Day 2 Protesters at UT Issue Anti-Israel ‘Campus Demands’

Protesters on UT Austin campus | Image by Sydney Asher/The Dallas Express

AUSTIN — Anti-Israel agitators at The University of Texas at Austin announced a list of ‘campus demands’ on the second day of protests on campus.

The “planned peaceful action” was originally scheduled only for April 24; however, concerned faculty called for a second gathering on April 25 following the events of the previous day, which led to the arrest of nearly 60 individuals.

In a “Statement From Concerned UT Austin Faculty: In Response to UT Austin’s Militarized Response to Student Event,” faculty condemned UT Austin President Jay Hartzell’s call upon law enforcement in response to hundreds of students walking out of class to congregate en masse.

“You have put our entire student body at risk,” the statement said, addressing the university’s president and administration.

It concluded with a call to action: “No business as usual tomorrow. No classes. No grading. No work. No assignments. Gather at the main hall in front of UT Tower at 12:15 pm as planned with TSEU.”

The Texas State Employees Union (TSEU) had originally planned a rally for April 25 in protest of the university’s recent decision to lay off at least 60 employees in “diversity, equity, and inclusion”-related positions. As previously reported by The Dallas Express, 20 employees at the University of Texas at Dallas in DEI-related positions were also let go.

Anne Lewis, a member of the TSEU executive board, addressed the crowd gathered at the April 25 protest attended by DX, explaining their decision to move the DEI rally to April 29 to make space for today’s anti-Israel rally.

“What happened here yesterday was so important,” Lewis stated. “I applaud all of you.”

The protest on April 25 featured faculty and student speakers with the campus Palestinian Solidary Committee (PSC). The protest organizers announced a list of “campus demands” aimed at the university.

A leader from PSC announced the demands as such:

  • UT Austin’s divestment from companies complicit in Israel’s military action in Gaza, including weapons manufacturers.
  • Complete amnesty for UT Austin PSC and student protesters at UT Austin.
  • A call by UT Austin for the Travis County DA’s to drop all charges against protesters.
  • The resignation of UT Austin President Hartzell.

The crowd erupted into cheers and a chant of “Hartzell out” in response to the list of campus demands.

Video of protesters at UT campus | Video by Sydney Asher/The Dallas Express

Other speakers at the gathering included U.S. History Professor Lauren Gutterman, who expressed that she and fellow faculty no longer have confidence in Hartzell’s leadership.

“The same president that called the cops on our students is the same president that fired 60 staff,” said Gutterman.

Austin’s District 9 Council Member Zohaib “Zo” Qadri was also in attendance, stating that the number of arrests at the April 24 protest left him “pissed” and disappointed.

“That was bulls**t,” said Qadri.

There were no arrests at the April 25 protest as the crowd quickly disbanded following the conclusion of the speeches.

The protest on April 24 made national headlines as hundreds of students and faculty marched through campus, chanting “f**k Greg Abbott” and “free Palestine,” as The Dallas Express reported from the scene.

Demonstrators were met by university police, the Austin Police Department, and state troopers, resulting in an hours-long standoff.

The Office of the Dean of Students sent a letter to UT’s Palestine Solidarity Committee the night before the protest they organized on April 24, stating that the event would not be allowed to “proceed as planned,” according to KVUE.

“Please be advised that you are not permitted to hold your event on the University campus,” the letter read. “Any attempt to do so will subject your organization and its attending members to discipline including suspension under the Institutional Rules.”

Gov. Abbott responded to the April 24 protests in a post on X, saying, “These protestors belong in jail. Students joining in hate-filled, antisemitic protests at any public college or university in Texas should be expelled.”

Hartzell sent an e-mail to the UT community the evening of April 24, stating, “Today, our University held firm, enforcing our rules while protecting the Constitutional right to free speech,” the letter read in part. “Peaceful protests within our rules are acceptable. Breaking our rules and policies and disrupting others’ ability to learn are not allowed.”

Those arrested were taken to Travis County Jail, where demonstrators gathered outside overnight for fellow protesters to be released.

It is unknown when or if there will be another protest at UT Austin. President Hartzell has not yet responded to PSC’s demands for his resignation.

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