A college campus with people protesting and holding signs on the entrance steps. Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels under Pexels license.

This week, pro-Palestinian protests are occurring in many U.S. colleges and universities in response to the conflict in the Gaza Strip and surrounding areas. Students supporting Palestinians are building encampments, occupying buildings, and marching on and off campuses to advocate for a ceasefire, peace, and divestment in Israel’s military. At the same time, other students are reporting continued antisemitic incidents on campuses. As these demonstrations continue and grow, history tells us that increased police presence may lead to more conflict on campuses. In light of these real-time developments, we here at TSP wanted to share a few pieces from us and others on the important role that college campuses and students serve in starting conversations and social change in broader society.

First Hand Faculty Experiences on Campus Issues

  • Mass Movements; Moral Moments by Donna Gabaccia reflects on her first-hand experience as a faculty member during an incident of police abuse in Minneapolis, recalling a distressing scene where a young Black teenager was unjustly detained by police in a library.

Young Adults and Social Structure of Protests

  • When Youth Become Activists by Amber Joy Powell writes up some research on the nationwide youth-led movement advocating for stricter gun control in 2018, demonstrating the significant impact young activists can have using modern tools like social media to enhance their cause.
  • in brief: close to the issue by Parker Muzzerall on how proximity to protests, such as the Occupy Central Movement in Hong Kong, increases support for the movement and shifts political ideologies leftward among nearby residents, despite the disruptions caused.

Challenges of Involving Police

Public Opinion and Tolerance (or lack of) on Campus Protests and Academic Freedom in Sociology