The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer


BREAKING: Fordham SJP Begins Gaza Solidarity Encampment

The students began their demonstration in the Lowenstein Center in the morning of May Day
The encampment in the Lowenstein lobby was organized by Fordham’s SJP.

Fordham Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) began a Gaza solidarity encampment in the lobby of the Leon Lowenstein Center in the early hours of May 1. The demonstration joins similar encampments launched by students on campuses nationwide to demand an immediate end to Israel’s actions in Gaza which they say constitute a genocide of Palestinians.

Protesters set up tents in the Leon Lowenstein Center lobby, while a protest has formed outside the 60th Street and Columbus Avenue entrance.

The ground and plaza levels of the Lowenstein Center are closed, with New York Police Department (NYPD) and Fordham Public Safety officers lining all entrances and exits. Public Safety officers in front of the Leon Lowenstein Center entrance redirected students to enter on 62nd Street. Ram Café on the plaza level remains open.

An announcement in McMahon Hall shortly after 10 a.m. instructed residents to use the outdoor plaza to exit their residence hall and re-enter the Lowenstein Center.

A RamSafe alert sent at 9:52 a.m. on May 1 said that “there are no disruptions to classes or operations … For the safety of our community, the Lowenstein Center entrance has been closed. Students, faculty, and staff should enter campus from 62nd Street — all individuals will have to present their Fordham ID for entrance. The Ram Van loading area has been moved to 62nd Street.”

An announcement in McMahon Hall shortly after 10 a.m. instructed residents to use the outdoor plaza to exit their residence hall and re-enter the Lowenstein Center. Public Safety officers are not permitting entrance to the lobby of the Leon Lowenstein Center from any entrance or hallway. 

Campus Activities Board Lincoln Center (CABLC) announced the cancellation of “The Bash,” an annual event that had been scheduled for May 1 in a post on the board’s Instagram story. An email to CABLC’s mailing list said the decision was made in order to not overshadow students’ voices and included resources for students who want to support Palestinian solidarity.

SJP organizers announced the encampment in an Instagram post which was cross-shared by Fordham SJP, John Jay SJP and the Fordham Palestinian Solidarity Network, a university-sanctioned club that was formed in response to the administration’s refusal to recognize SJP due to its affiliation with the national SJP network. 

The post listed the group’s demands, including divestment from companies “relating to Israel and the Zionist state’s genocide of the Palestinians” and calling for a ceasefire. It also called on Fordham to cut ties with study abroad programs in Israel such as the partnership with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and to reinstate SJP, which has been denied club status on campus since its initial formation in 2016.

“We will not move until our demands are met,” the statement concluded.

Protesters in support of the encampment have congregated on the corner of 60th Street and Amsterdam Avenue as well as on the plaza overlooking the entrance.

The formation of the encampment at Fordham follows the forcible clearing of the demonstrations at Columbia University and the City University of New York (CUNY) by the NYPD late on April 30.

The Columbia encampment was in place from April 17 to April 30. Tensions between the demonstrators and the administration heightened on April 30 when students occupied Hamilton Hall, a central academic building on campus. In response, University President Minouche Shafik authorized the NYPD to clear the encampment. Officers arrested dozens of protesters, many of them students, overnight.

As reports emerged of the NYPD’s arrival at Columbia, Fordham SJP called on its Instagram followers to travel there and join solidarity protests outside of campus. In the press release announcing the formation of its encampment, Fordham SJP described it as “in direct response to … the police repression at the Columbia University and City University of New York (CUNY) campuses.” 

This is a developing story, with more information to come.

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  • M

    Megan KozubMay 1, 2024 at 3:50 pm

    As a former news editor of the observer, just want to say great job here. Keep up the good work.

  • S

    Sean McCooeMay 1, 2024 at 12:51 pm

    How to keep apprised of live activities for this protest?