UW, protesters reach agreement to end Seattle encampment

The University of Washington and pro-Palestine demonstrators have reached an agreement to take down the encampment in the Quad.

The UW student newspaper The Daily confirmed that administrators and protesters reached terms Friday for the encampment to disband.

This comes just days after UW President Ana Mari Cauce issued a statement condemning the encampment, claiming the rhetoric from protesters has increasingly grown "vile and anti-Semitic" — all while agreeing with calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.

For the past three weeks, students have occupied the Quad and made escalating demands of the university; boycotting Israel, cutting ties with Boeing, instituting an "anti-Zionist" litmus test for new faculty hires, amnesty for students involved in the protest, and more.

According to an official statement issued to The Daily by protesters, the "Popular University for Gaza Liberated Zone" has concluded.

"We are under no illusions that this agreement is a win," the statement reads. "The only true win is Palestinian liberation."

Organizers say administrators have "shown clear reluctance to make even the smallest progress towards reducing our complicity in the ongoing genocide in Palestine."

Despite this, some concessions have been made by the university:

  • Two representatives have been advanced for consideration on the Board of Regents’ committee for socially-responsible investments.
  • Tuition has been waived for 20 Palestinian students displaced from Gaza.
  • Committees have been altered or added to recommend changes to study abroad programs, hiring practices, and transparency in corporate investments.

"UW would rather maintain the status quo than stand against genocide," the protesters’ statement reads.

A statement from UW administrators says the terms of the agreement require protesters to voluntarily end the encampment immediately, to dismantle the encampment and clean up trash in the Quad by Monday, May 20, at 3:00 p.m., and for the encampment to not be reestablished.

The University's Office of Global Affairs aims to pursue new "academic connection" with Palestinian universities, starting Summer 2024.

Administrators say they will not discipline student protesters exercising their First Amendment rights, except in instances of vandalism, property damage, bias, harassment or discrimination. They have promised to drop referrals for citations and violations for students who camped, and say they will continue to practice ‘non-retaliation’ policies.

"While conflict and discord seem like an inevitable part of the global political landscape, this current moment is particularly agonizing," wrote Cauce in a new statement on Friday. "The humanitarian tragedy in Gaza — especially the extraordinary loss of lives and widespread starvation of Palestinian civilians including children — is heartbreaking."

This is a developing story; check back for updates.


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