Adobe Stock/David Haas


College students across the United States are protesting the occupation of Palestinian territory by Israeli forces.

College students across the United States are protesting the occupation of Palestinian territory by Israeli forces. Last week Emory University became one of the sights to see student resistance.

On April 25th, protestors in Atlanta established an encampment on Emory’s campus to demand the university divestment from Israel and Cop City, a police and fire department training campus under construction in Dekalb County. Around 10 a.m., Police began to swarm the encampment, arresting 28 people. 

Student testimonies from the Atlanta United Coalition emphasized that the encampment protests were peaceful and included support from Emory faculty members who Atlanta Police (APD) “arrested and brutalized.” 

I watched vulnerable unarmed students who were not resisting get tased and pinned by armed police officers,” said Moza Shora, a graduating senior at Spelman College. “and I’m angry, and I want you to be angry too. I want justice for my friends. I want Emory APD and the state police to face consequences for their actions. I want you to get mad and stay mad and do something.”

These events led to an emergency rally to condemn Emory’s actions at 4 p.m.

Several Georgia representatives released statements in response to these events. Rep. Mike Collins praised APD’s actions, tweeting, “Not sure what y’all are doing up north, but we don’t give them the time to encamp. Tazers set to stun!” 

Governor Brian Kemp released the following statement.

“Across the country, Americans have watched with horror as radicals have terrorized Jewish students and forced them to evacuate from their dormitories and classrooms. College campuses are designed to be places of learning and often civil discourse, but in Georgia, they will never be a safe haven for those who promote terrorism and extremism that threatens the safety of students.

I am thankful for state and local law enforcement who responded swiftly to Emory University’s call for support and restored order on campus.

Just as we have always done in the past, we will respect the right to peacefully protest, but those who choose to make the unwise decision to use our college campuses to intimidate, make threats, promote violence, or in any other way break the law will be met with the full force of the law and brought to justice.”

Rep. Ruwa Romman released the following statement with several colleagues.

“We the undersigned Georgia legislators are deeply alarmed by reports of excessive force used by Georgia State Patrol in responding to community members protesting on the campus of Emory University this morning. The use of extreme anti-riot tactics by Georgia State Patrol, including tasers and gas, is a dangerous escalation to protests which were by all accounts peaceful and nonviolent. 

Our nation’s founding was itself an act of protest. America’s history is replete with examples of protest serving to perfect our union. And our constitutional right to protest remains protected today. Yet state leaders have recently begun treating protests as violent, a violation of RICO laws, or even “terrorism.” State leaders have created an environment where state police feel free – or perhaps are directed – to respond to normal peaceful protests with violence. 

We cannot allow this dangerous repression to continue. Regardless of one’s views on this or any other issue, there is no justification for this kind of excessive force. We call on all state officials to immediately deescalate and prevent further harm to our constituents.”

The next day, Emory students assembled to lead a rally alongside other protestors to support Palestine and demand the dropping of the charges in the previous day’s arrests. According to reports from 11Alive Journalist Cody Alcorn, the rally began in the Quad, and protestors marched across the campus. The protestors stayed on campus for the most part, even when police arrived on the scene.

Emory University President Gregory Fenves released several statements over last week, with the latest one apologizing for inaccurately stating that most people who started Thursday’s encampment were not affiliated with Emory.

To read the president’s statements, click here.

Today, Emory’s president sent a letter announcing that Emory will relocate Commencement activities to the Gas South District in Duluth, Georgia due to concerns about safety and security. Details surrounding the relocation are on Emory’s Commencement Website.

Leave a comment

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.