Fordham Students Launch Gaza Solidarity Encampment, Demand University Divestment from Israel

Fordham students launch Gaza solidarity encampment, demand university divest from Israel-linked companies and reinstate SJP club. Protests highlight escalating tensions over Israeli-Palestinian conflict and BDS movement.

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Salman Akhtar
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Fordham Students Launch Gaza Solidarity Encampment, Demand University Divestment from Israel

Fordham Students Launch Gaza Solidarity Encampment, Demand University Divestment from Israel

Fordham Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) have launched a "Gaza solidarity encampment " in the lobby of the Leon Lowenstein Center at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus. The student activists are demanding that the university divest from companies related to Israel and the "Zionist state's genocide of the Palestinians," as well as reinstate the SJP club on campus.

The encampment at Fordham joins similar protests on college campuses nationwide, and comes after the forcible clearing of demonstrations at Columbia University and the City University of New York (CUNY) by the New York Police Department (NYPD). A total of 282 pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested across the two campuses in what was described as "chaotic, war zone-like scenes." The mayor blamed "outside agitators" for radicalizing students and creating chaos, rather than peaceful protest.

The encampment has led to the closure of the Lowenstein Center, with NYPD and Fordham Public Safety officers stationed at the entrances. The university has also canceled a scheduled event to avoid overshadowing the student voices. Fordham SJP has called on its followers to join solidarity protests outside the Columbia campus.

Why this matters: The ongoing protests and clashes on college campuses highlight the escalating tensions surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the growing Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. The forcible police response to student demonstrations also raises concerns about free speech and the right to protest on university grounds.

In a statement, Fordham SJP urged the university to disclose its investments related to Israel, including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which Fordham partnered with last spring to create a new study abroad program. Fordham Public Safety issued an alert stating that the Lowenstein Center entrance has been closed for the safety of the community, and students, faculty, and staff should enter campus from 62nd Street. This is a developing story with more information expected to come.

Key Takeaways

  • Fordham SJP launches "Gaza solidarity encampment" at university campus.
  • Demands include divestment from Israel-related companies and club reinstatement.
  • Similar protests at Columbia and CUNY campuses led to 282 arrests.
  • Fordham closes Lowenstein Center and cancels event to avoid overshadowing protests.
  • Escalating tensions over Israeli-Palestinian conflict and growing BDS movement.