The Despicable, Violent Response to Student Protests

Last Updated on May 24, 2024.

WashingtonWin Without War Executive Director Sara Haghdoosti released the following statement in response to escalating police violence last night at Columbia University and other campuses across the country:

“We are outraged by and condemn university administrators and politicians who are responding to nonviolent protests with riot police armed with batons and pepper spray, and who are also standing by while those forces beat the very students meant to be in their care.”

“This kind of violence on students, particularly against students who are Jewish, Muslim and Arab, and who are reckoning with how the conflict in Gaza is transpiring in their communities, is simply unacceptable. Behind this militarized response lies a deep history of criminalizing and over-policing Black and brown communities — and it is becoming abundantly clear that the crackdowns we’re seeing are not about keeping schools safe but rather silencing dissent.

“For decades, student protests have been a litmus test for freedom around the world.  From Palestine and Israel to Iran, Egypt, Tunisia, and beyond – student protests have been a source of solidarity and inspiration against those who trample against human rights. Sadly, we have also seen over and over again students’ demands for representation being met with violence. As we condemn it overseas, we absolutely condemn it here too.

“Antisemitism and anti-Muslim bigotry should not be tolerated in schools or anywhere. We must remember our political and civic leaders continue to condone the U.S. sending weapons to a government that is collectively punishing people in Gaza and using starvation as a weapon of war, and which has also leveled universities in Palestine using American-provided bombs. 

“In that context the question is clear:  Why are you holding college students to higher standards of behavior than government officials committing human rights abuses?”


Win Without War is a diverse network of activists and national organizations working for progressive foreign policy in the United States.

May 1, 2024