A group of students affiliated with the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities’ chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) disrupted the monthly Board of Regents meeting Dec. 8, demanding the institution sever ties with Israel.
“Board of Regents, you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide,” the protesters could be heard yelling at the board.
Pro-Palestine protesters interrupted the University of Minnesota Board of Regents meeting on Dec. 8 chanting "Board of Regents you can't hide, we charge you with genocide." pic.twitter.com/ri2oRfKhrt
— Alpha News (@AlphaNewsMN) December 14, 2023
“Members of the audience, we have heard your message,” Janie Mayeron, chair of the Board of Regents, said as she tried to regain order. The board then exited the room for a temporary recess when the protesters would not stop chanting. The meeting resumed a few minutes later.
The protesters accused the university of being “incredibly entrenched in the Zionist state of Israel,” pointing to connections through research partnerships, study-abroad programs, and investments in Israeli companies, activist organization Fight Back! reported.
In particular, the protesters objected to the university’s study-abroad program for engineering students, claiming it offers internships with weapons companies in Israel, according to Fight Back!
They further criticized the University of Minnesota for having connections with universities in Israel, along with investing money into Israeli companies and purchasing goods from Israeli companies. According to Fight Back!, the protesters criticized the university for letting “weapon manufactures do research on our campus and recruit students to build weapons that are tested on Palestinians.”
The disruption occurred when Interim University President Jeff Ettinger, a former Democratic congressional candidate and CEO of Hormel Foods, was delivering his end-of-year update.
Five students rose from their seats, chanting slogans such as, “Board of Regents, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!” while their hands were painted red to symbolize what they called the blood on the regents’ hands, Fight Back! said.
For about five minutes, the students allegedly continued their disruptive protest, shouting phrases like, “Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes!” and, “Not another penny, not another dollar, no more money for Israel’s slaughter!” before leaving the meeting. Campus security and University of Minnesota police escorted the protesters out of the meeting room.
This is just the latest in a series of pro-Palestine demonstrations that have caused disruptions to daily life in Minnesota over the past two months. Last Monday, protesters shut down an Edina School Board meeting while others caused a major traffic jam in Minneapolis.