Officials at Case Western Reserve University are preparing for another night of pro-Palestinian student protestors sleeping at their campus encampment.  

Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Peter Whiting told Signal Cleveland he anticipates allowing the same set of rules to apply again Tuesday evening. 

On Monday, those not officially affiliated with the university had to leave by 8 p.m. Students and faculty – with proper identification – were allowed to stay in tents on the grassy oval outside the university’s library. Those staying were required to take down their tents by Tuesday morning. 

Whiting said the administration is taking the future of the encampment “sort of day-to-day.”

“We’ve put, at this point, no limits on it, and they [students] haven’t told us that they’re stopping or how long they would be running, so day-to-day,” he said. 

Even with just days left in the spring semester, senior Jad Oglesby insists students are not leaving. He estimated the peaceful crowd of a few dozen people Tuesday was made up of about 90% students and 10% outside community members. 

He said the university’s move to allow camping overnight was “heading in the right direction.” But, he said, they’re still not satisfied. 

“I still don’t believe they are taking us seriously,” Oglesby said. “I think they think this is a temporary thing.” 

Case Western Reserve, students “not working on a deal” 

Case Western Reserve is one of about 70 U.S. colleges with an encampment.  Near Chicago, administrators and student protestors at Northwestern University reached a deal earlier this week.  

Here’s what they agreed on at the private university in Evanston: One aid tent can be left up at the university’s encampment until June 1. In exchange, Northwestern agreed to pay for five Palestinian students and two faculty members to attend the university, among other action items. 

At Case Western Reserve, Vice President Whiting said, there is no agreement with student protestors at this point. 

“We’ll listen, of course, to the demands, but we’re not working on a deal,” he said.

He said conversations between students and the administration have been “straightforward.” 

Case Western Reserve president not talking with student protestors

Some students have long been vocal about their displeasure with university President Eric Kaler on his handling of the issues between Israel and Palestine. When asked if Kaler is planning to meet with those in the encampment, Whiting said that has not been one of student protestors’ official demands.  

Oglesby, the student, said he doesn’t expect to see Kaler “anywhere around campus.”  

“I think he’s consistently made the wrong decision after wrong decision, and he’s having his underlings clean up after him,” he said. “I think that just shows you the clear and blatant disconnect between our administration – the head of our university – as well as the students here at Case Western.” 

In an email Monday to the university community, Kaler said the school supports students’ rights to free speech, adding that “Case Western Reserve police will protect their right to peaceful freedom of expression in accordance with our policies.” 

Those policies, he said, include not tolerating any type of hate speech and making sure student protestors’ actions “do not unreasonably interfere with university operations.” About 12,200 students total attend the University Circle institution. 

Students “do not intend to leave” Case Western Reserve’s encampment 

Oglesby said protestors “do not intend to leave until we have our demands met.”  

Many of those demands align with what other students are asking for nationwide. Case Western Reserve students’ list of demands include asking the private university to divest any financial interests in Israel and restore the rights of its Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. University officials suspended the chapter earlier this year for posting flyers in restricted areas. 

Case Western Reserve officials declined to comment on details of the university’s investments when asked by Signal Cleveland.

Higher education reporter for Signal Cleveland in partnership with Open Campus.