Ohio Student Protestors Say Their Movement is Gaining Momentum

Students have demonstrated in support of Gaza at campuses across the country

click to enlarge Students for Justice for Palestine spearheading a protest at Case Western in November 2023 - Maria Elena Scott
Maria Elena Scott
Students for Justice for Palestine spearheading a protest at Case Western in November 2023
After hundreds of Ohio students gathered at Kent State University over the weekend to protest the conflict in Gaza, on the 54th anniversary of Vietnam War protests that left four students dead there, student organizers say their movement is gaining momentum.

Rachael Collyer - program director with the Ohio Student Association - said students condemn the violent mass arrest of protesters last month, and are escalating action.

Collyer said students are driven by a moral compass currently lacking in elected leadership.

"Students are clear that genocide is wrong and supporting genocide is wrong," said Collyer. "And they're organizing wherever they have influence to demand that their universities, those institutions reflect their values."

Protestors say they are calling on universities to divest from any financial connections to Israel, and to acknowledge the ongoing genocide in Gaza.

Critics of the protests argue the demonstrators are creating a hostile campus environment for Jewish students and supporters of Israel.

Collyer said student demonstrators are steadfast and focused on their cause, despite the violence.

"There has been such excellent organizing that's been done and done for years," said Collyer. "And we are here in solidarity as part of a vast movement of students and student organizations."

In a video address to the nation last week, President Joe Biden defended students' right to peaceful protests, but said there was "no right to chaos."

So far, an estimated two thousand people have been arrested at dozens of campuses across the nation.

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