ADC Statement on Violent Crackdowns on Campus Encampments

Washington, D.C. | | May 8, 2024 – ADC is outraged at the continued reckless endangerment of university students by the very administrators responsible for their well-being. Early this morning, we witnessed another excessive show of force against student protestors, this time in Washington, D.C. at the George Washington University (GWU) Gaza solidarity encampment. This follows the military-style invasion of hundreds of NYPD officers into Columbia University. Across the country police officers have physically assaulted students, torn hijabs off Muslim students, violently thrown students down stairs, used mace from point-blank distance, and choked students with their knees as they were handcuffed.

Thousands of Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and Jewish students have been arrested across the country for simply demonstrating in solidarity with the innocent Palestinians in Gaza who have been murdered, starved, and displaced from their homes for over 200 days.

At GWU, President Ellen Granberg refused to engage in good fatih negotiations with peaceful student protestors. Instead she abandoned her responsibilities to protect students by twice calling in the notoriously brutal D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to clear the peaceful demonstration. Her initial requests were rejected by Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. President Granberg, her administrators, and the Republican-led House Oversight committee amped up the pressure and forced Mayor Bowser and MPD Chief Pamela Smith into using violent force to avoid testifying in Congress today.

Actions taken by elected officials and law enforcement across are highly reminiscent of the censorship and brutality of the McCarthy Era. These brutal repression tactics are taken straight from the pages of past crackdowns on peaceful protesters – from the anti-war and anti-apartheid movements of decades past to the Black Lives Matter movement just a few years ago. University administrators are blatantly bending to the will of genocide apologists, including members of Congress, instead of considering how they might act on their students’ demands. Some universities have engaged in good faith negotiations which led to compromise and non-violent conclusions.

The Gaza solidarity encampment movement is inherently peaceful and has proven to be so in all universities across the country. This excessive show of force and administrative backlash is an unjust attempt to restrict freedom of expression. Students must be allowed to use institutions of higher learning for free exchange of speech and thought without threat of physical and mental harm.

A GW Arab American student who requested anonymity out of fear of retaliation from zionist bullies and university administrators said, “The DMV SJP Gaza solidarity encampment at GWU was a love letter to the brave children of Gaza. As students of all religious, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds studying in the nation’s capital, we at GWU understand that free exchange of ideas is at the heart of the missions of our institutions of higher learning. The pathetic response by GWU administration has stained a university which long marketed itself as a haven for activists and free thinkers. That President Granberg would make an active decision to bring heavily armed police onto GWU campus rather than engage in good faith negotiations with the peaceful student protestors represents a clear complicity in the very injustices of which we demand an end.”

ADC has established an emergency fund to protect our students. With your help we will bring the full range of legal support that is needed to serve our students, protect their rights, and ensure their safety.

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