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Students in Vermont join pro-Palestine encampments across the nation

This is a developing story and may be updated.

More than a hundred students at the University of Vermont gathered outside the campus library Sunday evening eating matzo ball soup and charoset, holding signs in support of Palestine.

They were attending a Passover seder organized by a local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace. Several said they planned to spend the night — and could be there for a while.

“I think indefinitely, until our demands are met,” said a student named Charlotte, who did not share her last name. “Today is the first day. We set up at 2 o’clock.”

Students said they were inspired by similar actions at universities across the U.S., including a recent encampment that went up at Middlebury College over the weekend.

The campus group organizing the encampment, Students for Justice in Palestine, say they want the university to disclose its financial investments, participate in an academic boycott of Israeli institutions and cancel the commencement speaker announced earlier this month – the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, because of her vetoes of U.N. resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“We don’t think that’s the kind of person that represents our values as students at the University of Vermont and we don’t think it would be befitting of the university to award her an honorary degree,” said junior Trey Cook.

Several students said they planned to attend protests planned for Monday afternoon, including Tatum Palmer, a first-year student.

“This is a cause I really believe in,” she said. “I think it is inherent to my values, and I don’t think values are anything without direct action.”

The protests at UVM appeared peaceful Sunday. Across the country, hundreds of students were arrested this weekend as a growing number of at universities mounted organized opposition to Israel's handling of the war in Gaza.

Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders posted a video Friday refuting a statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who criticized the ongoing campus protests across the U.S. as antisemitic.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message.

Disclosure: Lexi Krupp is an adjunct audio journalism instructor at the University of Vermont.

Lexi covers science and health stories for Vermont Public.

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