Protesters deny DePaul University's request to vacate encampment as negotiations 'are at an impasse'

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators have remained on Lincoln Park campus quad since April 30

Stephanie Wade Image
Sunday, May 12, 2024
Protesters deny DePaul University's request to vacate encampment
Pro-Palestinian protesters denied DePaul University's request to vacate their encampment Sunday ahead of two-week mark amid negotiations stalemate.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After nearly two weeks of the encampment on DePaul's Lincoln Park campus, demonstrators say they've reached a stalemate with the university. Negotiations are at an impasse after the university refused to meet their demands.

It is one of the last remaining encampments on college campuses in the Chicago area. DePaul student demonstrators remain steadfast in their mission.

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The protesters have called for a ceasefire in Gaza and organizers of the encampment want the university to be transparent about investments in Israel.

I hope at least at some point throughout this week we can continue negotiations again
Henna Ayesh, DePaul Divestment Coalition

"This would all go away. This would not even be here the minute they declare that they would publicly divest from all companies that support Palestinian suffering, we would move this encampment 100%," said Henna Ayesh with the DePaul Divestment Coalition.

The demonstration has been on the quad since April 30.

Saturday night, DePaul President Robert Manuel said in a statement that discussions over the encampment reached an impasse. He believes students set up the encampment with "sincere intentions to peacefully protest," but they've "inadvertently" created public safety issues.

"Together with the Board of Trustees, we have worked to substantively respond to each of the demands the students have put forward. However, at this point, we are concerned that we are not on a path to understanding," the statement read in part.

The encampment poses problems for DePaul's annual outdoor concert "FEST" scheduled for next Friday on the quad.

"Our festival is coming up soon at DePaul University, and they're really trying to rush things to get us out as soon as possible," Ayesh said. "But we're going to push through it, and I hope at least at some point throughout this week we can continue negotiations again."

READ MORE | DePaul president says discussions with pro-Palestinian encampment organizers 'are at an impasse'

"I really hope that a music festival that could very well be organized at another space on campus or at a wide variety of venues throughout Chicago isn't the reason that this administration decides to conduct a raid," DePaul Student Body President Parveen Mundi said.

Visitors were at the Lincoln Park campus Sunday, including a man from Orland Park, Mohammed Abukhamireh, who brought his two daughters to witness the collegiate support for Gaza.

"I have to come here because I have to show these kids what's going on overseas," Abukhamireh said. "They have to know what Israel is doing to Gaza and they have to feel the same way they're feeling."

It remains unclear how things will move forward at the school. The university has requested protesters vacate the quad by noon Sunday, but that did not happen. Now,

Students told ABC7 they are preparing for and coming up with plans in case the university tries to forcibly clear the encampment themselves.