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Drawing by Grant Hoskins, published with permission from the artist

Students Called for Divestment from Weapons Manufacturers as State Police Entered Campus

AMHERST, MASS.—Over 130 students, faculty, and community members were arrested by state police on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus on Tuesday evening and into the early hours of Wednesday morning at the behest of UMass Chancellor Javier Reyes. Several students were tackled and injured during the course of the arrests. 

Students reestablished an encampment on the university’s South Lawn on Tuesday afternoon requesting that the university disclose and divest its financial ties with weapons manufacturers like Raytheon who are supporting the ongoing genocide in Palestine. They also demanded that university sanctions brought against nearly 60 students who staged a peaceful sit-in in October be dropped. An earlier encampment was dismantled last week under threat of arrest.

While student and faculty representatives from the encampment met with Chancellor Reyes and members of the university leadership team on Tuesday afternoon, state police vehicles and personnel in riot gear were already gathering on campus.

“Chancellor Reyes’s response was repressive and caused harm to our students and the campus community he is supposed to be serving,” said Hoang Phan, an Associate Professor of English who has worked at the university since 2006. “Calling UMPD and state police against our students was his first response and it was a failure of leadership.”  

UMass faculty members were among the first to be arrested. “We screamed and begged for the cops not to touch our students, but we were ignored,” said Marianna Ritchey, an Associate Professor in the Department of Music and Dance who was arrested. “No one’s scholarship, teaching, or learning, are safe so long as administrators can call in the militarized armies of the state to police our speech with impunity. This overreach should concern everyone involved in the actual labor of running this university.”

A rally to recognize the ongoing ground invasion in Rafah and support those arrested was held on May 8th at the Student Union at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

A full report from the May 7th Negotiations with the Chancellor can be read on the FJP website here.

GRANT HOSKINS, aka Gadzooks Bazooka, is a self taught artist whose work can be found in galleries, zines, music album covers, and on the streets of Southern California. Instagram @gadzooks_bazooka

The UMass Amherst chapter of Faculty for Justice in Palestine is a collective of faculty and staff formed to express solidarity with students and colleagues who are organizing for Palestinian liberation and self-determination, and who are facing threats and attacks for their advocacy.


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