UW President calls for ceasefire in Gaza, condemns encampment

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce officially called for a ceasefire in Gaza, but stressed the university will not boycott Israel or cut ties with Boeing.

Following continued escalations in UW's Quad in the last week — a scuffle when right-wing speaker Charlie Kirk spoke at the university, new demands presented to UW's Board of Regents, and a growing pro-Israel counterprotest — Cauce sent a message to all students and staff urging organizers to end the encampment.

"The humanitarian crisis in Gaza — especially the extraordinary loss of lives and widespread starvation of civilians, including children — is heartbreaking. We join the calls by national and international leaders for a ceasefire that will include an end to military operations, the release of the hostages taken by Hamas on Oct. 7, and a surge of humanitarian aid for Palestinians and all people in Gaza — with the goal of achieving a lasting peace," wrote Cauce.

Cauce claims that the rhetoric in the protests has become increasingly "vile and anti-Semitic."

"I strongly support the right of protected free expression and understand that protest by its very nature is structured to be uncomfortable and bring attention to a cause. Institutions of higher education have been at the center of important social and political movements through the course of history," wrote Cauce, "I also know that this issue is deeply personal to many in our community and, in many cases, is not only a matter of political perspective but of their core identity."

Cauce says university officials and protest organizers are holding an ongoing discussion, with the goal of coming to an agreement for the encampment to come down. Protesters demand an academic boycott of Israel and cutting ties with Boeing, which has long provided military aircraft to the country.

Cauce says the school will not engage with these demands, saying they run counter to academic freedom. She also confirmed through the University of Washington Investment Management Company that the university has "no direct investments in Boeing or weapons manufacturers."

The president says new demands from organizers — an "anti-Zionist" litmus test for faculty hires, giving a student group oversight of religion-based University scholarships, and amnesty for all violations of school code during the protests — are "contrary to academic freedom and/or to state law."

"While I strongly support free speech and peaceful protest, I also strongly support the rights of all our community members to live, learn and work without fear," wrote Cauce, "But every day the encampment remains, safety concerns escalate for our UW community and for the people in the encampment itself."

Cauce concluded by saying that calls for change "will not be based on an encampment."


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