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Students set up camp on Auraria Campus to protest conditions in Gaza

Students set up camp on Auraria Campus to protest conditions in Gaza
Posted at 9:18 PM, Apr 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-26 17:36:55-04

DENVER — Dozens of students set up camp on the Auraria Campus Thursday to protest the conditions in Gaza.

The protest was organized by the Colorado Palestine Coalition and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Pro-Palestinian organizers have set up numerous protests at college campuses across the nation. Several students were suspended and arrested following a protest at Columbia University last week.

The group refused to leave until the schools — Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Colorado Denver and Community College of Denver — met their demands or forced them to go. Thursday's protest featured flags and speeches, but no arrests or suspensions.

"We're going to show them that we won't be silent," said Geral Mueller, an SDS representative.

Mueller and several organizers helped provide tents, food and water to participating students. When the rain started, students began passing out ponchos.

The group is asking the three schools to take a public stance against the Israel-Hamas war. SDS issued six demands:

  • Divestment. The University of Colorado shall fully divest from any corporations which operate in Israel.
  • Refuse Grants. The University of Colorado shall refuse to accept grants or funding from corporations that contract with the U.S. armed forces and terminate any relationships with said corporations.
  • End to Study Abroad. The University of Colorado shall terminate its study abroad programs to Israel.
  • Statement. The University of Colorado shall write and publish a statement condemning the genocidal actions of Israel.
  • Transparency. The University of Colorado shall fully disclose its financial investments.
  • Meeting. Chancellor Michelle Marks of CU Denver will meet with student organizers, discuss and plan the implementation of the above demands directed at CU.

“It's not a hard ask. It's the humane and right thing to do," said Mueller.
A spokesperson for the Auraria Higher Education (AHEC) said the encampment violates their policy. Although students are allowed to peacefully protest, setting up tents is a violation.

"We've actually had outreach with those students months in advance," said Shaneis Malouff, AHEC's chief of staff. "What we're working on now is making sure that we're reiterating that they're in violation of that policy and giving them ample heads up. We need these tents to be removed."

Malouff said Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, would meet with students on campus. AHEC would not say what action it planned to take if the students refused to take down the tents.

The Denver Police Department said officers were called to assist campus police but were no longer needed as of 8:30 p.m.

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