Art Students and Faculty Join Pro-Palestine College Protests Across US

Pro-Palestine protests sweep US campuses, with art students and faculty joining the movement against Israeli occupation and US support for Israel. Protests face pushback but continue to gain momentum.

Mahnoor Jehangir
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Art Students and Faculty Join Pro-Palestine College Protests Across US

Art Students and Faculty Join Pro-Palestine College Protests Across US

Art students and faculty at universities across the United States have joined the growing wave of pro-Palestine protests on college campuses. The protests, which have taken place at prestigious institutions such as Columbia, Brown, Yale, and Harvard, are demanding an end to the Israeli occupation and US support for Israel amid escalating Israeli aggression in Gaza.

At Columbia University in New York City, pro-Palestinian students have been staging a protest encampment called the "Gaza Solidarity Encampment" since April 17, 2024. The encampment was initially dismantled by the New York City Police Department but has since been restored. Over 100 people were arrested at Columbia and City College of New York on Tuesday night as protests intensified nationwide.

Rhoda Rosen, a curator and adjunct art history professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, expressed support for the protesters' vision. Members of Columbia's Visual Arts and Music faculty also issued a letter supporting students' rights to assembly and free speech. However, the university has asked the NYPD to remain on campus until May 17, two days after graduation, as protesters remain defiant.

Why this matters: The pro-Palestine college protests reflect growing solidarity with Palestinians and resistance to US and Western imperialism among American students. The involvement of art students and faculty highlights the intersection of art and activism in the struggle for justice and human rights.

Similar protests have been occurring at other universities, including Brown University, where student protesters reached an agreement with the administration to hold a vote on divestment from companies that support Israel. At the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the administration had to break up a pro-Palestinian encampment, while at Virginia Commonwealth University, 13 protesters were arrested and charged with unlawful assembly and trespassing.

The protests have faced pushback from some university administrations, with accusations of antisemitism and demagoguery leveled against the student protesters by political elites in the US, including President Biden and members of Congress. However, the protesters, who come from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, have been praised for their courage and determination. "The violent suppression of the protests by authorities has not deterred the students, and the calls for freedom, justice, and an end to the occupation in Palestine continue to resound across American universities," said a statement from the Columbia University Apartheid Divest coalition.

Key Takeaways

  • Art students and faculty join pro-Palestine protests on US college campuses.
  • Protests demand end to Israeli occupation and US support for Israel amid Gaza aggression.
  • Over 100 arrested at Columbia and CCNY as protests intensify nationwide.
  • Protests reflect growing student solidarity with Palestinians and resistance to imperialism.
  • Protests face pushback from universities, but students remain determined despite arrests.