The pro-Palestinian encampment on the Johns Hopkins University campus continues into its second week, despite rainy weather and warnings from university leaders to disperse.

The encampment — which comes amid similar protests related to the Israel-Hamas war at colleges across the country — has expanded and contracted since being set up on April 29.

A meeting between protest organizers and school officials on Tuesday ended without a resolution, with organizers saying they’ll continue to demand that the university demilitarize and divest.

Who are the protesters?

The Hopkins Justice Collective, a self-described group of university students, alumni and affiliates, said they organized the event, to “hold our University accountable for its financial and academic participation in the ongoing Palestinian genocide.”

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“Students have always been a core part of of radical movements across the nation,” said Savannah, one of the students serving as a spokesperson for the collective, who declined to provide her last name, citing safety concerns. “We really feel like we’re just one grain of sand on the beach.”

Two people with the collective called the effort a collaboration between various student groups and community organizations.

“We hereby establish the Johns Hopkins encampment for a free Palestine,” a student activist said early in the protest. A handcrafted banner was draped over “Johns Hopkins” on a campus sign so that it read “The Free Palestine University.”

The number of people at the encampment has varied. Between 100 and 200 protesters, most of whom appeared to be Hopkins students, have gathered at various points, though fewer people appear to be staying at the encampment overnight.

What do the protesters want?

A few days after the encampment began, protesters released a formal call for the university to divest “from all companies with ties to the state of Israel,” demilitarize “by severing its financial relationships with the U.S. Department of Defense” and disclose “all financial relationships with the state of Israel.”

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More than 100 Hopkins faculty and staff members from across departments signed an open letter supporting “diverse student protests and demonstrations” at the university. The letter calls on university leadership “to continue to fulfill your responsibilities to defend peaceful protesters, uphold academic freedom, and reject any pressure to criminalize demonstrations.”

The protesters and university officials have both apparently made offers to meet and negotiate, but have not reached an agreement on the terms of a meeting.

How has the school responded?

School officials have repeatedly called on the protesters to disperse. Late last week, Hopkins President Ron Daniels wrote a strongly worded letter calling on protesters to change course.

In it, he said the school would “take additional steps as necessary to protect the safety of the community, including moving forward with appropriate disciplinary and legal actions.”

“You have seized attention but created a stand-off in which the next step — as we have seen at other universities — often has consequences that are dangerous and damaging for everyone involved,” he wrote.

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University officials said Monday morning that they will “work toward a peaceful resolution.”

The school has also made a few operational changes, including making buildings on the Homewood campus accessible only with a university ID card and requiring a Hopkins ID to enter residence halls.

Have protesters and the school met?

Yes. On at least two occasions, protesters and the administration have met to negotiate. The Hopkins Justice Collective said a negotiation meeting on May 7 ended without resolution.

“The Administration did not approach the table with an offer that engaged our demands,” the protest group said in a press release.

The group said it would be “amenable” to negotiating the encampment’s presence on campus when Hopkins makes “serious movement” toward divestment and the other demands.

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Why are students protesting at colleges across the country?

Student protests over the Israel-Hamas war have developed at colleges and universities across the U.S.

The demonstrations have roiled campuses, including Columbia University in New York City and the University of Virginia, which have seen mass arrests and encampments cleared.

The campus protests have largely been organized by student groups, according to the Associated Press, with most acting independently, though some organizers have said they’ve been inspired by students at other universities. The protesters have reportedly been calling for universities to cut ties with companies aiding Israel’s military efforts in Gaza.

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