Anti-Israel Sit-In Staged at UT Dallas

UT Dallas students during sit-in protest | Image by NBC 5 DFW

In the wake of anti-Israel demonstrations at college campuses across the United States over the past week, a group of students at the University of Texas at Dallas staged a sit-in on Tuesday, taking their demands to the school president.

Approximately 100 anti-Israel students participated in the peaceful protest, which began at 1 p.m. outdoors on campus, with some students linking arms and offering prayers for the residents of Gaza. Later in the day, the protest moved inside the administrative building, where students sat along both sides of the hallway leading to the university president’s office. 

Armed with computers and cell phones, the students spent the next several hours bombarding administrators with emails and phone calls listing their demands. 

The protesters’ main demand is for the university to divest itself from any companies that produce weaponry that is being used against the people of Gaza, as The Dallas Morning News reported. 

“This is our money that’s going into these companies that are providing Israel with these weapons, and not just Israel, but other countries around the world. So again, we’re making it clear that we don’t want to be complicit,” said Fatima Tulkaren, a spokesperson for Students for Justice in Palestine, per NBC 5 DFW. 

In addition, the students want university officials to make a statement in support of a ceasefire in Gaza and to condemn Israel’s retaliation for the terrorist attack carried out by Hamas on October 7. 

About seven hours into the sit-in, protest organizers announced that UTD President Richard Benson had agreed to meet with them to hear their demands in person, a gesture that the students took as a sign of progress. 

“This is a step forward towards divestment,” said 3rd-year student Noor Saleh, per DMN. 

UTD officials confirmed in a statement that Benson planned to meet with Palestinian students to listen to their viewpoints, adding that he would also meet with a group of Jewish students for the same reason, as DMN reported. 

The protesters voluntarily dispersed after the announcement, and there were no reports of violence or the need for police intervention during the sit-in.

However, on Wednesday, a similarly planned protest at the University of Texas campus in Austin was met with firm opposition from university leaders and a heavy police presence, and more than a dozen students were arrested, as reported by The Dallas Express. Protests at Columbia and Ivy League colleges have also ended in arrests. 

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