The campaign calling on Princeton to divest from Israel. No more war profiteering, no more upholding apartheid, Princeton out of Israel now!

URGENT RELEASE: Statement from 13 Princeton Students Arrested During Clio Hall Sit-In

PRINCETON, NJ, APRIL 30—Yesterday afternoon at around 4:30pm, 12 Princeton University students and researchers, as well as one Princeton Theological Seminary student who is enrolled in a course at the University, staged a peaceful sit-in in the Clio Hall administrative building. We were accompanied by a member of the student press and Professor Ruha Benjamin, who acted as a legal and faculty observer. University public safety refused to respect press and legal observer rights, insisting that the student press member and Professor Benjamin would be arrested if they did not leave the building by 5:30pm. Although both left immediately, the student press member is now banned
from campus for 90 days.

All 13 of us were arrested, processed in the University’s Access, Diversity, and Inclusion offices, and charged with “defiant trespass.” We prayed and sang together while zip-tied and handcuffed. Criminal charges have been filed. Disciplinary charges are still pending.

After the initial arrests and after two of us were put on a TigerTransit shuttle for transport, hundreds of Princeton students, faculty, and community members successfully rallied to release us, barricading the front and back doors of Clio Hall and encircling the bus. Upon release, however, we were still banned from campus and evicted from university housing. Those of us who live in campus housing were immediately evicted and given just a few minutes to collect our belongings.

We emphasize that this action and its reverberations are not about us. We implore everyone to refocus on Israel’s horrific campaign in Gaza, which has killed enormous Palestinians. Officials believe that the current estimate of around 35,000 dead and over 70,000 injured is a serious undercount. Israeli forces are right now preparing to invade Rafah, where over 1.4 million Palestinians are sheltering, with or without a ceasefire deal. Princeton University and universities across the world actively profit from this bloodshed through their investments and institutional associations. These institutions aggressively repress student protest while refusing to make any statements condemning an active genocide.

We were moved to this action because the University’s administration has repeatedly refused to meet with the Princeton Gaza Solidarity Encampment’s bargaining team, comprised of students, postdocs, and faculty. The administration also rebuffed a request from six faculty for an emergency meeting regarding last Thursday’s arrests of graduate students Achinthya Sivalingam and Hassan Sayed. The University refused to meet with us using the “proper” channels, so we had to find our own. We will be here until the administration meets with us.

Our actions yesterday were informed and inspired by generations of brave student activists, such as those who rallied for divestment from apartheid South Africa in the 70s and 80s, as well as the movement currently sweeping the country. We stand in solidarity with our comrades now sitting in Hind’s Hall at Columbia. We have learned from these movements, and we will not be deterred. Our university praises its history of activism while criminalizing and violently assaulting activists on campus today. We call upon students and faculty at Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, as well as the greater community at Princeton and across the country, to join us in our struggle for peace, equality, and liberation.

We demand financial and military divestment from Israel’s massacre of the Palestinians, academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions and businesses, the cultivation of Palestinian affiliations, amnesty for all students involved in our encampment and sit-in, and that Princeton end their cowardly silence about Israel’s genocide.

Andres Blanco Bonilla, Computer Science ’24
Ariel Munczek Edelman, SPIA MPA ’25
Brooklyn Northcross, African American Studies ’24
Christian Bischoff ‘19, PhD Candidate, English
Christian Silva, MTS, Princeton Theological Seminary (affiliate student at Princeton University)
Collin Riggins (student press), African American Studies ’24
Hellen Wainaina, PhD Candidate, English
Jacob Neis, PhD Candidate, Classics
Khari Franklin, African American Studies ’24
Kristal H. Grant, African American Studies ’24
Samuel A. Nastase, Associate Research Scholar and Lecturer, Princeton Neuroscience Institute
Sara Ryave, African American Studies ’24
Sofia Menemenlis, PhD Candidate, Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *