Campus News

Gaza Solidarity Encampment ends following negotiations

Gaza Solidarity Encampment ends following negotiations

Pro-Palestinian activists depart from the Shaw Quad on Wednesday with plans to return with strengthened resolve in the fall.

The Gaza Solidarity Encampment left the Shaw Quad at Syracuse University on Wednesday.
Julia Carden
Pro-Palestinian activists in the Gaza Solidarity Encampment (GSE) left the Shaw Quad at Syracuse University on Wednesday.

After a 16-day occupation, the pro-Palestinian Gaza Solidarity Encampment ended its  presence at Syracuse University’s Shaw Quad on Wednesday.

“We have decided to leave the encampment on our own terms,” encampment organizers announced on the official Instagram account for SU’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SU SPJ).

On Monday, students and faculty advocates from the encampment met with “SU-designated negotiators” Kyle Dailey, Sheriah Dixon, Rob Hradsky and Dawn Singleton. According to Students for Justice in Palestine SU (SPJ), the negotiation focused on two points:

  • “Issuing a statement calling for a ceasefire, similar to those issued by other private universities (including Middlebury College), and building on the university’s previous positions and statements related to the war in Ukraine in which the chancellor’s statement asserted that ‘our university joins all in the world who value peace in condemning the invasion of Ukraine.’”
  • The formation of a working group with more than 50% student representation selected by members of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment that would investigate and disclose SU’s investments, partnerships and cooperative programs that are involved with companies and institutions supporting the occupation in Palestine: Those with Israeli ownership and those implicated in supporting the supply of weapons and materials used in the occupation of Palestine and the ongoing genocide.

The encampment alleges that the university negotiators exhibited “a troubling lack of preparedness and dismissiveness.” These negotiations followed persistent demands from the encampment for the university to address their concerns.

On May 10, the encampment held a press conference reaffirming its six demands of the university.

Pro-Palestinian students and faculty hold a press conference in front of the encampment on Shaw Quad at Syracuse university. Students hold signs and flags in solidarity as it rains during the press conference.
Maxine Wallace
Pro-Palestinian students and faculty at a press conference at the SU Gaza Solidarity Encampment on May 10.

Despite requests from the university to relocate, the GSE maintained its presence in the quad throughout Commencement Weekend, while thousands congregated on campus for graduation festivities. The protesters remained separate from the rest of the open lawn, divided by a green-lined chain-link fence on one side of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment.

During the demonstration’s 16 days, the pro-Palestinian activists conducted peaceful gatherings and hosted speakers and activities, despite facing intimidation from some members of the community and parents of SU students. 

SU Public Safety officers arrested one counter-protester named Ronn Torossian on May 5 for disorderly conduct and trespassing. Additionally, DPS arrested Eural Warren Jr. who had been present at the quad encampment on May 10. Warren was convicted of manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon in Syracuse in 1997. 

The GSE emphasized that their “fight for the liberation of Palestine continues,” with plans to reinstate the on campus encampment in the fall semester.

“We commit to come back in fall 2024, to continue what we have started,” GSE wrote. “With more resources, organizational strength, and dedication to the defense of the cause we have been mobilizing, we will continue to push against administrators’ denialism until they concede our demands.”

The protestors cleaned up, leaving nothing behind. Now, the only trace of their presence is the discolored grass where the encampment tents once stood.

“As an SU alumnus, I’m so incredibly proud of each and every one of you who has made a stand for humanity,” one social media user wrote. “Because of you and other students across the country, you ripped the blindfold off that so many were still holding tight to their eyes.” 

The Gaza Solidarity Encampment left the Shaw Quad at Syracuse University on Wednesday.
Julia Carden
The Shaw Quad at Syracuse University following the Gaza Solidarity Encampment.