The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

‘We demand divestment’: UWEC students hold protest in support of Palestine

Protesters call for university to divest from companies “complicit in war crimes”
Photo by Toby Mohr
Students protested in support of Palestine on the campus mall Friday.

Editor’s note: Chancellor James Schmidt released a statement about the protest, read that statement here.

A group of students held a protest on the campus mall Friday to show their solidarity with Palestine and with other campuses protesting across Wisconsin and the country. 

“Our goals are to just in general raise awareness for what is happening in Palestine and really raise awareness for the truth and not what the current media is putting out,” said Lily Jones, one of the media liaisons for the protest.

About 50 people gathered on the campus mall, outside of Centennial Hall and gave speeches and chanted “Free Palestine” and “Disclose, divest.”

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Photo by Toby Mohr

The group is called UW-Eau Claire for Palestine (ECP), who organized the protest and sent a list of demands to UW-Eau Claire administration earlier this week. Those demands include asking the university to divest from companies that are “complicit in war crimes and human rights violations in Palestine.” The demands reference both Microsoft and Sodexo, the contracted food service company for UW-Eau Claire.

“We’re looking for investment transparency,” Patrick Hill, a media liaison, said. “Not only for them to say, ‘We’ve divested from these companies,’ but also to show us what they are invested in so we can be sure that they aren’t invested in anything that may be complicit in this violence.”

The protesters then marched around the campus mall and continued their chants. Unlike other pro-Palestine protests at other college campuses, including UW-Madison, there were no encampments set up by UW-Eau Claire protesters, which is not permitted on Wisconsin college campuses under Wisconsin Administrative Code UWS 18.07.

Photo by Toby Mohr

Jones said they wanted to emphasis safety of the people protesting, and to avoid violence like what has come up at other universities.

“We wanted to aim to have our students be very safe. So that is why we put a very large emphasis on safety,” Jones said. “Because we do not want to see what has been happening to other UW systems and schools across the nation to happen here.”

Hill said they would also like to see UW-Eau Claire administration condemn violence against student protesters on other campuses.

“We would love to see a statement out of the administration that is condemning the actions of other universities in the UW System, that are taking violent action against protesters, because as student activists that is their their right to protest,” Hill said.

There were no organized counter-protesters present during the demonstration.

Several members of UW-Eau Claire administration were on the campus mall monitoring the protest. Interim Dean of Students Greg Heinselman said the university will release a response later on Friday.

This is a developing story, stay with The Spectator for updates.

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