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HomeBreaking NewsUW-Milwaukee Protesters BAN Cops From Campus Lawn Owned by Taxpayers

UW-Milwaukee Protesters BAN Cops From Campus Lawn Owned by Taxpayers

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UW-Milwaukee’s pro-Palestinian protesters have erected a sign outside their fenced-in encampment on a prominent campus lawn that declares that police are not allowed on the state taxpayer-owned property.

They are now calling it the “Falasteen Lawn,” which means Palestine Lawn. “Free Palestine.  No cops allowed,” the sign declared on May 6.

Uw-milwaukee encampment
The sign at the uw-milwaukee encampment.

And yet the inaction from city, state and campus officials continued Monday as the protesters get bolder and finals week approaches (how nice of them to create “focus hours” for student studying in between the press conference and speakers!).

First, the protesters started camping on a prominent patch of campus lawn in front of a prominent building. Then, they erected a makeshift wall around it, and placed security-vest-wearing guards at the entrances. Then, they planted MORE Palestinian flags. They’ve given it another name too: “UWM Liberated Zone.” At least one professor held a “teach-in” there.

Uw-milwaukee
Uw-milwaukee.

Think this isn’t politicized? Politico just reported that some of President Joe Biden’s biggest donors are helping fund pro Palestinian protests across the country (it’s tempting to point out that they aren’t doing him any favors).

One group involved in the UWM Protest has referred to the Milwaukee Jewish Federation as “a morally bankrupt, unscrupulous mouthpiece of the Israeli government.”  They appear to have also renamed UWM, a major state university, the “UWM Popular University for Palestine.” What was the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s offense?

Their CEO released a statement about the encampments, saying, “As Jewish students are taunted on campus, as protesters shamelessly call for peace while chanting for intifada, as protesters harass students with visible Jewish clothing and symbols, I can no longer remain silent about what our students have been experiencing on Milwaukee’s campuses, and I can no longer accept the silence of university administrations. Students shouldn’t have to stage a sit-in or storm a chancellor’s residence to be heard.”

The statement said that “this escalation comes just weeks after a group of protesters encircled and harassed Jewish students on UWM’s campus…The Jewish community expects Milwaukee’s largest public university to be a place where Jewish students and community members are welcome and accepted.”

A pro encampment page posted a screenshot they said was from a UWM professor cancelling the remainder of classes so students can attend the protest. In the screenshot, the professor, who was not named, directs student to websites and a petition in support of the pro-Palestinian cause and refers to “the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people by the nation of Israel.” The statement makes no reference to Oct. 7.

None of this is remotely acceptable. Students pay tuition for classes; they expect them to be held. Taxpayers pay professors’ salaries. One “teach-in” at the encampment instructed students about “the struggle against U.S. imperialism in Yemen.”

If the protesters were a group of MAGA kids or anti-abortion protesters, their tents would be removed within an hour.

Uw-milwaukee encampment
Uw-milwaukee encampment 5/6.

Now they says cops aren’t allowed. Not that it matters much. There was no sign of police at the encampment Monday, at least at that moment.

UWM’s PR office has refused to respond to questions about the inaction and why the encampment is being allowed to stand.

Uw-milwaukee encampment
Pro-palestinian encampment 5/6

“Welcome to the Milwaukee autonomous zone,” reads a sign outside the encampment.

Uw-milwaukee
Uw-milwaukee

Hey, it’s not an autonomous zone. It’s state property. And university officials have an obligation to make ALL students and faculty feel safe on campus. That includes Jewish students and faculty.

Uw-milwaukee encampment
Uw-milwaukee 5/6

As other universities, from UW-Madison to Columbia, have taken lurching steps to remove the encampments, UW-Milwaukee has done…nothing to remove theirs. That’s even though the Dean of Students, Adam Jussel, admitted in a public statement on Friday that some students “say they don’t feel safe walking past the encampment or hearing chants. Other students have said that if they speak out, they will be shouted down. And others say they just want to go to class and work and hope our campus is safe for everyone.”

Here’s why they feel intimidated. In addition to the signage, some mentioning “Jews,” there are people standing at the openings to the fenced-in area. One man was wearing a keffiyeh scarf at the entrance on Monday.

Although the scarf has complex historical meaning, it’s also been donned by a Hamas leader and a woman involved in plane hijackings, according to NPR.

To be clear, though, people can wear such scarfs on campus and protest all they want. UW-Milwaukee has a history of controversial protesters. It’s a public university and a free country. HOWEVER, no one else got to camp for days on university property, fence off a prominent piece of it, post guards, and then declare that cops aren’t welcome on state property.

Enough. Who is going to stand up and LEAD? Or is everyone cowering in fear?

So the dean of students admits that some students don’t feel safe because of the encampment, but the university doesn’t feel compelled to act? Where is Gov. Tony Evers? Mayor Cavalier Johnson? Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman?

On May 3, Jussel wrote, “The camping restriction (which is part of state law) represents one of those limitations. This law has nothing to do with the content of the speech or the act of protesting itself. In fact, there have been more than a dozen protests on campus in recent months that did not break the law. So, the encampment must end, safely.”

And yet on May 6, it remained.

Jim Piwowarczykhttps://www.wisconsinrightnow.com/
Jim Piwowarczyk is an investigative journalist and co-founder of Wisconsin Right Now.
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