April 26, 2024

350 U.S. Responds to Repression Facing Student Protestors Across the Country

National, U.S. – Students across the country are protesting against the genocide in Gaza, calling attention to their universities’ connections to the state of Israel and the weapons manufacturers fueling the brutal assault. Students are calling on their universities to divest from companies doing business with Israel. This wave of organizing on campuses follows a long history of youth struggle, from the South African Apartheid in the 80s, to the Occupy Movement in 2011, and the more recent movement for fossil fuel divestment (sparked by 350.org).

After Columbia University responded violently to the student encampment on its campus in solidarity with Gaza last week, encampments have popped up on campuses from coast to coast. Universities are largely following in Columbia’s footsteps and have sent in police to arrest students exercising their First Amendment rights. Over 500 students and faculty have been arrested as a result across the country. This mistreatment and censorship of pro-Palestine student activists on campuses across the country is alarming and points to the increasing repression of protest. 

The same forces that run universities, private equity partners, and large bankers, are the forces that are also paying security companies to harass protestors who are fighting against fossil fuel infrastructure in Appalachia and the Gulf of Mexico.

Jeff Ordower, 350.org North America Director and Columbia College class of 1991, said:

“Across the country, we are seeing students punished, criminalized, and even brutalized for exercising their right to protest in support of Palestine. 350 US stands unequivocally in solidarity with the student protestors as they bravely take a stand in the face of rising repression. The violence that these students are facing is part of a rise in militarism and an increasingly hostile police and institutional response to protestors across the country—just as our friends and partners have experienced at the Mountain Valley Pipeline site, at the Cop City construction site in Atlanta, and beyond. We fight for intersectional climate justice, and we affirm that standing for justice of any kind means standing for human rights, including the right to protest, and standing against genocide.”