Encampment cleared: Campus climate update

Ending the encampment

May 31, 2024

Facts about the encampment removal: We understand that some in our community disagree with the removal of the encampment on the Diag May 21. The University took this action to ensure the safety of the people in the encampment and our larger community, and we did so only after encampment occupants ignored or rebuffed numerous requests to follow University policies and leave voluntarily. We stand by the decision.

Unfortunately, several false or misleading narratives have surfaced recently. To keep our community informed, the University is offering the following information to ensure everyone has the facts. Read more

May 21, 2024

President Santa J. Ono statement: The war in Gaza and reactions to it have proven challenging, not just for our university community, but for universities and other institutions both in our country and around the world. Times like these are exactly why freedom of expression is so important and must be honored at public institutions like the University of Michigan. When it comes to freedom of speech, the right to assemble, and the right to protest peacefully, the University’s commitment has been, and will remain, unwavering. Particularly on a university campus, where we are educating young people to become thoughtful citizens, the importance of these freedoms cannot be overstated and, at the University of Michigan, we have a proud history of honoring them and will continue to do so. But those rights are not limitless. The University can and must regulate the time, place, and manner of expression to ensure one group’s right to protest does not infringe on the rights of others, endanger our community, or disrupt the operations of the university. Read more

Beyond the Diag

May 15, 2024

The pro-Palestinian encampment built on the U-M Diag remains, despite requests by U-M officials to leave. Student protesters demand the University divest money from companies profiting from the war in Gaza. Below is a recap of recent events and University statements/policies. Find more information at the Office of the President website and the Key Issues web page hosted by the Office of Public Affairs.

Office of the President
Incidents at Regents’ residences

May 15, 2024
More than 30 student protesters staged demonstrations at the private residence of at least one U-M Board of Regents member and went to several others’ residences. The following student groups, who also have organized the encampment on the Diag, claimed responsibility on social media: Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) at the University of Michigan, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE), and Transparency, Accountability, Humanity, Reparations, Investment, Resistance (TAHRIR) Coalition. Read more

Key Issues Statements on:

  • Free speech on campus
    April 18, 2024
    Freedom of speech is a bedrock principle of the University of Michigan community and essential to our core educational mission as a university — it is reflected in our history, policies and practices. The University has long welcomed dissent, advocacy, and the expression of the broadest array of ideas, even those that could be unpopular, upsetting or critical of the university. At the same time, the University’s deep commitment to free expression does not extend to speech or conduct that violates the law or university policy.  This includes targeted speech that involves bullying, defamation, destruction of property, harassment or threats. Read more
    Standard Practice Guide Policies — Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression
    Office of Student Conflict Resolution — Statement of Students Rights & Responsibilities
  • Divestment
    March 28, 2024
    “After deliberation, [the Board of Regents] has decided to stand by our longstanding policy: We will continue to shield the endowment from political pressures and base our investment decisions on financial factors such as risk and return.” Read more

(Lead image: D. Holdship)


  1. Mike Jefferson - 1980

    Would UofM be so “tolerant” if the “protesters” were white supremacists advocating for the murder of blacks? How long would such “protests” be tolerated? Thought so. Cowards!


  2. Lee Mitgang - 1971

    For those who missed it, I strongly, strongly recommend Thomas Friedman’s column in the May 8 NYTimes titled, “Why the Campus Protests are So Troubling.” For my money, you won’t find a more clear-headed, fair-minded and yes, empathetic analysis — and plea for sanity and historical perspective — from a person whose views stem from more than forty years of writing and on-the-scene reporting about the Middle East — as opposed to the many ideologues of all stripes who’ve been at it for about 15 minutes.


    • Michele Worden - 1988,1999

      Exactly. A great read. It seems like the protest are an example of a failed educational system


  3. Booth Muller - 1969

    At Lee Mitgang’s suggestion, I did read Thomas Friedman’s article, and I recommend it to others. However, I struggle to see how a long-term solution can be reached while Hamas remains in Gaza. And I can’t see how to get rid of Hamas without lamentable deaths and injuries to innocents on both sides. I admire Friedman’s position in many ways, but he’s apparently unable to describe a realistic path to achieve his goal of a durable peaceful two-state solution, arrived at through peaceful means.
    I despair of seeing any “reasonable” solution in the foreseeable future.
    I pray I’m wrong!


    • Michele Worden - 1988, 1999

      As a practical matter, it is impossible to rebuild Gaza as long as Hamas remains in control of it. There would be no safe access and the international community would not invest in the rebuilding or economic development. The horror of the children growing up in a tent city forever is too sad for words. Nothing gets better for them unless Hamas is not in control.


    • Nino Marion - 1959

      Regarding Mr. Friedman’s article, the unprecedented appearance of the student protests may be the catalyst needed to help bring about the results that he and many of us pray for.


  4. Kathie Gourlay - 1970, 1977

    I don’t see how one can get rid of Hamas by trying to kill them all given the collateral damage of killing others too. Hamas members’ children and relatives will keep taking up the cause. It hasn’t worked in 75 years. Something different needs to be done. A diplomatic solution is needed, Something that will allow all the residents of that land to live with dignity, self-determination, peace, and security.


  5. David Boden - 1981, 1985

    Liberty to speak out: Yes
    Threatening others: Absolutely NO
    Students on campus speaking out: Yes
    Outside agitators on campus: HELL NO.
    Signs and flyers: OK
    Harassing and blocking student access to classes: Absolutely NOT.
    Temporary gatherings in daylight hours: OK.
    Attacking, commandeering, and destroying taxpayer paid facilities: Expulsion, Arrest, Deportation.

    Fairness to all, Accountability and Responsibility by all.

    The alumni and future students are watching and actively deciding whether to donate, recommend, or attend. As a Michigan Man, I still teach graduate students at another institution and actively recruit my best students to residencies at Michigan. I am now reluctantly hesitating to do so.


  6. Deborah Holdship

    The encampment was cleared on May 21, 2024. Read President Santa J. Ono’s statement here: https://president.umich.edu/news-communications/messages-to-the-community/ending-the-encampment/
    — Ed


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