Encampment is ending

| May 12, 2024

Note: This letter originally appeared as an e-mail sent to the Hopkins community on Sunday May 12, 2024.

Dear Johns Hopkins Community,

Late last night we reached an agreement with the student protesters to end the encampment on the Beach at our Homewood campus. As of this afternoon, the encampment is in the process of being dismantled.

Over the past 13 days, we have spent many long hours in discussion with multiple groups of protesters, and, with the support of members of our faculty, we have arrived at a resolution that is consistent with our commitment to free expression and prioritizes the safety and well-being of our students and all members of our community. We have promised that the petition for divestment will be considered, pursuant to existing university policy and processes, in a timely manner. Further, we agreed to conclude student conduct proceedings arising out of the encampment, with the understanding that sanctions will apply if student protesters violate their commitments in the future. In this respect, we have received the protesters’ explicit assurances that they will not engage in further disruptions of university activities, including Commencement, nor reestablish the encampment.

Since Oct. 7, our community has watched with a deep sense of anguish and pain as the conflict between Israel and Hamas has consumed more and more lives, and the prospect of peaceful resolution has become ever more elusive. While we know that there is a widely shared revulsion with the horrendous losses suffered in this war, we also know that there are fundamentally different views within our community and our country about how we understand the conflict and the prospects for a just and durable peace.

There is no denying that the bonds that unite us as a community of scholars and learners here at Hopkins, normally strong and resilient, have been frayed by the events this year, but especially during these last two difficult weeks. It has been painful to hear that some members of our community have felt increasingly silenced, unwelcome, or unsafe, and that incidents of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia have threatened to further divide us.

This encampment has now ended but the legacy, the lessons, of this moment have yet to be determined. That is very much in the hands of our community.

The university is committed to holding what will doubtless be a challenging set of conversations around divestment that will require us to engage fully the history and the complexities of the conflict between Israelis, Palestinians, and neighboring states. I am counting on our tackling these hard issues and deeply felt differences in a manner that is respectful and thoughtful. In a manner that recognizes other people’s pain and fear, and ensures that no one is subject to threat, harassment, or intimidation for their personhood or beliefs. In a manner that eschews extremes and absolutes, and recognizes the inevitability of complexity, nuance, and compromise. In a manner that allows for us to learn from and with each other. And most of all, in a manner that honors our common humanity.

I look forward to moving ahead together and to celebrating our extraordinary graduates in this year’s commencement ceremonies.


Ron Daniels