Heavy Presence of Law Enforcement Greets Protesters on UT-Austin Campus

AP Photo/Eric Gay

An anti-Israel protest was organized at the University of Texas-Austin on Wednesday. The goal was for the demonstrators to occupy the South Lawn. 

Texas Department of Safety (DPS) came in with a very heavy show of presence once the students began to assemble. Some troopers are on horseback, much to the surprise of some news anchors. This is Texas, y'all. Horse patrols are not out of the ordinary. 


This protest is just beginning as I write this post. I am not going out on a limb to say this one will be dealt with differently than those you see on Ivy League or West Coast campuses. DPS troopers were following the students as they moved in. 

The Palestinian Solidarity Committee of Austin organized the protest. Students were directed to walk out of class and occupy the South Lawn of the campus. 

The organizers are patterning the protest with those being held on other campuses. 

 “In the footsteps of our comrades at Columbia SJP, Rutgers-New Brunswick, Yale, and countless others across the nation, we will be establishing THE POPULAR UNIVERSITY FOR GAZA and demanding our administration divest from death,” a PSC social media post said.

Students are told to walk out at 11:40 a.m. and occupy the lawn until past 7 p.m. Wednesday. Students were told not to do the walk-out by campus officials who learned about the protest. They were told that antisemitic protests would not be allowed on campus. There will be consequences.

About an hour after news coverage began, there were reports that some arrests were made. Student protesters were chanting, "Free, free Palestine." "From the river to the sea..." is also being chanted. Some students are waving Israeli flags.


The sight of DPS troops on horseback and hundreds of troopers in riot gear is impressive. 

UT Austin’s Jewish student organization, Texas Hillel, called the protest a "hateful agenda" that coincides with Passover

“The University has assured us there will be no tolerance for disruption or behaviors misaligned with University policy,” a Hillel statement said.

 The university sent a letter to the organizers telling them to cancel the protest.

The University of Texas at Austin must first and foremost act to protect our educational mission, allowing the activities and operations that support our mission to proceed. At the same time, we are steadfast in our support of free speech. Our policies and rules help define the lines between these objectives and shape our response to planned protests.

The Palestine Solidarity Committee student organization’s event “Popular University for Gaza,” which is planned for tomorrow, has declared intent to violate our policies and rules, and disrupt our campus operations. Such disruptions are never allowed and are especially damaging while our students prepare for the end of the semester and final exams. For these reasons, this event may not proceed as planned.

Simply put the University of Texas at Austin will not allow this campus to be “taken” and protesters to derail our mission in ways that groups affiliated with your national organizations have accomplished elsewhere.

Please be advised that you are not permitted to hold your event on the University campus. Any attempt to do so will subject your organization and its attending members to discipline including suspension under the Institutional Rules. Individuals not affiliated with the University and attempting to attend this event will be directed to leave campus. Refusal to comply may result in arrest.


The only thing I would change is to say "Refusal to comply will result in arrest. Not "may." 

Protesters are being prevented from setting up an encampment. I don't think this protest will get very far. DPS and campus police are working quickly. 

If anything noteworthy happens, I'll update this post.

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