Johns Hopkins University and student protesters agree to end encampment

BALTIMORE– After 14 days, Johns Hopkins University and student protesters reached an agreement on dismantling the protest-related camp on the beach on the Homewood campus.

According to a statement from the university, protesters agreed to dismantle the camp on Sunday and not restart it, effective immediately. Protesters not affiliated with the university participating in the encampment have been instructed to leave campus.

Since the protest began on April 29, the university has sought a peaceful solution to the encampment’s presence, which violates university policies designed to protect free speech and ensure campus safety.

Within the agreement, the university promised to review protesters’ key issue of divestment, using the university’s existing process. JHU has also committed to concluding student conduct procedures arising from the encampment, if protesters agreed not to engage in further disruption of university activities, including graduation.

“Conduct procedures will continue for any complaint involving violence, assault, property damage, discrimination, harassment, intimidation or threats,” according to the statement.

“Bringing this situation to a peaceful resolution has been an urgent priority for us since it began almost two weeks ago. Hopkins is deeply committed to free speech, but it must be done safely and in a way that respects university rules and regulations. “We are grateful to the many members of our community – faculty, staff and students – who helped us through this time,” said JHU President Ron Daniels. “This is a truly difficult time in our world and at our university, with the anguish of the ongoing conflict and human tragedy in Israel and Gaza. It is my fervent hope that at Hopkins we can continue together to focus on the important work of a university – to engage in dialogue and learn from each other about challenging and complex issues like these.”

On Sunday, protesters gathered on the beach, where the camp once stood, to make their voices heard. The group marched across campus, passing Gilman Hall, the president’s residence and the Blue Jay statue. Students are free to paint over this statue, so protesters added the Palestinian flag and their message to the university.

“Our message is simple: Palestinians are human,” said one protester. “The agreement we reached is by no means considered a victory, but it was a first step.”

In the agreement, the university says it will accelerate a review of its investments in the Israeli conflict.

This is progress according to protesters, who called for a review of university finances by Hopkins’ Public Interest Investment Advisory Committee.

The university says amnesty was also granted to students who were undergoing conduct procedures due to the camps. Hopkins President Ron Daniels said in a statement: “The university is committed to having what will undoubtedly be a challenging set of conversations about divestment that will require us to fully engage with the history and complexities of the conflict between Israelis, Palestinians and neighboring states.

“Just because the tents are down doesn’t mean the fighting is over. Let me tell you, we will be back. And we will continue to organize until we see a free Palestine,” said one protester outside Daniels’ home on campus.

According to the university statement, the agreement also says protesters can no longer disrupt university activities, including graduation, or reestablish an encampment. Graduation is scheduled for May 25, just ten days after the camp was dismantled.