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Case Western Reserve University students hope to maintain pro-Palestinian encampment for another night

Aerial view of people camping on a circular grassy area on a college campus.
Ygal Kaufman
Ideastream Public Media
Pro-Palestinian protesters on the campus of Case Western Reserve University set up an encampment on the Kelvin Smith Library Oval.

A student organizer of a pro-Palestinian demonstration at Case Western Reserve University says students will seek permission to continue an encampment on the campus oval.

Jad Oglesby, a senior and vice president of the CWRU chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, said students camped overnight Monday on the Kelvin Smith Library Oval after they reached an agreement with administrators.

“We had roughly 40 to 50 students in camp here overnight during their finals week,” said Oglesby.

Earlier in the day, students tried to set up tents on the grassy lawn but were rebuffed by campus police.

Oglesby said students met with CWRU administrators Monday seeking permission for the encampment.

“It took multiple kind of instances of conversations throughout the day,” he said. “Eventually they trusted their own students to be able to camp out overnight. So they allowed us to get our tents. It turned out really well.”

Oglesby described a calm scene Monday night at the oval.

“It was a time of fellowship and community. A lot of the students came together and played cards, joked and reflected on the day that they witnessed and the moment that they're currently a part of,” he said.

Student demonstrators have set up encampments on campuses across the country, demanding a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war and disinvestment from Israel.

At Columbia University in New York City, protesters took over a campus building early Tuesday after university officials suspended students who had refused to leave a pro-Palestinian encampment. The university closed the campus to everyone but students who live in one of the seven campus dorms and employees who provide essential services, according to The New York Times.

Last week, Columbus police broke up a large demonstration at Ohio State University and arrested 35 people for criminal trespass after protesters sought to set up tents on the South Oval at the university’s main campus. OSU President Ted Carter defended the arrests saying, “Ohio State’s campus will not be overtaken in this manner.”

At CWRU, events Tuesday on the KSL Oval will include “liberation yoga,” “anti-Zionist study breaks,” poetry readings and meditations. Oglesby said university officials did not say whether the demonstrators would be allowed to camp out Tuesday night.

“We have no confirmation at the moment,” he said. “We’ll still be working on that.”

Corrected: April 30, 2024 at 4:20 PM EDT
An earlier version of the photo caption on this story incorrectly spelled the name of the Kelvin Smith Library Oval.
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