Skip to content

How Gaza Encampments Upended Higher Ed

Pro-Palestinian protesters at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles link arms as police stand guard during a demonstration on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. A wave of pro-Palestinian protests spread and intensified on Wednesday as students gathered on campuses around the country, in some cases facing off with the police, in a widening showdown over campus speech and the war in Gaza.

In April and May, campus protests of the Israel-Hamas war — specifically, Israel’s strikes on Palestinians — reached a fever pitch. The catalyst was Columbia University, whose president testified before Congress on April 17 about how the institution had responded to antisemitism and protests since Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel provoked the current war.

That same day, Columbia students set up tents on campus and vowed to stay there until the university agreed to cut financial ties with Israel. Columbia’s leaders, having just told Congress they had no qualms about enforcing campus policies, called the New York Police Department to clear the encampment.

Since then, nearly 100 colleges have seen pro-Palestinian encampments, sit-ins, or multiday protests, and thousands of people have been arrested at dozens of campuses.

Colleges struggled to respond to protests that they say crossed a line into disruption; a small number of protests led to property damage and violence. Administrators also struggled to balance the free-speech rights of the protesters with the safety concerns of Jewish community members who alleged that some of activists’ chants were antisemitic.



Mapping the Spread of Student Protests

Latest News

Latest Opinion from The Review

More News and Opinion