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UO President talks encampment, students' health and safety

A sign that says "University of Oregon."
Brian Bull
Students at the the University of Oregon have been occupying a lawn on campus for nearly two weeks.

KLCC's Nathan Wilk and the Daily Emerald's Evan Reynolds sat down with the University of Oregon's president Karl Scholz for a joint interview Friday.

They discussed the ongoing pro-Palestinian student encampment, Scholz's thoughts on divesting from Israel, and more.

During the conversation, Scholz spoke about whether the University planned to use police to break up the encampment. He said the health and safety of students at the encampment is his priority.

When asked whether there were any actions by organizers that could lead to a potential police response, Scholz said he wouldn’t speak on hypotheticals.

The university has announced plans to pursue student conduct code violations around its camping policies. But Scholz said the processes will be restorative and student-centered.

“We very much want to support our students, and so we’re not in a sanction, punishment mindset,” said Scholz.

However, Scholz said he believes the encampment itself presents safety concerns, and he hopes to find a way to resolve it.

Scholz also criticized several of the encampment's current demands. He said divestment from Israel wouldn't be an effective way to create change.

"I would continue to ask people to focus on that the actions that can have discernible or meaningful effects on the situation in the Middle East," said Scholz, "while at the same time helping the University of Oregon in our educational mission to be as strong as we possibly can."

He also refused requests for UO to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, saying he believes deeply in a philosophy of institutional neutrality.

A full transcript of the interview is available here.

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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