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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student

campus administration

IU’s Gaza encampment reaches day 14; protesters plan to stay through summer

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Two weeks since pro-Palestinian protesters set up tents in Dunn Meadow to support Gaza and call for IU to divest from Israel, the encampment is still standing, even after a tornado warning was issued Tuesday night for southern Monroe County.  

Some of the tents were mangled or destroyed during the night, but around 13 tents and 9 canopies remain. Bryce Greene, a graduate student and a leader of the IU Divestment Coalition, said everyone stayed safe, and they evacuated critical things off site.  

Dunn Meadow has been quieter since the semester ended and graduation passed, and at 2 p.m. Wednesday, there were about 10 people at the encampment. However, Greene said there was a whole community doing work off site, and there are enough people to keep the encampment going throughout the summer until their demands are met.  

The IU Divestment Coalition, which organized the encampment, has listed four demands: the resignation of IU President Pamela Whitten, Provost Rahul Shrivastav and Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs Carrie Docherty; the end of the university’s collaboration with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division — a U.S. naval installation southwest of Bloomington; IU’s adherence to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — meaning the university would wholly financially divest from Israel; and the creation of Muslim and Middle Eastern cultural centers at IU. 

“We hope that the university, especially in light of what is going on in Rafah, understands their role in perpetuating the horrors that we’re seeing and decides to change,” Greene said.  

The Israeli military on Monday ordered the evacuation of about 100,000 people in eastern Rafah, a city on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip. The evacuation comes after months of planning and threats of an assault into Rafah, where about 1.3 million Palestinians have taken refuge from the Israeli military’s invasion which has killed more than 34,700 people as of Wednesday. The Israeli government has said Rafah is Hamas’ last major stronghold in Gaza. 

The U.S. paused a munitions shipment to Israel last week over concerns about the operation. On Tuesday, the Israeli military launched a limited operation in the periphery of the city, seizing control of and temporarily closing the Rafah border crossing, a vital point of entry for aid at a time when the U.N. says there is a “full-blown famine” in northern Gaza. Only the Erez crossing between northern Gaza and Israel is currently open. 

Although the encampment violates an IU policy about Dunn Meadow that was changed on the eve of the protest to ban the use of temporary structures without prior approval, the police has not intervened in over 10 days. On the first and third day of the encampment, IU Police Department and Indiana State Police officers forcefully arrested a total of 57 peaceful protesters.  

Greene said no one has bothered them about the tents since then, which he said raises questions about why police came and made arrests in the first few days.  

“They couldn’t justify it then, but every second that we're here longer, it makes it even harder for them to justify it in the future,” Greene said. 

Mark Bode, IU executive director of media relations, was not immediately available for comment.

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