Anti-Israel protesters claimed they got concessions from UChicago. The school says that’s not true.

Anti-Israel protesters at the University of Chicago claim that the university has agreed to an initial set of demands put forth by anti-Israel protesters who have set up an encampment at the school, but a statement put out by the school casts doubt on that claim.

In a joint post on Instagram, the National Students for Justice in Palestine, Palestinian Youth Movement, US Palestinian Community Network, and UChicago United for Palestine said the college has agreed to one item in order to start negotiations with the camp.

“As a precondition for meeting with administration, the power of our encampment forced the University to establish a Gaza Scholars at Risk Initiative, which will bring 8 at-risk Palestinian scholars to work and study at UChicago,” the groups’ statement said but added, “We’re appalled to have to pull the University’s teeth for them to protect not only academic freedom but individual human lives.”

The statement goes on to say the new initiative was agreed to without putting any conditions on the encampment.

With their first concession seemingly met, the anti-Israel groups say they are far from done.

“However, this falls far short of our demands. The fight to divest, disclose, and repair continues. We scould not accept a deal that would put constraints on our movement while doing nothing to end UChicago’s material complicity in Israeli genocide and colonialism.”

The statement claims the demands for true divestment were “emptied of all substance” when they reached President Paul Alivisatos.

After the Instagram post was published, classics professor at the college Dr. Shadi Bartsch said many faculty have “no idea” what is going on after Alivisatos had previously said the encampment was in violation of rules.

In response to the protesters’ claims, the college said the program already exists and is open to anyone throughout the world.

“There are material inaccuracies and mischaracterizations in the information being shared on social media. In particular, the Scholars at Risk program is an existing initiative at the University of Chicago and other leading universities and colleges. The program is open to scholars throughout the world. All scholars impacted by this conflict are being encouraged to participate. In addition, UCPD presence on the Quad has fluctuated based on needs and circumstances and at no point did we reduce — or agree to reduce — the security presence based on negotiations.”

The encampment at the college spurred a counter-protest, with students carrying American flags. Anti-Israel protesters rallied to “defend” their camp, but it did not result in a riot similar to the camp at the University of California Los Angeles. While the counter-protesters were not looking for a fight, scuffles still broke out.

“Due to our staunch commitment to keeping our counter-demonstration peaceful, we neither pushed through them nor initiated any physical contact, but instead simply stood our ground, chanting ‘USA’ with our fellow marchers and waving American flags. Unfortunately, the occupiers did not reciprocate our commitment to peaceful protest. They shoved, punched, broke a speaker, and grabbed phones,” the leaders of the counter-protest wrote for the Chicago Thinker.

“One protestor shoved me (Mitch) and hit my phone; another punched my friend John in the face. Yet another seized an American flag and attempted to rip it away from a fellow counter-protestor before being shooed away by me (Arthur),” the group added.

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