CAIR-NJ Welcomes Successful Student Negotiations with Rutgers University Administration, Urges University to Work Towards Divestment

(NEWARK, NJ, 5/07/2024) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today welcomed Rutgers University’s students reaching an agreement with the Rutgers administration after a four-day long encampment.

Rutgers students negotiated with the university administration who committed to the last eight of the ten demands brought forward.

The demands were as follows

“1. Divest from any firm or corporation materially participating in, benefitting from, or otherwise supporting the state of Israel’s settler colonialism, apartheid, and genocide of Palestine and the Palestinian people, in accordance with the principles for divestment listed in university policy 40.2.14. 

2. Terminate its partnership with Tel Aviv University including in the HELIX Innovation Hub. 

3. Accept at least 10 displaced Gazan students to study at Rutgers University on scholarship. 

4. Provide resources for Palestinian and Arab students in the form of an Arab Cultural Center on each Rutgers campus. 

5. Establish a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a long-term educational and collaboration partnership with Birzeit University, Ramallah, Palestine — in accordance with precedent set by William Paterson University. 

6. Name “Palestine” and “Palestinians” in all future communications related to Israeli aggressions in Palestine (as opposed to “Middle East” “Gaza region” etc.), and release a statement from the Office of the President acknowledging the ongoing genocide against Palestinians, its impact on the Palestinian community at our university, and advocating for a ceasefire. 

7. Hire senior administrators with cultural competency and knowledge about Arabs, Palestinians, Muslims, anti-Palestinian racism, and Islamophobia.  

8. Hire additional professors specializing in Palestine studies and Middle East studies, institute a center for Palestine studies, and establish a path to departmentalization for Middle East studies. 

9. Display the flags of occupied peoples – including but not limited to Palestinians, Kurds, and Kashmiris – in all areas displaying international flags across the Rutgers campuses. 

10. Provide full amnesty for all students, student groups, faculty, and staff penalized for exercising their First Amendment right to protest Rutgers University’s support for Israeli human rights violations, and voice support for faculty and staff who have been publicly targeted for exercising their academic freedom.”

While the university administration did not meet the ask for divestment and termination of Rutgers University’s partnership with Tel Aviv university, CAIR-NJ welcomes the value of what was accomplished through the negotiations.

CAIR-NJ also welcomes the Rutgers administration for not going down the same path as Columbia University, and for not using violence and law enforcement to silence student protestors. The administration’s peaceful negotiations with students avoided potential civil rights violations, arrests, and violent escalation

The two main demands are still outstanding. CAIR-NJ urges that the conversation towards divestment should remain at the highest priority for Rutgers administration and its students.

SEE: RUTGERS ADMINISTRATION AGREES TO EIGHT DEMANDS PUT FORTH BY ENCAMPMENT PROTESTS 

In a statement, CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said:

“We welcome the work done by students at Rutgers New Brunswick University who were successful in negotiating with the university administration to meet eight out of their ten demands. 

Rutgers students have made undeniable progress, but there must continue to be pressure on Rutgers to divest from firms or corporations materially participating in, benefitting from, or otherwise supporting the state of Israel. Divestment is the number one priority of the student movement and those supporting them. Efforts to achieve it should passionately continue.

Students have every right to protest and assemble for Palestine. Universities across New Jersey must make it a priority to protect their students as they exercise these rights.” 

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

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CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Executive Director Selaedin Maksut, sMaksut@cair.com, 908-668-5900 ext. 101, 908-267-3119

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