Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Student protesters in support of Palestine will discuss at 6 p.m. on how to continue

As the afternoon approached, about 15 protesters were participating in the encampment on the third day.
As the afternoon approached, about 15 protesters were participating in the encampment on the third day.

While many Miami University students prepared for a busy day of Saturday activities, others continued to camp outside of the university’s administrative building, Roudebush Hall, calling for the university to disclose and divest its funds from companies with ties to Israel.

The encampment, which was started by Miami’s chapters of Student for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Young Democratic Socialists of America, started on Thursday, May 2, with around 50 participants, 30 of which spent the night. As the group entered their second full day of camping out, the number of protesters had decreased, with about 15 participants waking up outside on Saturday.

Photo by Alice Momany | The Miami Student
While around 30 protesters spent the night on Thursday, around 15 protesters spent the night on Friday.

According to the university property policy, the group can occupy the area for 48 hours, and Maysa Constandinidis, president of Miami’s SJP, said Miami administrators were giving them until 9 p.m. until they have to clear out.

Last night, Darek Sanabria Valderrama, a member of SJP, said it was “undetermined” if the group would leave by 9 p.m.

Constandinidis and Sanabria Valderrama are the only two participants of the encampment taking media requests.

Photo by Alice Momany | The Miami Student
Two officers with Miami University monitor the encampment at the seal, which is directly behind Roudebush Hall.

In a statement published by the university on Friday, it said the university is continuing to monitor the situation. University police are have been continuously present at the encampment.

“Miami University staff will continue to monitor events across Ohio and here on campus and respond accordingly, protecting the right to freedom of expression while enforcing university policies,” the statement says.

While protesters in support of Israel were at the seal behind Roudebush on Thursday, they did not camp out and did not rejoin on Friday. In an email sent out to students by Miami’s chapter of Hillel, it stated the organization was in “​​constant contact” with Miami administrators and police, and the building was open “to serve as a secure space for Jewish joy.” The Miami Student had also reached out to Miami’s chapter of Chabad for comment on how they are assisting Jewish students during the encampment in support of Palestine. 


In the early afternoon, four students joined Rabbi Yossi Greenberg for morning prayer for the Jewish Sabbath at the Chabad house.

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

On the first night of the encampment, Greenberg and some students stood a distance away from the activity by the seal behind Roudebush.

Although the students said they had not experienced harassment or verbal assaults by the participants in the encampment, they did say walking by the area the past few days have made them “uncomfortable.”

“You see some of these things happening at other universities, and you’re worried that it’s going to happen to you,” Eli Levsky, a senior international studies and political science major, said.

Although the students agreed that they did not support what the encampment was for, they said they did not currently have plans to counterprotest.

“We want to get angry, we want to get upset, but instead, we come here to our community (Chabad), and we talk, we vent,” Levsky said.

Greenberg said while many Jewish students may feel “frustrated” or “annoyed,” there is a strong Jewish community at Miami for them to feel safe.

“The Jewish students are not victims,” Greenberg said. “The Jewish students walk around standing tall and strong.”

2 p.m.

At the encampment, Constandinidis said day three was going well, despite a few drunken students yelling insults during the night.

She said she met with Miami’s Dean of Students BaShaun Smith earlier in the morning, where she asked to have a meeting with him, Senior Vice President of Student Life Jayne Brownell and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Scott Walter on Monday, but Constandinidis said there are no definitive plans yet to meet.

“What we’re hearing from them is they do not have a list [of investments],” Constandinidis said. “… What they’re saying is they’re going to get more information about investments and about how finances and investments work … and that they will talk about it on Monday with us. We thought that meant that they will meet with us.”

Photo by Alice Momany | The Miami Student
Some of the protesters participating in the encampment picked up littered confetti off the ground.

As the 9 p.m. deadline approaches, Constandinidis said they don’t know what their plans are in terms of packing up.

“It’s going to be on our own terms, not on their terms,” Constandinidis said.

4 p.m.

Around 4 p.m., Smith and Scott visited the encampment to tell the participants what would happen if they were not off the property by 9 p.m.

“If you don’t leave, YDSA and SJP will be summarily suspended,” Smith said. “What that means is you’re no longer recognized as an organization on campus, and you have no rights as an organization on campus.”

As part of Miami’s property policy, camping is only permitted on campus if it’s part of a student organization activity. Individual members of student organizations can request overnight reservations, but will be held responsible to the Code of Student Conduct.

Sanabria Valderrama asked Smith what action would be taken against students individually if they did not leave at 9 p.m., to which Smith replied that they were not taking questions.

After a discussion with the executive boards for each organization, Constandinidis said they will vote at 6 p.m. on whether or not to leave at 9 p.m. They will also have a visit from Brownell between 7 and 8 p.m.