CUNY 4/28/2024 Encampment Update Includes Statement from CUNY 4 Palestine Coordinators

Join the CUNY Gaza Solidarity Encampment!

→ To get involved, follow the CUNY Gaza Solidarity Encampment on Instagram and Telegram!  

April 28, 2024
In the course of a week, what seemed impossible has become inevitable, thanks to a powerful student-led movement. Last week students at Columbia set up the Gaza Solidarity Encampment to demand that their university divest from a zionist settler-colonization that has deliberately slaughtered over 40,000 Palestinians and is committing new massacres daily, starving and displacing millions, and threatening further assaults on those displaced in Rafah.

A week later, these university divestment encampments have spread in a viral wave across New York City, the country, and the world. Some university administrations have responded to protests by unleashing police violence and arresting students and faculty, but that only strengthens the movement’s resolve. When the zionist state has destroyed all the universities in Gaza, how can we allow our own universities to operate normally?

On the morning of Thursday, April 25, the CUNY Gaza Solidarity Encampment launched at City College of New York in Harlem. As the encampment enters its fourth day, students from across the CUNY system have been joined by faculty, staff, and community supporters demanding divestment and standing firm for Palestine liberation with chants of “Free, Free Palestine!” and “Disclose! Divest! We will not stop, we will not rest!”

We are declaring that there will be no business as usual until CUNY divests. Attempts by CUNY public safety to repress protesters were met with resistance. Following the successful expulsion of the violent security officers, protesters spontaneously erupted into the chant: “The people united will never be defeated!”

Echoing the five demands for racial justice raised by Black and Puerto Rican students at CCNY during the 1969 student takeover, we have presented the CUNY administration with five demands for Palestine liberation:

  1. Divest! Immediately divest from ALL companies complicit in the imperialist-zionist genocide, including weapons, tech and surveillance, and construction companies. Commit to full financial transparency regarding CUNY’s institutional investments. 
  2. Boycott! Ban all academic trips to the Zionist state, encompassing birthright, Fulbright, and perspective trips. Cancel all forms of cooperation with Israeli academic institutions, including events, activities, agreements, and research collaborations.
  3. Solidarity! Release a statement affirming the right of the Palestinian people to national liberation and the right of return. Protect CUNY students and workers who are attacked for speaking out against the genocide in Gaza and in solidarity with Palestinian liberation. Reinstate professors who have been fired for showing solidarity with Palestine. 
  4. Demilitarize! Demilitarize CUNY, Demilitarize Harlem! Get IOF and NYPD officers off all CUNY campuses, and end all collaboration, trainings and recruitment by imperialist institutions, including the CIA, Homeland Security and ROTC. Remove all symbols of US imperialism from our campuses: Rename the Colin Powell School of Global and Civic Leadership at CCNY and reinstate The Guillermo Morales and Assata Shakur Community and Student Center!
  5. A People’s CUNY! We demand a fully-funded, free CUNY that is not beholden to zionist and imperialist private donors! Restore CUNY’s tuition-free status, protect the union, and adopt a fair contract for staff and faculty.

These demands were sent to the administration as soon as the camp launched. On Friday, CUNY administration officials met with the encampment’s negotiations team. As explained in the encampment’s Telegram channel:

We entered the meeting today in good faith and were met with dismissal, lies, deflection, and outright gaslighting. They spent an hour of a two-hour meeting over the issue of a Palestinian flag, offering us portable toilets as a bargaining chip to take it down. Given the symbolic importance of the flag to the Palestinian national struggle, we find this trade off to be deeply offensive. This is an insult to the sentiments of a colonized people.

They told us they don’t have the time for a second meeting, demonstrating their complete disregard for our demands despite the urgency of the ongoing genocide in Gaza. Instead, on the first day of the encampment, CUNY Public Safety kidnapped a teenager and charged her with a FELONY for allegedly spray painting the floor! Our legal team is currently supporting our student against this arbitrary charge.

Every hour they delay is more lives lost! We are not willing to wait for a convenient time for the administration and will impose our own deadline. We are demanding Chancellor Matos Rodriguez come to the encampment on Monday by 2 PM to meet with our negotiating team and discuss the implementation of our demands. 

They are not taking us seriously so we are going to show them how serious we are!

The next morning, CUNY dropped off portable toilets at the encampment, while the flag remains in place. The CUNY administration is powerless in the face of such fierce determination. When we stand firm and united, we prevail!
Now more than ever,  the movement for a liberated Palestine needs your solidarity and commitment.  Your physical presence matters! Join the encampment! The CCNY encampment is one of the few encampments in NYC that remains open to the public. Let’s keep up the pressure! 
For updates, follow the CUNY Gaza Solidarity Encampment on:

In solidarity for a free Palestine,


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