Pro-Palestinian student encampment established on Kresge Oval

The encampment, titled the “Scientists Against Genocide Encampment,” follows similar movements across college campuses nationwide

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The Puerto Rican flag, the Palestinian flag, and the Wiphala raised against a central canopy at the Scientists Against Genocide encampment as students work and socialize, Monday
Ellie Montemayor–The Tech
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A list of demands leans against a tent in the encampment, dubbed the “Scientists Against Genocide Encampment” by its organizers, on Kresge Oval, Monday.
Ellie Montemayor–The Tech
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Students gather to protest at the Scientists Against Genocide encampment, Monday. The students formed a picket line on Monday afternoon and were later joined by supporters from Harvard University.
Ellie Montemayor–The Tech

Reporting by Alex Tang '26, Ellie Montemayor '26, and Russel Ismael VS.

On the evening of Sunday, April 21, a student encampment dubbed the “Scientists Against Genocide Encampment” led by the Coalition for Palestine (C4P) was established on Kresge Oval, the latest in a number of protests that have occurred on the Institute’s campus since the beginning of the Israel Palestine conflict.

At the time of this writing, MIT Police has maintained a small presence on Kresge and the administration has not yet publicly taken steps to address the encampment. 

The encampment was erected as a response to the arrests of over 100 pro-Palestinian Columbia University student protestors on Thursday, April 18. According to organizers, the encampment will continue until the Institute meets the organizers’ lists of demands. 

Other Boston-area universities, including Emerson College and Tufts University, are holding their own encampments — also erected on Sunday night — in coordination with the team from MIT. 

Neighboring Harvard University was the most recent addition within the Boston area as student encampments have begun in campuses across the nation. The action stemmed from the suspension of the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee, a student group, on Monday April 22. 

MIT student groups adopt referendums; protests sparked at campuses across the country  

This move follows the adoption of two referendums by the Undergraduate Association and Graduate Student Union. On March 23, Referendum #2, a ballot item in the 2024 Undergraduate Association election that would bind the UA to back a ceasefire and call for the re-recognition of the Coalition Against Apartheid, passed with a 63.73 percent majority. A similar referendum by the Graduate Student Union was also passed.

The encampment of numerous university campuses across the country to protest the Israel-Palestine conflict was sparked last week by Columbia University students who established what was named the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment,” with many attending being arrested and subject to disciplinary action by University administration.

The response of students on MIT’s campus to these arrests began with an April 19 “emergency walkout” that culminated in a standing rally in front of the Stratton Student Center, where undergraduate and graduate students voiced solidarity with the arrested Columbia students.

Following coordination with other Boston-area schools and national pro-Palestine activist organizations, the Coalition for Palestine launched its encampment.

Hannah Didehbani ’24, a leader in the C4P, listed demands students have for MIT’s administration: calling for a ceasefire, disclosing Institute investments, cutting ties and divestment from the Israel Ministry of Defense, and dropping disciplinary action against student organizers.

Didehbani stated that each of the Boston colleges participating in the nationwide encampment demonstrations shared this same list of demands. She clarified that these demands, while being fundamentally similar, are more specific to each campus — for example, C4P is focusing heavily on cutting research ties with the Israel Ministry of Defense.

Alejandro Tañon ’25, an organizer for the encampment, stated, “Right now, MIT receives 11 million  dollars in funding from the Ministry of Defense of Israel for a variety of different projects and labs… most of this research is used for military purposes.” This amount has not been verified by The Tech.

Encampment began Sunday and is continuing 

Campus organizers launched the Scientists Against Genocide Encampment at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday evening, after gathering supplies, setting up tents, and calling on students to participate.

By nightfall, dozens of students huddled under a large gray canopy declared the “Liberated Zone.” Tents in the encampment were named after major cities and villages in the States of Israel and Palestine, including Rafah, Gaza City, Khan Younis, Deir Yassin, and Jerusalem.

Tañon stated that the encampment’s goal is to “be here until MIT cuts those ties, stops receiving that funding, doesn't accept any more, and stops doing that [Israeli-sponsored military] research.”

“The MIT administration has the capacity to end these programs and this research; it’s not just the [principal investigators] themselves,” Tañon added. “The United States itself has a really big movement right now, and the student movement has been at the forefront for Palestine.”

Monday morning was relatively quiet, but that afternoon, a picket line surrounding the encampment began.

Students from Harvard University arrived at around 5:00 p.m.. According to Didehbani, the Harvard group was there in “solidarity,” adding that most of them had left around 6:00 p.m. and were not planning to spend the night. 

On the encampment’s second night, Mohamed Mohamed G announced to those assembled in the plaza “that MIT will no longer be a place where we trade science for profiteering” and “where science is created for war.”

“It is now more evident than ever, looking at how these administrations are responding to these student movements, what these schools intend to fight,” Mohamed said. “But we would never pretend we are these schools; we are aware of the injustice of this place. We are the people that make MIT run.”

On Tuesday night at 5:00 PM, the encampment held a Passover Seder to mark the beginning of Passover. Organizers say that Similar programming events will be held at the encampment, and more are being planned later in the week.

At the time of this writing, the encampment continues into its fifth day.