Most Dartmouth hunger strikers give up after a week, forfeiting 'last resort' to make school cut ties with Israel and Starbucks

​Six out of eight Dartmouth College students ended their hunger strike after one week, which was intended to force the school to cut ties with Israel and call for a ceasefire.

Six out of eight Dartmouth College students ended their hunger strike after one week, which was intended to force the school to cut ties with Israel and call for a ceasefire.

According to The Dartmouth, the strikers who chose to eat after one week had a watermelon, which has been turned into a pro-Palestinian symbol since Israel began its war with Hamas.

“We were deciding ways to break the strike, and we ended up deciding that watermelon would be fitting because [of] the context of hunger striking, and … hunger striking in and of itself is an important form of protest in Palestine,” Kevin Engel, an organizer for the hunger strike, told the outlet.

Dartmouth spokesperson Jana Barnello said that the college will “continue to provide daily check-ins” who have participated in the hunger strike.

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“We are pleased that most of the students engaged in a hunger strike have chosen to resume eating,” Barnello told the outlet. “Dartmouth medical and student life professionals will continue daily check-ins with them and the students who continue to go without food. Their safety and well-being are our top priority.”

Roan V. Wade, another strike organizer, said that the check-ins felt “performative.”

“Personally, it feels performative … It feels like a way to deny responsibility and [avoid] a liability issue and less [about] actually caring [for] our safety,” Wade said. “If they actually cared about our safety, they would meet our demands, because our demands have a lot to do with our safety and the safety of our community.”

The eight people who participated in the strike met with  Provost David Kotz, Dean of the College Scott Brown and Vice President for Government and Community Relations Emma Wolfe on Feb. 23 to discuss their demands.

As Campus Reform reported, in a public statement, students participating in the hunger strike wrote that their action is a “painful and radical last-resort which can only take place in the most desperate of conditions.”

”Beginning now and continuing indefinitely into the future, we will be abstaining from eating,” the students wrote.

In addition to calling for Hannover, New Hampshire to take several anti-Israel actions, the protesters are also calling for the college to call for charges to be dropped after two students, Roan Wade and Kevin Engel, were arrested for trespassing during a sit-in on campus.

”We believe that recent actions of the Beilock administration, in particular their ongoing prosecution of Kevin and Roan, their refusal to recognize the existence of Palestinian students, and their continued material support for apartheid, have created such conditions at Dartmouth,” the group wrote.

Students participating in the sit-in demanded that Dartmouth College:

1. Drop the charges against Roan Wade and Kevin Engel.

2. “Recognize and protect Palestinian students.”

3. “Divest from apartheid.”

4. Review and address the Dartmouth New Deal.

The Dartmouth New Deal calls for college administration to take several radical changes, which includes cutting ties “with Apartheid and war.”

The document, authored in November 2023, calls for Dartmouth College to end “College-sponsored alumni and birthright trips to Israel,” re-evaluating Dartmouth’s academic exchange with Israeli universities including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, divest from defense contractors that the “Israeli war machine,” and “broad divestment from companies which support Israeli apartheid.”

The Dartmouth New Deal also calls on the institution to “take steps toward achieving climate justice,” which includes funding “rent-controlled” housing on and off campus, as well as providing stipends to “working-class and marginalized students and community members to build climate resilience.”

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”Cover housing, food, and emergency costs with financial aid for students living on or near campus during off-terms,” another demand from the Dartmouth New Deal states. “Guarantee housing security, food security, and all privileges afforded to students taking leave terms.”

If the college doesn’t address and provide a timeline for implementing the Dartmouth New Deal, its authors wrote that “physical [non-violent] action” will be needed.