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Video: A Student Protester Facing Disciplinary Action Has ‘No Regrets’

“This is the graduation gown that I may or may not be wearing — if they let me walk. I’m leaving UChicago with a criminal record and maybe not with a degree. My name is Youssef. I’m a Brooklyn native. I’m half Palestinian, half Moroccan, and UChicago was definitely my dream school.” “Oh my God. I got to the University of Chicago. Mom!” “And during my time here my mission was to make it a dream school for other folks. And that sort of led me straight into the admissions office. I became a student visit coordinator. I gave tours. I got to act as a college rep. And that sort of bubble of being an ambassador for UChicago on the global scale popped when I started talking about my identity, and I started talking about being Palestinian and critiquing the university.” [chanting] [unclear] “We’ve been doing actions all year. Blockades, sit-ins, rallies, protests, banner drops, flyers, brochures — everything. We really just wanted a meeting with Paul, the president of the University of Chicago. So we wanted, like, financial records. We wanted transparency. We wanted to know where our money was going. And then we wanted the university to divest from all Israeli entities. And it took having to occupy a building and perform a sit-in. Like, 30 of us went into Rosenwald, which is the admissions office, and we just sort of set up camp.” [chanting] [unclear] “I was just thinking to myself, Oh, like, I’m going to be arrested.” [chanting] “You invest in genocide.” “The state attorney had made a statement that she wasn’t going to prosecute protest charges. So as soon as our charges were dropped, the university decided to go through the formal process for us, which means everything is on the table. We could be suspended. We could be expelled.” “We came back to join a national encampment movement.” “We won’t stop until we win.” “We actually were planning an encampment as well, prior to Columbia’s launch. Just seeing solidarity all over the country made us more confident to do this encampment.” “What do you know.” “Where does all our money go.” “Where does our money go.” “I have family in Palestine, and I’m living in Palestine. This is my 24/7. I mean, I’m done. Like, I have nothing left here. And that’s weird, like, coming from me, who spent so many years, not just, like, loving this university, but helping others love it. Like, I’m crushed that the university would ever do this. I feel like I have nothing left at the university here, but people in Palestine truly have nothing.”

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