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UO promises to forgo suspensions if students leave encampment now

The encampment, pictured on the evening of May 9.
Nathan Wilk
The encampment, pictured on Sunday, May 5, 2024.

The University of Oregon has given another offer to the pro-Palestinian encampment on its campus.

The deadline for protestors to leave without penalty expired Tuesday. The university says it now plans to punish the students for violating its camping and reservation policies.

However, in a letter Thursday, the university’s negotiating team said it could ensure that no students face suspension, expulsion or restitution for those violations.

In exchange, it said the encampment must disperse within two days, and organize all future events through official channels.

The university also offered to increase educational efforts around Palestine, and schedule a meeting between student organizers and UO leadership to share their perspectives.

However, it declined some of the encampment’s core demands. It said the university wouldn't cut ties with Jasper Ridge Partners, Israel or Israeli universities.

It also said it wouldn't call for a ceasefire, although it would release a statement calling for peace between Israel and Palestine more generally.

“As an institution, our leaders will not take positions on political issues that do not tie directly to the university’s operations,” UO’s letter read. “This is essential to fostering the climate of free speech that is central to the university’s purpose.”

On Thursday evening, an encampment representative said the students had voted to decline UO’s offer.

They previously said they wouldn't disband until their demands for a Boycott-Divest-and-Sanction agreement were met.

They’ve now invited university representatives to a public negotiation session Friday morning. According to Students for Justice in Palestine, the school’s administration has accepted the offer.

On Wednesday, the Associated Students of UO passed a resolution supporting the call for divestment. The action by the student government group is non-binding and does not create any obligations on the part of the university.

Nathan Wilk joined the KLCC News Team in 2022. He is a graduate from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. Born in Portland, Wilk began working in radio at a young age, serving as a DJ and public affairs host across Oregon.
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