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The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

Art Installed During UCUP Demonstration Removed for a Second Time

The removed installation was not registered with the University, as required by the student manual.
Members+of+UCUP+creating+art+on+Wednesday+to+replace+a+previously+removed+installation.+The+art+installed+Wednesday+was+also+removed.
Feifei Mei
Members of UCUP creating art on Wednesday to replace a previously removed installation. The art installed Wednesday was also removed.

Art installed by students from UChicago United for Palestine (UCUP) during an “emergency art build” on the main quad on Wednesday were removed overnight. The previous installation was removed over Thanksgiving break.

“UCUP condemns this removal of art as both a deeply disturbing act of disrespect against the martyrs in Palestine and a sinister message to Palestinian students everywhere who are increasingly targeted in hate crimes,” read a statement from UCUP to The Maroon.

According to the Student Manual, the installation of any structure on campus must be approved by the Director of the Student Centers or a someone designated by the director. UCUP confirmed that their recent installation was not registered.

During the art build on Wednesday, participants were encouraged to paint on various items such as wooden figures, canvases, and oranges. Organizers also suggested writing down the names of Palestinians who had been killed since Israel began its bombardment of Gaza following the October 7 terror attacks in Israel.

The first art build consisted of mason jars and glass bottles with the colors of the Palestinian flag painted over them. Protesters hung the bottles from a tree on the quad.

“Even earlier, at a different point [before Thanksgiving break started], they were defaced, covered by posters. We took the posters down, but over Thanksgiving break when many of us weren’t here, [the bottles] were silently taken down,” a third-year student from UCUP said.

On November 4, posters featuring the faces and information of Israelis kidnapped by Hamas on October 7 were taped over the bottles on the trees.

The University’s posting policy states that postings should not cover those from other groups.

“We aren’t sure who [took down the bottles]. When the Christmas light decorations were being put up, we checked with the [facility service workers putting up the lights] to make sure that it was okay for our bottles to be up, and they said they can put the lights up with the bottles there, no problem. We don’t believe that there’s a legitimate reason for [our installation] to be taken down,” said the same third-year protestor.

Art builds are helpful in keeping morale up, the organizers said. “[The protests have] been straining, especially with the suppression we’ve been facing with the administration when 26 students and faculty were arrested in Rosenwald Hall during a peaceful sit-in, and from administrative and UCPD presence at our events,” the UCUP member said. “Events like this one, where we’re making art and building community, are really part of how we persevere through that.”

Organizers have also found art builds useful for establishing their presence and keeping their cause visible on campus.

“An art build creates community understanding, compassion, and solidarity. When we did this the previous time, we saw that it was powerful not just for the people who were there [at the art build] but also when you walk past and see the jars representing Gazan homes, [you are] reminded of what’s going on in Gaza currently and the community that made [the art].”

Protesters reiterated their commitment to continue protesting in the quad. “We made the promise the day we started that we’ll occupy the quad until the bombardment of Gaza ends. We are keeping our promise,” said Isaiah, a second-year member of Students for Justice in Palestine.

Isaiah shared that strong ties within the pro-Palestinian community have helped them sustain their work. “We make good efforts to make sure people are cared for, we aim to make sure there’s good labor distribution so no one gets burnt out…If you can keep everyone healthy and rested, we can persevere no matter how many people try to beat us, beat the movement down,” he said.

As most students will soon leave campus for winter break, the organizers plan to focus more on decentralized outreach initiatives, including an email campaign directed towards administration.

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  • J

    Jacob Myrene / Dec 1, 2023 at 3:19 pm

    Alright, y’all. You’ve had your fun. Now it’s just pathetic. Pack it up. Get to class.

    Reply