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Cornell University protest leads to 24 arrests amid demonstrations

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At Cornell University, a protest demanding divestment from Israeli organizations and companies culminated in the arrest of 24 individuals. The demonstration, organized by the Cornell Coalition for Mutual Liberation, targeted the university’s Board of Trustees meeting at Day Hall. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, as confirmed by university relations VP Joel Malina, campus police intervened post-closure, leading to charges of trespassing against students and employees alike.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The protest, which is part of broader criticism against Cornell’s partnerships, particularly with the Israel Institute of Technology, aimed to push for divestment from firms involved in weapon manufacturing. Protestors, wearing red “Trustees Divest” shirts, sought to highlight the university’s alleged breach of its moral standards policy. The sit-in received attention from trustees Stephen Robinson and Martin Scheinman, though their discussions did not result in meeting the demonstrators’ demands.

This action comes amid increased scrutiny from federal lawmakers, with recent letters to Cornell President Martha Pollack accusing prior protests of antisemitism. As the university navigates these complex discussions, the outcome and university response to the demonstrators’ demands remain in focus, alongside broader conversations on academic freedom, investment ethics, and political pressures.