UVM faces backlash over disciplinary actions against pro-Palestinian protesters

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BURLINGTON — The University of Vermont (UVM) is facing increasing pressure as local lawmakers and faculty oppose disciplinary measures against student protesters advocating for Palestinian rights.

Protests began with an encampment on campus, quickly growing to 90 tents. Students demanded the university divest from certain weapons manufacturers and Israeli companies.

Tensions escalated when the university, citing policy violations, initiated disciplinary proceedings against involved students after a week of warnings, said UVM spokesperson Adam White.

The disciplinary hearings, set to ensure a fair process for each student, have sparked accusations of punitive action by the university.

“This is an escalation that does not reflect our community’s values,” stated Wafic Faour of the Vermont Coalition for Palestinian Liberation, advocating for amnesty based on First Amendment rights.

Support for the students came from 20 state lawmakers and Lieutenant Governor, as well as 60 UVM faculty members, all criticizing the university’s approach and urging reconsideration of the students’ demands.

Burlington City Council members echoed this sentiment, urging UVM to handle the situation without police involvement to avoid escalating tensions.

The controversy reached its peak when UVM President Suresh Garimella canceled a scheduled speech by U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, reflecting the administration’s response to the growing crisis.

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