Updated May 16, 2024 - News

Chicago campus encampments cleared but student protesters not done

Photo of a woman shouting into a megaphone between a line of protesters and police

Chicago police keep activists back as workers remove a pro-Palestinian encampment on the DePaul University campus Thursday morning. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chicago police cleared the last remaining pro-Palestinian campus encampment Thursday, leading to questions about what's next for the movement as graduations and summer breaks approach.

Why it matters: The encampments have been powerful demonstrations for students, faculty and other supporters, who have called on administrations to divest from Israel and demand a ceasefire in Gaza.

Driving the news: DePaul University's was the only campus encampment still standing Thursday. University of Chicago police cleared protesters and their tents last week, and Northwestern University reached an agreement with students and supporters in April.

  • DePaul announced this week it was canceling its annual year-end festival, slated for this weekend.

Yes, but: Don't expect student protests to disappear.

What they're saying: "We are here, we have our demands and we'll continue to push until this administration actually gives us a response that isn't just signed by [DePaul president] Rob Manuel, but actually done in consultation with all the stakeholders that make this university great," student body president Parveen Mundi said Thursday night during a protest at the Lincoln Park campus.

Photo of people putting things in a garbage truck
As Chicago police stand guard, workers remove a pro-Palestinian encampment on the DePaul University campus Thursday. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

State of play: U.S. Palestinian Community Network leader Hatem Abudayyeh tells Axios he expects some students to join the Coalition to March on the DNC, one of the groups organizing protests around the convention.

Between the lines: The student protests are driven primarily by demands for divestment in Israel, but they align with the larger goal of protesters seeking to use the DNC to call on President Biden to negotiate a ceasefire in Gaza.

"I'll tell you, not because I've heard this from the students, but because of 25 years of experience, I suspect that they're not going to be done with their campuses, either," says Abudayyeh, a member of the Coalition to March on the DNC.

  • "We've met so many of these students who are like, 'There's this oversimplification about who we are and what we represent. … All we care about is that our government is complicit in a genocide, and we want to stop it.'"

What's next: Graduations at DePaul, UofC and Northwestern are all in early June; as of this writing, all are proceeding as planned.

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