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COMMENTARY: Open letter in support of Newark Palestine solidarity encampment

The encampment at Rutgers—Newark is the longest-standing encampment in the state. – Photo by @Makemba007 /

We, the undersigned, are Rutgers faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members who write in full support of the Rutgers—Newark encampment, its calls for complete divestment from Israel and its unwavering commitment to reinvest the Rutgers endowment into the Newark community.

On May 21, Peter Englot, the senior vice chancellor for Public Affairs and chief of staff at the Newark campus, emailed the encamped Newark Solidarity Coalition members, urging them to leave. The email cited end-of-the-year events, such as graduation, and new events for incoming students taking place where the encampment is held as the reason for disbandment.

We support the Newark campers and the Newark Solidarity Coalition's decision to remain encamped despite these orders, and we ask that Chancellor Englot and the administration agree to continue negotiations with the Newark campers in good faith and rescind the University's injunction to disband. 

The Newark encampment is now the longest-standing Palestine solidarity encampment in New Jersey. While its members are in conversation with the administration about fulfilling some of their demands, the demand to divest has not yet been met. On May 2, the administration at Rutgers—New Brunswick agreed to 8 of the 10 demands brought forth by the Students for Justice in Palestine at Rutgers—New Brunswick (SJP), the Endowment Justice Collective and the New Brunswick encampment protestors.

This agreement comes on the heels of the overwhelming majority of the students who voted, on all three campuses, to divest the University's endowment from companies, organizations and institutions that profit from, sustain or contribute to Israel's human rights violations.

These students have additionally called on Rutgers to terminate its partnership with Tel Aviv University (TAU), including TAU's presence at the New Jersey Innovation and Technology Hub in New Brunswick, a project that totals $665 million. We endorse these calls for divestment, and we affirm our unequivocal support for the students who voted for them. 

Consequently, we echo the calls from the students at the New Brunswick campus, and we endorse the commitment of the Newark campers and the Newark Solidarity Coalition to continue to encamp until Rutgers agrees to divest from Israel and end its partnership with Tel Aviv University, in addition to their subsidiary calls to redistribute the University's material support to the Newark community, reproduced below:

  1. Rutgers must leverage its significant influence and power over the city of Newark to ensure the passage of a ceasefire resolution. This resolution must demand an immediate, permanent ceasefire in Gaza, call for an end to the genocide and advocate for the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people. 

  2. As a land-grant institution, Rutgers has a responsibility to serve its community. Therefore, we demand that Rutgers divest from the apartheid state of Israel and reinvest in the Newark community by allocating three to five of its properties to establish a Community Land Trust dedicated to providing free public housing. 

  3. Rutgers must offer free tuition and forgive all outstanding student loan debt for all Newark residents.

  4. Similarly, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Essex County College and Seton Hall University are expected to adopt the measures outlined in demands two and three. This includes divesting from the apartheid state of Israel, reallocating resources to establish Community Land Trusts for free public housing, offering free tuition and forgiving all outstanding student loan debt for all Newark residents. 

  5. Rutgers must commit to monetary support for grassroots organizations as part of its reinvestment efforts in Newark. Furthermore, the Newark Solidarity Coalition should have the authority to oversee and approve the funding allocations to these groups. 

  6. Rutgers Law School must provide pro bono legal services to all Newark residents earning less than $50,000 as a single-family household. With additional members, further considerations must be applied.

  7. Rutgers Medical and Dental Schools must offer free health care services to all Newark residents and forgive any existing medical and dental debts owed by Newark residents.

  8. Rutgers must immediately cease all military recruitment activities on its campuses and use its significant influence and power within the city of Newark to ensure the cessation of military recruitment at all educational institutions in Newark. This includes but is not limited to: all public and private schools, colleges and universities within the greater Newark area.

Emily Coyle is a lecturer in the English Department at Rutgers—Newark. A full list with over 200 signees of Rutgers students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members can be found here.

*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

YOUR VOICE | The Daily Targum welcomes submissions from all readers. Due to space limitations in our print newspaper, letters to the editor must not exceed 900 words. Guest columns and commentaries must be between 700 and 900 words. All authors must include their name, phone number, class year and college affiliation or department to be considered for publication. Please submit via email to by 4 p.m. to be considered for the following day's publication. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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