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The Puma Press

The Student News Site of University Prep

The Puma Press

The Student News Site of University Prep

The Puma Press

A Look Inside the UW Student Encampment

Campus protests have found their way to UPrep’s backyard
Protestors gather at the quad at the University of Washington

This month, college protests have dominated national headlines. It started with students at Columbia University in New York City occupying the south lawn, then later Hamilton Hall; an unprecedented police response sparked further nationwide protests.

The University of Washington, right in UPrep’s backyard, has been home to protests since April 30. First established by the UW Progressive Student Union, they were later joined by a number of other student organizations, Resist US-led War Seattle, Students United for Palestinian Equality and Return UW, and the UW United Front for Palestinian Liberation. I visited the protest earlier this week to determine what exactly the students were fighting for and where exactly their values lie.
Since the Progressive Student Union was the first one to set up the encampment, I approached them first.

“We have three demands of the university’s administration. The first is to divest from Israel materially. The second is to cut all ties with Boeing. And the third is to end the repression of pro-Palestinian students,” the spokesperson for the PSU said.

These three demands were a common trend amongst protestors, but what surprised me most was the sheer diversity of the crowd. There were black-bloc anarchist groups alongside the Progressive Student Union, next to random high school students alongside alums. 

One alum I interviewed, who wished to be identified as Ali, stated that her reason for attending the protest was simple.

“I’m really here just to show my support and solidarity to students that are working towards a liberated and better future,” Ali said.

By contrast, some protestors saw the encampment as a piece of a much larger idea. 

“We’re anti-fascists and we see the struggle of students against the ongoing genocide to be part of the struggle against facism,” a black-bloc protestor, who wished to remain anonymous, said. 

Although the protest itself was calm, many people were on edge, ready for something to start at any minute.

“[There’s been] violence against students across the country. Things have not happened specifically at the UW, but recently, a large group of zionists and neo nazis attacked a student demonstration at UCLA,” the black-bloc protestor said. 

These fears almost came to fruition on Sunday, May 12, when a belligerent group of counter-protestors marched on the encampment. Fortunately, the protestors and the counter-protestors stayed peaceful. 

About the Contributor
Jahya Hinkel
Jahya Hinkel, Reporter
Jahya Hinkel is a reporter on the staff of the Puma Press. She is a junior and is new to the staff as of second semester of the 2023-2024 school year. Her favorite articles to write are spotlights on students doing eccentric things, and taking unique articles on current events at the school. Her favorite part of journalism is the community - watching everyone work together, bringing the paper together. Outside of journalism, she loves the local punk scene and spending time with friends.