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Students across Maine call for colleges to condemn Israel-Gaza war

The statue of John Harvard, the first major benefactor of Harvard College, is seen draped in the Palestinian flag, at an encampment of students protesting against the war in Gaza, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on Thursday, April 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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AP
The statue of John Harvard, the first major benefactor of Harvard College, is seen draped in the Palestinian flag, at an encampment of students protesting against the war in Gaza, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on Thursday, April 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Student at the College of the Atlantic are demanding the school condemn Israeli attacks in Gaza. Protesters began an encampment last Sunday, which they said has grown to over thirty tents and around 75 students, about 20% of the student body. Darron Collins is the president of the college. He said the protests are peaceful, in contrast to demonstrations at campuses like UCLA.

"There's been violence all over the country around college campuses, both, you know, with police presence on campus, but also with the students damaging property. And we don't have that here, which is a really good thing," Collins said.

CM is a COA student who has participated in the Solidarity with Palestine encampment set up last Sunday. Referring to themselves by their initials out of safety concerns, CM said the group’s demands include COA’s divestment from companies profiting from the conflict, and issuing a public stance against the actions of the Israeli government.

"The COA encampment is a form of peaceful protesting. We are seeing this as a form of dialogue with the college, but this is a way of showing solidarity with all the universities that are facing violence against the protests that they're doing. And also, of course, around what's happening in Gaza, and putting attention to the violence that's occurring there from the Israeli government," CM said.

In Brunswick, students at Bowdoin College vote this week on whether the college should take action to condemn Israeli attacks on Gaza. If passed, the student government referendum asks Bowdoin disclose and divest its investments in defense-focused companies. The vote also calls for the college to publicly denounce what the United Nations calls the "scholasticide" in Palestine — Israel’s killing of students and teachers and the intentional destruction of Gaza’s educational system.

Ahmad Abdulwadood is a student organizer with Bowdoin’s Students for Justice in Palestine, the group behind the referendum.

"Bowdoin has an educational obligation to make a comment when their counterparts, but also the other educational institutions across the world, are being systematically eliminated," Abdulwadood said.

The student referendum comes as protests against the Israel-Hamas War in Gaza spread across American universities. A Bowdoin spokesperson declined comment, they said the college will wait to comment until the vote wraps up tomorrow.

Nick Song is Maine Public's inaugural Emerging Voices Fellowship Reporter.


Originally from Southern California, Nick got his start in radio when he served as the programming director for his high school's radio station. He graduated with a degree in Journalism and History from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University -- where he was Co-News Director for WNUR 89.3 FM, the campus station.