Johns Hopkins encampment ends after protesters and university reach agreement – The Baltimore Sun


Protesters occupying the pro-Palestinian encampment at Johns Hopkins University and the Homewood campus have reached an agreement to end demonstrations immediately.

In exchange for not demolishing and reopening the encampment, Hopkins will conduct a “timely review of the key question of divestment protesters,” according to the University of Baltimore in a Sunday news release.

The group leading the protest, the Hopkins Justice Collective, said in its Sunday news release that Hopkins is seeking to expedite its Public Interest Investment Advisory Committee process, a pre-existing process within the university for divestment, by five months. Have committed. The Board of Trustees will meet to discuss the PIIAC proposal for disinvestment in March or June 2025.

Hopkins' release said the university has also agreed to drop student conduct proceedings related to the camp, provided there are no further disruptions on campus and any incidents related to violence, property damage, intimidation or threats are resolved. The proceedings should be kept outside. However, according to the HJC release, the participation of those identified may be used against them in future disciplinary hearings for violations of the Code of Student Conduct.

Hopkins said protesters who are not affiliated with the university must leave the campus.

On Sunday afternoon, protesters were setting up camp on a lawn known as “The Beach” on campus.

The collective called the multi-day talks “by no means a complete victory” but “a step toward Johns Hopkins' commitment to disengagement from the colonial state of Israel.”

“Hopkins is deeply committed to free expression, but it must be done safely and while respecting the university's rules and norms,” ​​Hopkins President Ron Daniels said in Sunday's release. “It is my fervent hope that at Hopkins, together we can focus our attention on the important work of a university – engaging in dialogue and learning from each other regarding challenging and complex issues like these.”

The agreement follows failed talks between protesters and the university earlier this month. The protesters were given two hours to acknowledge that the HJC had deemed their demands for divestment from Israel a “weak” proposal, otherwise they could face disciplinary action from the university.

Pro-Palestinian protesters packed up their tents Sunday morning and prepared to clear out the occupation that had filled the front lawn of Johns Hopkins University.  (Amy Davis/Staff Photo)
Pro-Palestinian protesters packed up their tents Sunday morning and prepared to evacuate the occupation that had filled the front lawn of Johns Hopkins University. (Amy Davis/Staff Photo)

During six hours of talks, administrators proposed considering divestments and reductions in the 18-month process.

The protesters continued to occupy the cantonment and were presented with a letter to sign by the administrators the following day. The letter promised not to disrupt the upcoming commencement of the university, to leave the camp and not to return. In return, the university would not discipline student protesters in the encampment.

Negotiations collapsed, and the university's demands to disclose all financial ties to Israel, lobbying efforts to increase militarized spending, and an accounting of its use of military technology developed at Hopkins were not met. The halt continued.

The camp began on April 28, when students set up tents on the beach. Initially, the protesters said they would not leave until Hopkins sold its endowment in companies that support Israel, such as BlackRock, Elbit Systems, Northrop Grumman, Palantir, General Dynamic, Lockheed Martin, and Google. Hopkins' protest was peaceful and did not cause any major disruption to university operations.

The movement is in response to Israel's offensive in Gaza following the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas. Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, Canada and the European Union, killed about 1,200 people and took about 250 hostage in the attack. Since then, Israel has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, according to the local health ministry.

Items left at a pro-Palestinian encampment at Johns Hopkins University, as protesters packed up their tents and evacuated the campus's front lawn Sunday morning.  (Amy Davis/Staff Photo)
Items left at a pro-Palestinian encampment at Johns Hopkins University, as protesters packed up their tents and evacuated the campus's front lawn Sunday morning. (Amy Davis/Staff Photo)

Hopkins is one of several schools across the country that have organized pro-Palestinian demonstrations during the final weeks of the academic year, ranging from single protests to multi-week-long encampments. Hundreds of college protesters have been arrested as a result of activism. Due to disruption caused by the demonstrations, Columbia University rescheduled its commencement.

Students at Towson University in Baltimore County have also been urged to divest from Israel, with the school's student government association passing a resolution Tuesday urging divestment. According to the movement's website, the goal of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is to end international support for Israel and pressure it to comply with international law.

In a statement Thursday, the Maryland Republican Jewish Council said it strongly condemns the proposal.

“Adopting this BDS resolution will further isolate Jewish students at the university,” the release said.

Baltimore Sun photographer Amy Davis contributed to this article.


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