Rutgers University Encampments

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Copy Edited By Adam Rizvi, The India Observer, TIO: Rutgers University and protestors on Voorhees Mall have agreed that by Thursday, May 2, 2024 at 4:00 PM ET, the protest taking place on Voorhees Mall will be ended. All students involved will leave the encampment, remove all tents and personal belongings, and clear the mall of all trash. This agreement is contingent upon no further disruptions and adherence to University policies. Regarding the requests presented by protestors of the Gaza Liberation Zone, the Advisory Council for Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian Life will serve as a taskforce in leading ongoing conversations and convening faculty taskforces on academic matters in collaboration with the Office of the Chancellor:

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1. Divest from any firm or corporation materially participating in, benefitting from, or otherwise supporting the state of Israel’s settler colonialism, apartheid, and genocide of Palestine and the Palestinian people, in accordance with the principles for divestment listed in University policy 40.2.14. A request from the Endowment Justice Collective to divest from companies doing business in Israel was received on April 2, 2024, and is undergoing the review process that is outlined in the university’s investment policy. The University President and the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Investments will meet with no more than five student representatives to discuss the divestment request provided the end of encampment.

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2. Terminate its partnership with Tel Aviv University including in the HELIX Innovation Hub. Agreements with global partners are a matter of scholarly inquiry.

3. Accept at least 10 displaced Gazan students to study at Rutgers University on scholarship. Rutgers University has a close partnership with Scholar Connections and will work with a committee of students, faculty, and staff to implement support for 10 displaced Palestinian students to finish their education at Rutgers.

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4. Provide resources for Palestinian and Arab students in the form of an Arab Cultural Center on each Rutgers campus. We will develop a plan for the creation of an Arab Cultural Center with designated physical space and a hiring plan for administrators and staff by the start of Fall 2024 semester at New Brunswick.

5. Establish a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a long-term educational and collaboration partnership with Birzeit University, Ramallah, Palestine — in accordance with precedent set by William Paterson University Rutgers-New Brunswick will revisit and follow up on the relationship established in 2022 with Birzeit University to explore avenues of research collaboration and scholarly exchange, and the feasibility of student exchange and/or study abroad through RU Global Studies.

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6. Name “Palestine” and “Palestinians” in all future communications related to Israeli aggressions in Palestine (as opposed to “Middle East” “Gaza region” etc.), and release a statement from the Office of the President acknowledging the ongoing genocide against Palestinians, its impact on the Palestinian community at our university, and advocating for a ceasefire. The Chancellor will continue to name Palestine, Palestinians, and Gaza in future communications.

7. Hire senior administrators with cultural competency and knowledge about Arabs, Palestinians, Muslims, anti-Palestinian racism, and Islamophobia. Rutgers–New Brunswick will work to develop training sessions on anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim racism for all RU administrators & staff. We also commit to the hiring of a senior administrator who has cultural competency in and with Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian communities in the Division of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community.

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8. Hire additional professors specializing in Palestine studies and Middle East studies, institute a center for Palestine studies, and establish a path to departmentalization for Middle East studies. The Office of the Chancellor will convene a working group to conduct a feasibility study for the creation of a Department of Middle East Studies and hire faculty. The first task of the committee is to identify gaps in the current faculty and make recommendations.

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9. Display the flags of occupied peoples – including but not limited to Palestinians, Kurds, and Kashmiris – in all areas displaying international flags across the Rutgers campuses. The Office of the Chancellor will take stock of flags that are displayed across Rutgers New Brunswick campus, and ensure appropriate representation of students enrolled in academic and other spaces.

10. Provide full amnesty for all students, student groups, faculty, and staff penalized for exercising their First Amendment right to protest Rutgers University’s support for Israeli human rights violations, and voice support for faculty and staff who have been publicly targeted for exercising their academic freedom. No member of the Rutgers–New Brunswick community-including faculty, staff, graduate students, undergraduate students, or alumni-found to have been involved in the encampment or related activity will face retaliation from the University, including termination of employment or reduction in compensation.

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Retaliation shall be defined as any adverse action outside of normal business practices taken for the sole reason that the individual was involved in the encampment activities. Individual students who have been involved in any activities related to the encampment or support of the encampment, including presence in the encampment area, remain subject to the procedures of the Code of Student Conduct as communicated by the Office of Student Conduct. The commitment to end the encampment through this agreement will be considered a favorable mitigating factor in the resolution of those matters. This agreement further recognizes that reports of bias, harassment or discrimination must continue to be investigated by the appropriate offices. This agreement does not pertain to Code of Student Conduct violations that occur or come to be known after this agreement, nor shall the review and resolution of any such individual conduct matters alter or invalidate this agreement.

Curated and Compiled by Humra Kidwai



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