they thought power meant. 

“The ability to create or change the system,” one student said. 

The speaker said power is the ability to enact an idea and the capacity to protect the outcome of that idea. He said influence is more limited and is the ability to impact the power structure. 

“What we need to do is organize that so that it can be sustained,” the speaker said. “Because once you’re gone, once you get a job, even if we win today, who says they won’t start funding settler colonialism tomorrow.” 

The speaker then connected the forces driving the police and those driving the “Zionist regime.” He said gentrification committed by the police in D.C is a similar type of violence that we see against Palestinians. 

“They use violence, they use the state to repress large swaths of our population,” the speaker said.

The speaker then spoke about gentrification in D.C. He said D.C. used to be a majority Black city, but the police and government incentivized gentrification to drive poorer minority communities out to make room for more wealthy, white residents.

“We see gentrification as a poverty-inducing form of development,” the speaker said. “In other words, while creating opportunities for the gentry and for a small group, it by necessity creates homelessness and poverty and miserable conditions for working poor in Africa.” 

The speaker said the police and government use rising crime rates among these poorer communities as an excuse for clearing minority communities out, but he said many of these crime statistics are made up and over-exaggerated to fear monger against minority populations. 

“The police are trying to clean up community image, protecting increased property value,” the speaker said. “This means harassing and issuing tickets and other minor violations to work with people criminalizing and saddling them into debt.” 

The speaker ended his remarks with a series of chants, encouraging the audience to get louder by saying for the audience to “give Fox News something to talk about.” 

“Glory,” the speaker shouted.

“To the martyrs!” the audience replied. 

Organizers then set up an audience Q&A with the speaker and another member of Pan-African Community Action. One audience member asked the speaker to speak about the recent “drug free zones” that have popped up in the city. The speaker referenced another talk they will be giving tomorrow in the encampment about Crime Bills. He said the drug free zones are supposed to make the “gentry” more “comfortable.” 

“This is natural for under settler colonialism for Black people, especially the working class, for their rights to be suspended,” the speaker said. 

Another audience member asked how they can encourage their Black friends to join the liberation movements for other oppressed groups while still trying to gain their own freedom. A second speaker said the same forces are driving the oppression of all of these groups, citing the similar apartheid regimes in South Africa and Israel.  

“We have the same enemy,” the speaker said. 


Updated 4:23 p.m. — Demonstrators write out scheduled programming for the day

At the center of University Yard there is a whiteboard sign that outlines the scheduled programming for the remainder of Thursday. 

At 4:30 p.m., A teach-in talk on the History of D.C. and GW’s Housing Crisis.

At 5 p.m., Asr Prayer. 

At 7 p.m., Gaza Monologues and Gaza Passages. 

At 8 p.m., Maghreb Prayer.

The board states that programming at 9 p.m. is yet to be determined.

At 9:30 p.m., Isha Prayer. 

At 10 p.m., A film screening of “Between Two Crossings.” 


Updated 3:39 p.m. — Protesters write letters to Palestinians

At about 3:10 p.m. protesters gathered in the center of U-Yard to write letters to Palestinians in Gaza. 

“I need every single student out here, in the center,” an organizer said. “We’re going to all participate today.”

Students supplied their own writing utensils while organizers handed out sheets of printer paper. Demonstrators sat on the brick to write, some using cardboard signs as a writing surface. 

An organizer advised demonstrators to write about their own interests and keep letters supportive and respectful. 


Updated 3:37 p.m. — Encampment garden 

Protesters planted a garden at the north end of U-Yard, growing flowers like poppies and lavender and herbs like za’atar, mint and parsley. The garden consists of seven round felt planters and two rectangular plastic ones, dotted with labels and three small flags from South Africa, Yemen and Palestine. 


Updated 2:59 p.m. — Thursday afternoon

After a morning in U-Yard filled with rallies, capped off by demonstrators raising a large Palestinian flag above U-Yard, the encampment has quieted down after afternoon prayer. The loudest sounds left now are the birds chirping overhead with the hum of regular chatter. 

Students sit in circles, some talking or with their laptops and phones out. Some members of the public linger through the encampment. Members of the media stand in front of cameras, beaming out their live reports from equipment ranging from thousand-dollar cameras to iPhones mounted on tripods. 

An organizer told attendees over the megaphone that they should zip their tents to prevent people from taking photos of their belongings inside.


Updated 2:06 p.m. — University releases encampment update

GW’s Office of Communications and Marketing released a “Daily Demonstration Update” that recapped Wednesday’s encampment activity and the University’s response. 

The release states that the Office of Emergency Management and GW Police Department are expecting an increase in “pedestrian traffic” and are working with “local and regional public safety organizations” to monitor activity around D.C. 

The release states that facilities workers removed the pile of barricades from the center of U-Yard early Thursday morning “without incident” which demonstrators originally tore down early Monday morning. A worker loading the barricades into a truck said they were removing the barricades because they were rentals. 

“The bike racks were removed to ensure the safety of individuals in and around the encampment,” the release states. 

Buildings remain on GWorld Safety mode — only accessible to those with GWorld card holders — and University Yard and Kogan Plaza remain closed, per the update. Faculty can continue to choose to hold classes on the Foggy Bottom Campus online through Friday, according to an academic operations update in the release. 

The release also has an FAQ section that responds to questions about House Republicans’ visit to the encampment at GW Wednesday and if University President Ellen Granberg has met with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. Six Republican House representatives met with Granberg Wednesday and briefly walked through the encampment, calling on D.C. officials to arrest demonstrators. 

The release states that GW officials informed representatives of the current state of the encampment and GW’s response so far during their meeting. 

“University officials reaffirmed their commitment to the safety of all students, freedom of speech, accountability for those who have violated university policy, and stability on the campus so students can complete their academic requirements and attend their graduation ceremonies,” the release states. 

The release also confirms that Granberg met with Bowser Tuesday to “discuss the situation.” Mayor’s office officials and the Metropolitan Police Department reportedly declined GW’s request to clear the encampment on Friday.

“Since Thursday, April 25, GW and city officials have remained in close contact,” the release states.

The release also includes GW’s Wednesday announcement that MSNBC host and former White House press secretary Jen Psaki would give the keynote address at Commencement on May 19.

“The University remains committed to doing everything possible to ensure our graduating students and their families and friends have the commencement experience they deserve,” the release states. 


Updated 1:40 p.m. — Encampment demonstrators raise Palestinian flag over U-Yard

Just after 1 p.m. demonstrators hung a giant Palestinian flag from the flagpole outside Lisner Hall, as a crowd of protesters erupted in applause. 

The crowd of about 200 protesters gathered at the steps of Lisner, chanting “The people united will never be defeated” as the flag billowed in the wind. 

“I need everybody to get loud, this is a victory,” said an organizer standing near the raised flag.

About 10 minutes later, GW Police Department officers removed the flag from the pole, met with boos and outcries from the crowd. 

“IOF, KKK, MPD, they’re all the same,” demonstrators yelled.

Protesters took the flag and held it up at the steps of Bell Hall, crowding around it as chants continued. Officials boarded the U-Yard entrances to Bell and Lisner halls Wednesday night, which contractors said was a part of previously-scheduled summer renovations. 

After a moment, protesters waved and flapped the flag and moved back toward the flagpole outside of Lisner. GWPD officers and protesters swarmed the foot of the pole, officers attempting to maintain control of the flagpole rope to prevent protesters from raising the flag again. 

At about 1:20 p.m., officers suddenly retreated from the pole, allowing the protesters to raise the flag over University Yard once again. At the base of the flagpole, protesters cheered, smiling as they waved smaller Palestinian flags. 

GWPD officers, including Chief James Tate, watched from outside of Lisner as the flag unfurled and flapped in the wind. A cluster of five GWPD officers, many of whom previously retreated from the flagpole, stood outside Bell Hall. 

“Who got the flag up? We got the flag up,” protesters yelled as some banged on drums and metal pots. “Who got the campus? We got the campus.”

“Are you leaving? We’re not leaving,” they chanted. “Who’s winning? We’re winning.”

Tom Rath | Staff Photographer

Updated 1:02 p.m. — G Street demonstrators rally to support Jewish students

Demonstrators concluded the pro-Israel rally at about 12:30 p.m., playing music while demonstrators trickled out of the G Street Park. 

Lisa Schwartz, an associate professor of biomedical laboratory sciences at GW, said she came to the rally to show Jewish students on campus that there are faculty who support them. Schwartz held a sign during the demonstration reading “Faculty against antisemitism.”

“There are people that maybe haven’t been as vocal as those who recently have been on campus,” Schwartz said. “But we’re here, we care deeply about our students and we are hopeful that the crisis in the Middle East comes to a peaceful end.” 

Taylor Faust, a student at the University of Maryland, said she traveled to GW to support Jewish students and show they are not alone. She said given that the encampment has drawn students from across the District to GW’s campus, she wanted to show her pride in her Jewish identity to help GW students.

“We’re not countering their encampment, which is why we’re not in the same area as their encampment,” Faust said. “But, just with all of the antisemitism going on throughout the country, it’s important to show Jewish students that we’re here to support them.” 

Jewish Student Association Director of Engagement and Inclusion Geena Seflin said in a speech that her grandmother is a Holocaust survivor, which has instilled in her a sense of Jewish pride. She said Jewish people have a shared trauma and history, making them resilient. 

“We must all wear our Jewish identity with pride,” Seflin said. “We must stay strong. And we must always remember Never Again is now.”

Founder and Director of Chabad GW Rabbi Levi Shemtov said he participated in the rally to help all students on campus — especially Jewish students — feel “reinforced” and not alone by affirming the support of GW administrators. He said he has had “many conversations” with administrators and wants Mayor Muriel Bowser to act more “energetically” to clear the campus.

He said he hopes the “extra time” Bowser’s administration takes to clear the encampment is compensated by “great results,” but in the meantime, he said is focused on helping students on campus. 

“We have to find inner strength on the campus,” Shemtov said. “That means encouraging Jewish students and allies to speak out, to show up, to without creating conflicts express their legitimate opinions.”

This post was updated at 2:09 p.m. to include comments from Founder and Director of Chabad GW Rabbi Levi Shemtov.

Lexi Critchett | Assistant Photo Editor

Updated 12:42 a.m. — DMV Students for Justice in Palestine leads H Street rally 

The crowd of pro-Palestinian demonstrators on H Street resumed chanting and drumming after the first round of speakers. 

“Granberg in your ivory tower we the students have the power,” the protesters chanted. 

Protesters clapped along with the calls as two protesters perched on the wall of University Yard waving Palestinian flags. 

“Say it clear and say it loud, Gaza you make us proud,” the crowd called out.

A speaker introduced students from the DMV Students for Justice in Palestine Coalition. One speaker from the coalition said students who were barricaded within U-Yard were forced to endure “unsafe and dehumanizing” conditions for four days. They said students were surveilled, monitored and subjected to “psychological torture” because of threats of arrest waking them up throughout the night.

“Let me be abundantly clear, George Washington University’s administration and police used student health and safety as a bargaining chip to suppress our protest,” the speaker said. 

Another speaker said the University stole their “reclaimed” barricades last night, after students overran the fences containing U-Yard Sunday night and gathered them into a pile at the center of the encampment. 

“We will not rest until we bring President Granberg and the Board of Trustees to their f*cking knees,” the speaker said.

After chanting, protesters began singing Jannah Jannah Ya Watana.


Updated 11:57 a.m. — More than 100 pro-Israel demonstrators rally at G Street Park

Just a block from the crowd of roughly 200 pro-Palestine protesters on H Street, more than 100 pro-Israel demonstrators congregated at the G Street Park across from Duques Hall to rally against the rise in antisemitism on college campuses. 

In conjunction with GW for Israel and GW Jewish Student Association, organizations like the University of Maryland’s Israeli American Council and American University’s Students Supporting Israel collaborated to host the rally. Family members of some of the 133 hostages currently being held by Hamas also attended the event. 

The rally included more than ten speeches from demonstrators calling on the University to address antisemitism on campus and bring awareness to the hostages that have been held in Gaza since October.

“Bring them home,” demonstrators chanted. 

Shani Glassberg, a junior at GW, said at the rally that this year has been extremely difficult for her because she has been forced to confront her pride in her Jewish identity. She said she was forced to move residence halls twice this year because she was “uncomfortable” on a campus that should serve as her home. 

“Walking around campus every day, seeing graffiti, stickers and signs attempting to erase my culture, history and story was mentally taxing to say the least,” Glassberg said. 

Demonstrators sang both the Israeli and American national anthems. 

GW for Israel launched a petition Tuesday asking community members to sign a request for the Metropolitan Police Department to clear pro-Palestinian encampment in University Yard, citing instances of antisemitism and threats of violence against Jewish students. The petition has garnered nearly 2000 signatures since its launch, GWI Vice President Sean Shekhman said Thursday.

GW officials, including Provost Chris Bracey, Chief Financial Officer Bruno Fernandes and Dean of Students Colette Coleman, observed the rally from afar. 


Updated 11:29 a.m— More than 100 pro-Palestinian protesters rally outside U-Yard 

As the “Defend DMV SJP” protest begins on H Street, more than 150 protesters have congregated outside U-Yard. Organizers kicked off the rally with chants like “For Gaza, we will fight, students of the world unite” before introducing the first speaker. 

Sean Blackman, who said he was with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, said the pro-Palestinian movement has faced attacks on the pro-Palestinian movement due to the success of the movement. 

“We have to be very clear about why we’ve seen all of these attacks from some of the most powerful people and platforms and institutions in this country,” Blackman said. “The reason we are being attacked is because we have succeeded in shifting public opinion around the question of Palestine.” 

After another round of chants, School of Media and Public Affairs Professor William Youmans took to the mic to voice his support. Youmans said the faculty is at the encampment to follow the student organizers’ leadership. 

Youmans signed onto a statement penned by GW faculty members calling on the University to rescind suspensions of student protesters, meet with student demonstrators and urge against arrests from Metropolitan Police Department officers.

“To silence those who speak with conscience, you the students, to try to silence that is another crime that I can not stand for,” Youmans said. “And that’s why I’m out here today, and that’s why a lot of faculty are out here today and have been here every day, to follow your leadership because you are the future.”

Students then began chanting, “Free, free Palestine,” “We will honor all our martyrs, all our parents, sons and daughters” and “From the sea to the river, Palestine will live forever,” “GWU you’re painted red, over 30,000 dead” to the sound of drums, claps and tambourines.


Updated 11:27 a.m— MPD cars block off streets around encampment

Metropolitan Police Department cars are blocking off more streets around the encampment in preparation for a rally in U-Yard and pro-Palesitnian protests on Thursday morning. 

There is a police car on the corner of H and 23rd streets, H and 22nd streets, and a black truck affiliated with police parked on the corner of H and 21st streets, across from an MPD car blocking off H Street. There is also a police car blocking 22nd and G streets. 


Updated 10:54 a.m— GW issues ‘First Amendment activity’ advisory ahead of campus protests 

Officials issued an advisory Thursday morning that “First Amendment activity is ongoing around Foggy Bottom Campus.”

The advisory alluded to the “rally against antisemitism” hosted by GW Hillel and the Jewish Students’ Association on G Street at 11 a.m. and the “defend DMV SJP” rally in U-Yard at 10 a.m. 

Officials encouraged people not to engage in confrontations, carry GWorld cards at all times, shelter indoors if there is a disturbance and make sure doors are closed and locked all doors as they arrive and depart.


Updated 10:32 a.m— Dozens of faculty join students at U-Yard rally

Before the rally to “defend” the U-Yard encampment begins, a group of roughly 40 faculty members entered the encampment on H Street wearing signs reading “FACULTY” to a round of applause from demonstrators. 

Mark Lance, a professor of philosophy and justice and peace at Georgetown University and an organizer of the faculty group at the encampment Thursday, said university faculty from around the D.C. region visited the encampment to show their support for students and protect from counterprotesters. 

GW for Israel and the Jewish Students’ Association are holding a “rally against campus antisemitism” at 11 a.m. in front of Duques Hall, about a block away from U-Yard. 

“I think the police will probably keep people apart, but if people want to cause trouble and commit violence, we will be here in a line with arms locked and they will have to come through us first,” Lance said. 

Lance said he hopes police will continue to recognize “democracy in action,” and that the administration will divest from corporations connected to Israel.


Updated 10:06 a.m— Texas Congressman visits encampment

Rep. Keith Self (R-TX) toured the U-Yard encampment at about 9:16 a.m. for a brief 15 minute visit. Self said he decided to visit the demonstration to see how “out of touch” GW students are. He said he does not understand why the demonstration has prolonged.

Protesters have reiterated that they will stay in the encampment until GW officials comply with their demands, which include dropping charges against pro-Palestinian protesters and divesting from companies that supply arms to Israel.

“Looking at the names on the buildings. I wonder what the people who contributed all of these buildings would think of this,” Self said. 

Estelle Gelman, one of the namesakes of Gelman Library, served on the board of Israeli bonds, an organization that underwrites debt securities from Israel and has rallied support for the country during the Israel-Hamas war.

He said the Metropolitan Police Department should clear the encampment so protesters can return to school and their jobs. MPD refused to comply with GW officials’ request to clear the encampment Friday morning due to concerns about the “optics” of clearing a peaceful protest, the Washington Post reported.

He added that protesters can help Palestinians by supporting the release of the people Hamas took hostage.

“We are the legislators in this, we make the laws,” Self said. “We need to make sure that we are providing a safe environment for all of our people.”

Ianne Salvosa | Staff Photographer

Updated 9:12 a.m— Facilities removes posters

At about 7:30 a.m., a facilities worker removed two posters on the recycling and trash bins at the northwest entrance of U-Yard. Street artist Absurdly Well pasted at least four posters around the Foggy Bottom campus Wednesday. 

Three of the posters, pasted on the recycling bin at the northwest entrance of U-Yard, on the back of the recycling bin in front of Duques Hall and on G Street, depict a woman with the phrase “There is no beauty better than intellect.” One of the posters on the trash bin at the northwest entrance of U-Yard depict President Joe Biden with the phrase “Nothing will fundamentally change.” As of 9:07 a.m., the posters in front of Duques Hall and on G Street still remain.

Absurdly Well stands in solidarity with the students at GW protesting, according to their Instagram.


Updated 8:05 a.m— Thursday’s programming

The GWU Student Coalition for Palestine and GW for Israel will each host programming Thursday morning. 

The coalition, alongside the DMV Palestinian Youth Movement, Maryland 2 Palestine, the National Students for Justice in Palestine, the D.C. Party for Socialism and Liberation and the DMV SJP Coalition, will host a protest in U-Yard at 10 a.m. Thursday to “defend” the encampment’s progress over the past week. The groups asked for attendees to bring noisemakers.

GWI, alongside the Jewish Student Association, will rally against antisemitism on campus and celebrate Jewish pride at 11 a.m. Thursday in the G Street Park across from Duques Hall. 


Updated 6:22 a.m— Protesters rise after late night rally

U-Yard lit up at about 6:00 a.m. as the sun rose and classroom lights in the buildings surrounding the area turned on. Two geese flew above the yard, honking loudly. 

Roughly 20 protesters are awake and out of their tents after a rally concluded about an hour earlier, with most retreating back to their tent for more sleep after the early wake up call. Two students sit outside of their tent, playing a card game.

About six GWPD officers stand in front of Bell Hall, chatting among themselves.


You can read the original post here:

The University Yard encampment entered its second week after the demonstration attracted half a dozen politicians and hundreds of protesters to Foggy Bottom in the past seven days.

The roughly 20 tents in U-Yard last Thursday expanded to over 130 tents across U-Yard and H Street by Wednesday, garnering congressional scrutiny over the Metropolitan Police Department’s refusal to sweep the encampment and support from student organizations. Over the past seven days, under rain or shine, protesters chanted, sang songs, taught one another about their cultural traditions and shared stories about loved ones in Gaza under the watch of GW Police Department officers, MPD officers and security guards.

The protest has remained largely peaceful, but spiked in activity Sunday night when protesters dismantled the metal barricades enclosing the U-Yard encampment after an alleged attempted arrest of a student. Officials denied the officer attempted an arrest and said the officer escorted the student out of the encampment after they jumped the barricade.

At 4:35 a.m. Thursday, facilities workers began to move barricades from the pile in the center of U-Yard into a truck on the intersection of G Street and 21st Street near Bell Hall. Organizers sounded a siren from their megaphone to wake protesters before beginning to chant “Free, free Palestine.” A person loading the barricades into the truck said the workers removed them from U-Yard because the barriers are rentals.

With final exams looming, students in the encampment — which represent universities around the D.C. area — said they plan to stay put until officials meet their demands: each represented university drop all charges against pro-Palestinian protesters and student organizations, protect free speech on campus, divest from companies supplying technology to Israel, disclose all endowments and sever academic partnerships with Israel.

The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability called on D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and MPD Chief Pamela Smith to testify next Wednesday at 1 p.m. about reports that MPD rejected a request from the University to remove protestors, a committee spokesperson said Wednesday. A spokesperson for Bowser’s office said D.C. officials met with GW officials Tuesday, but did not specify who attended the meeting and declined to comment on how D.C. officials would counsel University officials on the demonstration. University President Ellen Granberg has yet to make an appearance at the encampment.

GW for Israel and the Jewish Student Association will host a “rally against campus antisemitism” in the G Street Park across from Duques Hall at 11 a.m Thursday. GWI posted a petition Tuesday calling on community members to sign a request for MPD to clear the now-eight-day long pro-Palestinian encampment, citing instances of antisemitism and threats of violence against Jewish students.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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