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UW-Milwaukee’s Inaction on the Pro-Palestinian Encampment Is Shameful

Wisconsin protests at UW-Milwaukee.

UW-Milwaukee must act NOW.

UW-Milwaukee’s inaction regarding the pro-Palestinian encampment on its campus is shameful. Get a spine.

At least at extremely liberal UW-Madison, police, given the green light by university officials, briefly tried to clear the encampment there and made arrests (including of faculty).

Meanwhile, at UW-Milwaukee, the hands-off stance fails to protect Jewish students and faculty and subjects them to intimidating scenes and signs. Ridiculously, the protesters are demanding things that UW-Milwaukee can not deliver (because the university doesn’t invest in weapons manufacturers already, for example). Enough.

Uw-milwaukee encampment

The university has blinked. And blinked. And blinked…even worse, the university’s key response was to announce it has joined the White House in calling for a ceasefire (i.e. a prevent-Israel-from-defending-itself-after-the-October-7-massacre ceasefire.) How is that appropriate for a taxpayer-funded university?

Can faculty, students, and taxpayers opt out of this call for a politicized “ceasefire” with a terrorist regime (Hamas), saying “not in my name”? Maybe some of us don’t want to appease terrorists who rape and murder women, the elderly, children and are still holding Americans hostage.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian flag flies on campus in a declared “Milwaukee autonomous zone” on land that belongs to state taxpayers; people chant “from the sea to the river” (yes, we know that’s backward, but that’s what they were chanting); and Jewish students and faculty (and others) walking down the sidewalk are treated to scenes like this:

On May 3, UWM’s Dean of Students wrote a public communication that said, “I’m reaching out today to talk about what’s happening on our campus, share our expectations again, and ask for help in keeping UWM’s campus safe and welcoming.”

Does the above scene look particularly welcoming?


The university failed to act even when the protesters at UW-Milwaukee erected a WALL made of plywood and other materials and fenced off an area of STATE property that students and faculty traverse to get to a major building. Then, the protesters set up security guards in vests to guard the entrance (although they didn’t stop people from entering, as far as we know).

This is intimidating. Stating the obvious, but students and faculty should not have to enter a protester-manned gate to walk onto a prominent piece of STATE property.

Dean of Students Adam Jussel then outlined the problem with allowing the encampment to continue, admitting, “I’ve heard 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.”


But UWM is ignoring those pleas.

UWM’s response? “The camping restriction (which is part of state law) represents one of those limitations,” Jussel wrote. “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.” His statement, however, then fizzled into an on-the-other-hand-this, on-the-other-hand-that, without ever stating what the university would do to make sure it ends.

On Saturday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the UWM encampment remained.

Why haven’t the police cleared it? Jussel did not say. UWM PR won’t say either.

That’s despite the fact that UWM, on April 29, reminded protesters, “Camping on campus grounds is unlawful and violates Chapter 18 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code: UWS 18.07(4).”

We tried to get to the bottom of the university’s enabling and appeasement. Who has made the call to not clear the tents and tear down the fence? We’ve heard from multiple law enforcement sources that various officials off-campus don’t want bad headlines. We’ve heard the Milwaukee police chief went weak-kneed, that Gov. Tony Evers called off police intervention, and that Milwaukee’s mayor wasn’t thrilled about the idea of police action, especially in the lead-up to the RNC.

However, officials have been woefully non-transparent when we tried to confirm those claims. UWM’s PR staff simply ignored WRN’s questions, including why the university was not clearing the encampment and who made the call. Evers’ office did not respond at all, even though the encampment is on state property.

Milwaukee police PR suggested speaking with UWM. “Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) respects the rights of all individuals who wish to peacefully express their First Amendment rights and is committed to working with UWM Police Department to ensure public safety. Please reach out to UWM Police Department for any further information regarding,” MPD responded, essentially failing to address the core question, which is this:

UWS 18.07(4): “No person may picnic or camp on university lands, except in those areas specifically designated as picnic or camping grounds, or as authorized by the chief administrative officer. No person may violate any rules and regulations for picnicking or camping established and posted by the chief administrative officer. For purposes of this subsection, camping shall include the pitching of tents or the overnight use of sleeping bags, blankets, makeshift shelters, motor homes, campers or camp trailers.”

We would note that UWM’s police chief is currently on administrative leave for reasons the university has not informed the public.

Mayor Cavalier Johnson’s spokesman, Jeff Fleming, did respond, and said, “The Mayor has not participated in decisions about actions or inaction at UWM. He has called for people engaged in debate to respect the thoughtful opinions of others, and he has said law enforcement intervention should be a last resort, used only when necessary.”

So… university rules should be ignored until it’s necessary to enforce them. Huh? Isn’t it necessary to enforce the rules…. when they are broken?

Let’s be clear. People have a right to peacefully protest on campus. UW-Milwaukee has had a number of controversial protesters over the years, from the “Pen Guy” to anti-abortion crusaders. It’s a public university, we have a first amendment, and this must be allowed. But none of them, as far as we know, have camped on campus and fenced off a section of it, erecting guards at the entrance.

Milwaukee and campus leaders (and Gov. Evers) have been completely feckless in their handling of this even as their counterparts at universities like Columbia (belatedly) finally discover their spines and other chancellors distinguish themselves (UNC) or mete out suspensions.

If a group of MAGA students (or outside agitators) or anti-abortion protesters set up a camp on campus, fenced it off with a makeshift wall, and stood guard at the entrance… how long would it stay up?

There is your answer. There is zero chance the above hypothetical scenarios would be tolerated. Professors and university officials would be wringing their hands about how unsafe the situation was for students! The tents and fence would be removed within the hour.

Left-wing agitation and defiance of the rules is pandered to in U.S. academe, despite the fact it’s historically had deadly consequences (see: Sterling Hall bombing); heck, forget conservative protests. Prominent conservative speakers are routinely socked with security fees on major American universities, which, until now, were obsessed about MICRO triggers toward liberals.

UWM must act NOW.

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