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Jewish Groups Slam UW-Milwaukee’s Encampment Agreement as Offensive, ‘Dangerous’

Three major Jewish organizations are slamming UW-Milwaukee’s agreement with pro-Palestinian encampment activists, saying it is “among the most offensive and dangerous of any university agreement reached with encampment protesters over the last two weeks.”

In the extraordinary May 14 statement, the groups called on the UW’s Board of Regents to “negate” the agreement, expressed concern about anti-Semitism on campus, and slammed Chancellor Mark Mone, saying he had “capitulated to protesters” and failed to “adequately respond to anti-Semitic incidents on campus since October 7.”

Hillel Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Jewish Federation and ADL (the Anti Defamation League Midwest), issued the joint statement “in response to the May 12 agreement released by Mone, Provost Andrew Daire, Vice Chancellor for DEI Chia Vang, and Dean of Students Adam Jussel. The groups’ statement comes as Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman released his own statement, criticizing the UWM agreement and saying he was disappointed in it.

“We call on the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System to immediately negate this agreement and take the aggressive steps necessary to ensure Jewish – and all – students are able to attend UWM and all UW campuses without the threats of harassment, intimidation and hate just because of their identity,” the Jewish groups wrote.

In response, UWM released a statement of its own, saying the university is “deeply concerned by the statement made by Hillel Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, and UWM leaders are taking time to understand the concerns before responding comprehensively, which we plan to do soon.”

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that, at a news conference Monday, protest leaders “kept the door open to set up tents again if they are unsatisfied with university administrators and the foundation” and “declared victory.” The encampment has now been taken down as per the agreement.

For many days, UWM leaders refused to act as the encampment activists fenced off a large section of campus property, manning it with their own “security” guards, who monitored the actions of police and others with walkie-talkies. They did nothing to remove the encampment as activists wrote “f*ck Israel” graffiti on a campus building and renamed it for a man who praised Oct. 7 as moral.

Although students use that building, Mitchell Hall, to attend classes, they would have to enter through a prominent door by crossing “from the river to the sea” graffiti. We also spotted a pro-October 7 flyer hanging inside the encampment and a set of encampment “rules” that banned people from speaking with or assisting police, who were called “pigs” in prominent signs.

The UWM agreement draws a moral equivalency between the Hamas terrorist group and Israel; calls for a ceasefire; demands that Israel release detainees (referred to by UWM as “hostages”); and comes very close to accusing Israel of committing genocide. That’s despite the fact that UWM, as a state-funded university, is supposed to remain politically neutral.

Uw-milwaukee on may 12.

The dean of students admitted that some students felt threatened by the encampment, yet still, for days after that, it remained.

The Jewish leaders wrote that Mone “capitulated to protesters who violated UWM codes of conduct and state law, vandalized university property, and used harassment and intimidation to fuel anti-Semitism on campus. The agreement is among the most offensive and dangerous of any university agreement reached with encampment protesters over the last two weeks.”

According to the joint statement, Mone’s agreement comes “after seven-plus months of him refusing to meet with Jewish students and failing to adequately respond to anti-semitic incidents on campus since October 7. The chancellor’s statement provides no meaningful support to UWM’s Jewish community and fails to acknowledge the fear and pain Jewish community members have endured due to the actions of protesters during the encampment and before.”

Mark mone uwm photo.

In contrast, the statement continues, “Chancellor Mone gave protesters who fueled hate and violated school policies at UWM a seat at the table and even invited them to nominate individuals and faculty to serve on key university committees and working groups.”

“The chancellor’s decision to grant immunity to individuals who mocked and broke school rules and the law sets a dangerous precedent for future incidents on campus. And, in another desperate attempt to appease the protesters, Chancellor Mone appears to have used his public university position to compel a private company to submit to demands of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign,” the statement continues.

Chancellor Mone “has been negligent in his duty to ensure all students feel and are safe on campus,” the statement says.

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