UW-Milwaukee Gaza protests; administration faces backlash after apology

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee administration remains in the hot seat.

Student protesters of the Israel-Hamas war responded on Thursday, May 23, to Chancellor Mark Mone’s apology to Jewish students earlier this week.

The tents have been down at UWM for over a week, but yet, tensions around a path forward still remain high.

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On May 12, UWM administration agreed to call for a ceasefire in Gaza that has killed an estimated 34,000 people, as well as the Oct. 7 attacks that killed 1,200 Israelis.

The administration also agreed to meet with students to discuss their demand to "cut all ties with Israel."

A stance the university said it should not have weighed in on.

Student protesters and their supporters sent a clear message days after Mone issued a statement apologizing to the Jewish community after many condemned their agreement ending the two encampments in protest of the Israel-Hamas war.

"We’ve held up our side of the agreement and if the school doesn’t hold up their end of the agreement, all bets are off," a student protester said.

The apology also addressed antisemitism, which is an issue that Rachel Ida Buff, a Jewish UWM professor, argues has not happened.

"Ask the federation which [specific] Jewish students have been made to feel uncomfortable, and how," she said.

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Miryam Rosenzweig is CEO of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation. She said many Jewish students feel targeted.

"The notion that in progressive spaces they are now questioning what students are reporting as invalid is both shocking and absurd," Rosenzweig said. "One person relayed that what it means to be Jewish at UWM right now is if you haven't renounced Zionism, it's put your head down, don’t show any visible sign you are Jewish so you don’t get harassed and yelled [at]."

Miryam Rosenzweig

She believes the apology is a step toward uniting the campus.

"I’m pleased that he recognized there was an institutional problem," she said.

As for moving forward, the university said the agreement still stands with student protesters. Protesters say if UWM does not keep its end of the deal, there could possibly be another encampment.