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Johns Hopkins Encampment Calls On University To Divest, Demilitarize

Above photo: The proposal from the Hopkins Justice Collective Palestine Solidarity Encampment calls on Hopkins to divest from specific companies, including Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner.

The proposal requests that Hopkins divest “from all companies with ties to the state of Israel,” demilitarize “by severing its financial relationships with the U.S. Department of Defense,” and disclose “all financial relationships with the state of Israel.”

The protestors who are encamped at the Johns Hopkins University shared their formal proposal on Friday with the university, requesting that the school divest “from all companies with ties to the state of Israel,” demilitarize “by severing its financial relationships with the U.S. Department of Defense,” and disclose “all financial relationships with the state of Israel.”

The proposal, which the protestors said was submitted to the university’s Public Interest Investment Advisory Committee (PIIAC), calls on Hopkins to hear the request “immediately” because of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza caused by Israel’s war with Hamas.

Later Friday, the protestors sent a message proposing a meeting with university officials on Tuesday afternoon. They said they are “ready to approach the table” with university officials, and said they are waiting on a response from the university.

The PIIAC received a request in 2015 that, two years later, led the university’s board of trustees to divest from companies that produce coal as a major part of their business.

The proposal from the Hopkins Justice Collective Palestine Solidarity Encampment calls on Hopkins to divest from specific companies, including Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics; to sever ties with the Department of Defense; and to “disclose the private and public investments and financial ties that Johns Hopkins University maintains with the state of Israel.”

The letter includes links to funding databases, contracts and other forms, including a National Science Foundation page that shows Hopkins received more than $1.4 billion from the Department of Defense in 2022.

The protest encampment, which began Monday, April 29, has contracted and expanded in size as the week has worn on. Thursday evening, State Del. Gabriel Acevero visited and spoke to the protestors.

 

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Also on Thursday, Hopkins President Ron Daniels shared a letter that said the university’s next steps could have consequences that are ”dangerous and damaging for everyone involved” and implored the protestors to abandon their encampment.

He wrote that the school would “take additional steps as necessary to protect the safety of the community, including moving forward with appropriate disciplinary and legal actions.” University officials have also said anyone protesting overnight is “trespassing.”

Protesters on Friday said they weren’t aware of any students that had yet faced academic discipline and called the letter from Daniels a “distraction” from their demands, including divestment.

A Johns Hopkins spokesperson did not respond to questions about disciplinary proceedings, legal action or the divestment proposal submitted by the protestors.

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