DePaul University cancels FEST 2024 due to campus ‘environment’

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DePaul University has canceled its annual end-of-year music festival, 2024 FEST, due to the presence of a pro-Palestinian encampment on campus.

The announcement came days after the university announced it was unable to move forward with negotiations with protest organizers due to an impasse in negotiations. FEST 2024 was scheduled to be held on Friday at the Quad, which has been a camping site since April 30th.

“Given the current campus environment, FEST 2024 cannot be held as planned,” a statement sent to students on Monday said.

A university spokesperson said other year-end activities are being coordinated and plans will be shared as soon as they are finalized.

“We have heard from many students, especially those in the Class of 2024 whose high school graduation and first year of college were interrupted by the pandemic, that they would like to continue traditional student activities toward the end of the academic year,” the statement said. That said. Said. “Our goal is to honor the wishes of our students as much as possible.”

Hena Aish, a student organizer with DePaul University’s Palestine Justice Student Union, said the university is blaming protesters for canceling the festival, even though organizers are still willing to negotiate. Ta.

DEPAUL-051524-07.JPG Encampment organizers were given a deadline of noon Sunday to clear the encampment, but the encampment still remains.

Organizers of the DePaul encampment had been given a deadline of noon Sunday to clear it, but it was still in place as of Tuesday night.

Anthony Vasquez/Sun-Times

In a statement Saturday, Chancellors Robert Manuel and Salma Ghanem said they were “concerned that we are not on the path to understanding” with camp leaders.

“We intended to negotiate in good faith,” Aish said. “They didn’t want to continue.”

Aish added that organizers invited administrators to another negotiation session on Monday, but no one showed up.

Aish said that before announcing the impasse, organizers felt administrators were trying to rush negotiations to move forward with FEST 2024. He said the administration refused to reschedule Friday night’s meeting, even though both Jewish and Muslim members of the negotiating team were holding religious celebrations.

Camp organizers had been given until noon Sunday to clear it, but it still remains. Aish said they are “fully prepared for whatever happens” and have police liaisons and lawyers on scene.

“Whether these tents stay or go, the whole idea of ​​divestment and why we’re here isn’t going to just go away,” Aish said. “No matter what happens, we’re going to keep fighting.”

Now that FEST 2024 has been canceled, organizers hope administrators will return to the negotiating table, she said.

The university responded to the encampment request in an email to the DePaul community on May 6. In it, the administration called for a ceasefire in Gaza, promised to create space for students from Southwest Asia and North Africa, and condemned genocide. It will not commit to describing the Gaza conflict as a genocide. The administration also said it would not remove anyone with ties to Israel from its board of trustees, grant amnesty to protesters, end research ties with Israel or withdraw from Israel. .

The DePaul encampment is one of the last remaining encampments in the Chicago area after the University of Chicago and Art Institute encampments were forcibly removed and Northwestern University organizers reached an agreement with the school. It is.

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