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St. Paul, MN: Hamline University students occupy campus building for Palestine

By Kim DeFranco

Hamline students occupy Old Main, the campus building that houses the University administration and its president. | Fight Back! News/Kim DeFranco

St. Paul, MN – Starting April 26, Hamline University students are began occupying a building in support of Palestine. Members of the Hamline Students for Justice (HSJ) organized the Friday afternoon rally along with a group of 30 other students. They gathered outside of the Old Main building which houses the university’s administration offices. The fiery crowd started the rally chanting, “Free free Palestine!” and “Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes.”

June Gromis, a junior at Hamline and member of the HSJ explained, “On March 4, the student government put forth a resolution calling for divesting from Israel and it passed a two-thirds student majority. The resolution calls for a written statement from the president condemning genocide in Palestine, disclosure of implicated investments and divestment. However, since the vote, we've gotten no response from her or anyone with the authority to answer our demands.”

Even though the students have been holding weekly rallies before and after the student vote, Hamline president Dr. Kathleen Murray shows no interest in acting upon the student’s resolution.

“We are tired of them ignoring us,” Gromis continued, “We are here to add more pressure and to show they can’t ignore us, the students.”

As the students chanted, “Money for schools, money for water, put an end to Israel’s slaughter!” and “Disclose, divest, we will not stop we will not rest,” and held signs, “34k dead in Gaza”, “Disclose, divest Now!” and “Hear us! Your students,” six students went into the administration building to deliver a letter to the president demanding her to condemn Israel’s genocide on the Palestinian people and to meet the demands stated in the student resolution.

She was not in her office, so the students began to occupy the building until their demands are met. Soon after the occupation started, the students received veiled threats that there could be some type of student conduct violations if they don’t leave. The public safety officers locked the main door from the inside and outside and refused to let anyone else in at the other entrances. Later, after some discussions with the dean of students and the head of public safety regarding the students occupying the building, they were allowed to stay.

Hamline University is a private college set in the city of Saint Paul with many working-class students of different nationalities.

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