The Undergraduate Council of Students released a list of demands for the University in response to the increased “violence in Palestine and Israel” in a Monday email sent to all undergraduate students.
The email called upon Brown to “acknowledge the longstanding and historical oppression of the Palestinian people,” support an “immediate end to all violence” in Palestine and Israel and exempt the 20 student demonstrators arrested after a Nov. 8 University Hall sit-in from University disciplining, among other demands.
- Acknowledge the longstanding and historical oppression of the Palestinian people
- Acknowledge the rise of antisemitism and Islamophobia on campus and nationwide
- Create more resources for Arab, Palestinian and Muslim students
- Leverage its influence to condemn all loss of life and advocate for an immediate end to all violence
- Continue its legacy of embracing free speech and right to protest
- Encourage the legal charges against the 20 student protesters arrested to be dropped
- Exempt the 20 students from University disciplinary proceedings
- Initiate a conversation among administration, students and faculty about divestment
The 20 students arrested Nov. 8 — part of BrownU Jews for Ceasefire Now — resolved not to leave University Hall until President Christina Paxson P’19 P’MD’20 committed to calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and supporting a divestment of the University’s endowment from “any company that profits from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land,” as cited in the 2020 report from the Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies.
“We are deeply committed to upholding the right to activism on our campus,” UCS wrote in the email, pointing to the campus-wide referendum it sponsored in 2019 falling for divestment. “We recognize that the threat of police presence and actions during campus activism makes international, undocumented and other minority students feel unsafe to exercise their rights to free speech and protest on campus.”
UCS determined its specific asks to the University after observing student concerns at its Nov. 15 listening session on Israel-Palestine and through its “anonymous submission form,” wrote UCS Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Skye Alex Jackson ’25 in a message to The Herald.
In Monday’s email to the Brown community, UCS expressed “immense gratitude” to the students who participated in Wednesday’s listening session. Over 100 students attended the event and 11 speakers shared statements related to the Israel-Palestine conflict and current campus climate, The Herald previously reported.
“This collective effort has significantly influenced this message and will persist in shaping our future actions and initiatives,” UCS’s Monday email reads.
With the email, UCS intended to “address the increase of violence in Palestine and Israel, and the ensuing student activism on this campus,” the communication reads. “Though UCS has not often addressed international issues in the past, we find it imperative to now acknowledge the severity of recent events and their salience on our campus.”
“We hope that (the email) will offer a message of support and acknowledgment to all students who have been directly or indirectly impacted by the ongoing violence in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank,” Jackson wrote.
In the email, UCS extended “sincere condolences and empathy” to Israeli and Jewish students and expressed solidarity with Palestinian students. The council also conveyed “disappointment in the University’s failure to acknowledge the longstanding historical oppression of the Palestinian people” and “strongly (condemned) all forms of targeted harassment” on campus.
“We stand by our commitment to represent all students affected by this crisis, including non-Israeli and non-Palestinian people, acknowledging the profound impact that this situation has had on the entire Brown community,” Monday’s email reads. “Collectively, we mourn the innocent lives lost in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank and denounce, in the deepest sentiment, the violence against and murder of civilians.”
According to the email, UCS has had “ongoing dialogues” with peers and University administrators — such as the Division of Campus Life and Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity — to “ensure the effective and equitable communication of student support resources.”
UCS hopes to continually express student concerns to University administrators and establish a campus-wide “space for community care.”
Monday’s email also shared a “comprehensive list” of student resources at Brown and a Nov. 3 campus-wide email from University administration about Brown’s policies on freedom of expression and protest.
Kathy Wang is a University News editor who oversees the student government and international student life beats. She is a junior from Beijing, China studying Nonfiction Writing and Comparative Literature. Growing up, she has changed her English name at least five times.