Apr 26, 2024 - Politics & Policy

What pro-Palestinian protesters on college campuses want

Pro-Palestinians students at Columbia University have a demonstration near Gaza Solidarity Encampment on April 25

Pro-Palestinians students at Columbia University's Gaza Solidarity Encampment on April 25. Photo: Selcuk Acar/Anadolu via Getty Images

College campuses across the country have become hotspots for protests over the Israel-Hamas war, with pro-Palestinian demonstrators facing an increased crackdown from school administrators.

Why it matters: Protesters have faced arrests and even class cancellations, but they largely haven't yet achieved their goals.

  • Those goals vary somewhat from school to school.
  • At many schools, protesters have called for campuses to divest from companies with links to Israel, though some experts have warned that divestment would have little impact on the targeted companies, per CNN.


At Columbia University, where more than 100 pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested last week, the student group that organized the protest encampment — the Columbia University Apartheid Divest — laid out five key demands.

  • They include divesting from companies that "profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide and occupation in Palestine" and more transparency around investments.
  • Students have also called on the university to end policing on campus and sever ties with Israeli academic institutions, including Columbia's global center in Tel Aviv and its dual degree program with Tel Aviv University.


At Yale, where police arrested 48 protesters earlier this week, protesters have called for the university to divest from military weapons manufacturers and disclose where the school invests its funds.

  • Yale announced last week it would not divest from military weapons manufacturers, saying its Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility had not determined that "such activity meets the criteria for divestment."


Protesters at Princeton have outlined a list of demands, calling for the university "to divest and disassociate from Israel," The Daily Princetonian reported.

  • They have called for the school to release a statement supporting a permanent ceasefire and "condemning Israel's genocidal campaign" against Palestinians.
  • Protesters also called for the school to disclose additional financial investments, end research on "weapons of war," cut ties with Israeli institutions and businesses and stop facilitating student trips to Israel.


The University of Southern California recently became the first major university to cancel a graduation ceremony over the protests, as police detained almost 100 people this week for participating in the demonstrations.

  • The USC Divest from Death Coalition, a student group, has outlined a list of six demands, including "no policing on campus" and "full amnesty" for students, staff and faculty that have been disciplined or penalized for pro-Palestinian activism.
  • Students have also called for the school to end its study abroad programs in Israel, sever academic and research ties with Israeli universities, and support a permanent ceasefire.
  • Protesters demand USC disclose and divest from Israeli companies that "profit from Israeli apartheid, genocide, and occupation in Palestine, including the US Military and weapons manufacturing."


Protesters at Harvard have called on the university to disclose and divest any investments in Israel.

  • Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine advocacy group has also called for Harvard to "reinvest resources in Palestinian academic initiatives, communities, and culture."
  • They have also called on the school to "drop all charges" against students for partaking in the protests.

Go deeper: In photos: Hundreds arrested as pro-Palestinian college protests intensify

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