Duke University Academics and Staff for Justice in Palestine Stands with Gaza Solidarity Encampments

Duke University Academics and Staff for Justice in Palestine condemns the intensified repression of students at Columbia and Barnard and stands in solidarity with encampments and demands to end institutional complicities with Israeli genocide and occupation.

22 APRIL 2024


Duke University Academics and Staff for Justice in Palestine condemns in the strongest terms the violent repression and criminalization of student activists and organizers at Columbia University and Barnard College, who have escalated their work to stop the genocide in Gaza, Palestine. We convey our deep admiration for the courageous actions of student organizers who established the Gaza Solidarity Encampment on April 17, 2024, to protest the ongoing Israeli genocide of Palestinians and to call for campus actions to end university complicities with Israel. 

In the past few days, the Columbia and Barnard administrations have taken extraordinary measures to punish their own students. This has included calling on the NYPD to conduct violent arrests and detentions of over 100 students; suspending several dozen student activists; and banning at least 50 students from campus buildings and evicting them from their dorms.

Universities are meant to be communities that cultivate critical thinking, deeper understanding, and freedom of expression. Instead, universities and colleges here in North Carolina and all over the US are repressing students, staff, and faculty in hundreds of ways and criminalizing counter-hegemonic expression and peaceful protests. 

As students at private and public campuses across the globe are rising up and organizing, we have seen these trends of repression, surveillance, and punishment, including at Duke, under the specious guises of “security” and “safety.” We have noticed that these concerns are aligned with Zionist and Israeli interests, sidelining entire swaths of students, academics, and staff of all class, religious and ethnic backgrounds who attempt to speak up or organize for Palestinian liberation and against deep institutional complicities with their subordination.

We support our equivalent group, Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine at Columbia, Barnard, and Teachers College (FSJP-CBT), in their call for faculty to boycott campus academic events and commencement until all their demands are met and university administrations “halt disciplinary proceedings against students”; “comply with Columbia University Apartheid Divest’s divestment proposal to the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing; remove the New York Police Department from within and directly outside the Morningside campus; and reinstate Columbia’s chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace.” 

We reiterate and support the Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD) student coalition demands for transparency, divestment and amnesty.

We support unwaveringly our own student activists and organizers at Duke and vow to protect them at every step as they speak out and organize against the ongoing genocide in Palestine.

As part of the National Faculty for Justice in Palestine Network, we insist that universities and colleges: 

  • allow all community members including students to freely express their ideas and opinions rather than actively repress them;
  • demilitarize our campuses and refrain from militarizing and policing them further;
  • outline a policy for the future protection of speech, including and especially dissent;
  • take seriously campus demands that universities and colleges divest from companies supporting the military industrial complex and Israeli state violence, genocide, apartheid, and occupation; and
  • take seriously campus demands that universities and colleges boycott Israeli institutions through the BDS campaign. 

We uplift the struggles of the Palestinian people in occupied Palestine and in diaspora across the world in their pursuit of sovereignty, liberation, and return to their homes and lands. We continue to call, as we have done, for the immediate end of the longstanding siege and genocide in Gaza (now in its seventh month) that Israel, with U.S. military, economic, and ideological support, has been committing — and an end to Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the remainder of Palestine, especially in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.