University of Michigan clears anti-Israel occupation after fire marshal warns of potential 'catastrophic loss of life'

Last week protesters showed up to the homes of several regents and placed 'fake corpses' on their lawns.

X: @TheStuStudio

The University of Michigan’s anti-Israel campus occupation came to an end after nearly a month following a failed inspection by a fire marshal.

Police cleared the encampment on Tuesday morning, university President Santa Ono wrote in a message to the community.

Among other issues, the encampment failed a May 17 inspection by the university fire marshal, who made the determination that a fire would result in a likely “catastrophic loss of life.”

Administrators asked the anti-Israel protesters to “remove external camp barriers, refrain from overloading power sources, and stop using open flames,” to which they refused.

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Ono wrote that the encampment’s failure to follow safety directives “was only the latest in a series of troubling events.”

The university president cited several incidents, including one on Wednesday during which protesters showed up to the homes of several regents and “staged protests” by placing tents and “fake corpses wrapped in bloodied sheets” on their lawns, in addition to marching and chanting.

University of Michigan Regent Jordan Acker, wrote on X that the protesters showed up at around 4:40 a.m. “with a list of demands” that included “defunding the police.”

Ono said this went “well beyond the lawful exercise of free speech.”

”Moving forward, individuals will be welcome to protest as they always have at the University of Michigan, so long as those protests don’t violate the rights of others and are consistent with university policies meant to ensure the safety of our community,” Ono wrote after the encampment was cleared. “To be clear, there is no place for violence or intimidation at the University of Michigan. Such behavior will not be tolerated, and individuals will be held accountable.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, Melissa Overton, a spokeswoman for University of Michigan police, said that three warnings were given to protesters before the encampment was cleared, which gave them a chance to leave voluntarily before arrests were possibly made.

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”In recent days, encampment participants have also received numerous outreach attempts from U-M administrators and DPSS (Division of Public Safety and Security) leadership, asking them to leave,” Overton said. “The encampment posed safety risks, both to participants and the community at large, and its presence was in violation of multiple policies and regulations. Its removal was important to help maintain the safety and security of the U-M campus community.”