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Recent College Protests: A Historic Look at University Demonstrations

Recent college protests latest in history of university demonstrations


EVANSTON, Ill. — Hundreds of student activists who pitched tents and camped on university lawns to protest Israel’s military attacks in Gaza have begun to declare victory at select universities around the country after hammering out agreements with school administrators.

Northwestern: Deal represents ‘sustainable and de-escalated path forward’

Northwestern University became the first U.S. school to publicly announce a deal on Monday, which was followed by Brown University’s announcement on Tuesday with student organizers to curb protest activity. The peaceful conclusion of the protests and the victorious stance of students come as encampments have become a flashpoint in the nationwide movement.

The scene was a significant contrast to those that have played out on other college campuses where tensions have only escalated. At Columbia University, students took over Hamilton Hall, barricading themselves inside. The White House condemned the surge in protests that seized and occupied university buildings, which included Cal Poly Humboldt in Northern California, where an occupation was broken up Tuesday.

Organizers hope the deals set a new precedent for protest encampments around the U.S. and show a way to find common ground without using force.

Brown will vote on divestment

Brown University’s pro-Palestine encampment agreed to clear out Tuesday in exchange for the Brown Corporation voting on a divestment measure in October. Dozens of students who camped out on the campus green for a week had called on the university to stop investing in an array of weapons manufacturers amid the Israel-Hamas War.

In exchange, students at the school will completely dismantle their encampment, according to the deal, and will not participate in any “unauthorized protest activity” until the end of the year.

Reaction to Northwestern agreement

As other schools have threatened students with suspension and arrested them by the score, student organizer Summer Pappachen lauded Northwestern school administrators and Palestinian student negotiators for reaching an agreement.

Among the critics of the deal, the American Jewish Committee said that the Northwestern agreement “clearly communicates that if your protest threatens with escalation or violence” adding that the school “succumbed to the demands of a mob.”

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