To The Evergreen State College Community and Administrators, a letter from Faculty and Staff

To The Evergreen State College Community and Administrators, a letter from Faculty and Staff
Photo from The Daily Chronicle "Students of The Evergreen State College have occupied part of the institution’s Red Square as part of a movement across the country in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza."

As Evergreen faculty and staff, we commend student protesters at The Evergreen State College, here in Washington state, across the country, and around the world who are engaged in courageous actions, calling for an end to the genocidal war on Palestinians, and to U.S. government funding and arming of this historically brutal slaughter. As the U.S. government continues to support Israel’s actions in Gaza, the nationwide campus protests are forcing the national discourse to address the fact that we are all witnessing a genocide unfold in front of our eyes. While we go about holding our classes, symposia, and meetings, we struggle with the reality that schools and universities in Gaza have been destroyed, and students, professors, teachers, and children are among the over 34,000 dead, while thousands more have been maimed, orphaned, and generationally traumatized. 

The corporate media in the U.S. has failed to accurately report on the horrors of this war on a captive, predominantly young population– some of whom themselves have been livestreaming what is happening to them. This live “coverage” from Gaza and news through Tik Tok, Instagram, and other social media has galvanized the conscience and moral imperative of U.S. college students. In response to the horrors of this 7-month war, fueled by U.S. weapons transfers, student solidarity encampments have built inspiring, inclusive, multiracial and interfaith coalitions demanding justice and equality for Palestinians under bombardment, siege, forced displacement, and now subject to an artificial famine. 

At Evergreen, student groups have called on our campus community to live up to our stated commitment to social justice in the face of an illegal war of collective punishment and ethnic cleansing that has been justified by the racist dehumanization of the Palestinian people. As our institutional mission statement reads: “Evergreen supports and benefits from local and global commitment to social justice, diversity, environmental stewardship and service in the public interest.”* As a university community, we believe that it is our collective responsibility to use our voices and resources to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and to stand against the systematic destruction of every aspect of their means of survival. 

1 The Evergreen State College Mission Statement, 

We support students and members of our community in their right to demonstrate as they demand accountability from the institution and divestment from companies, funds, products, and services based out of the occupied Palestinian territories. We are glad that the Evergreen administration has chosen not to bring in the police against protesters as on other campuses, which has led to brutal repression of students’ and faculty rights. Even if the administration and faculty do not share all of the perspectives of the protesters, it is our responsibility as an institution of higher learning to protect their rights to free speech and assembly. We also affirm the right to academic freedom—book banning or course banning in effect opens the door for the state to censor any of us. We urge the administration to continue to work through negotiations, rather than police enforcement, to protect students’ rights. 

Evergreen students, staff, and faculty have a long and proud history of involvement in social movements to end the Vietnam War, divest from South African apartheid, and block weapons shipments to the Iraq War. Some of the companies or agencies supplying military and surveillance technologies and police training to Israel are based here in Washington state, and we have a responsibility to sever our state’s connections to an illegal occupation and apartheid system of control. 

We support calls for divestment at Evergreen and around the country. Throughout the U.S., the campus protests are calling on institutions of higher education to divest from companies profiting off the nearly 57 years of occupation of Palestinian lands in violation of both U.S. and international law. As we write this letter of support, the press reports that the International Criminal Court is preparing to issue arrest warrants for top Israeli officials on charges related to the ongoing war against Palestinians, as well as Hamas officials for the October 7 attacks*. At Evergreen, we are proud to be one of the first colleges where the student body voted (in Spring 2010) to divest from companies that profit off the Israeli occupation with a vote of 79%. That Spring, students also voted overwhelmingly (78%) to keep Caterpillar bulldozers off campus, due to their militarized use by Israel in the killing of Rachel Corrie and the destruction of thousands of Palestinian homes, orchards, and farmlands.*

2 Bergman, R. and P. Kingsley. “Israeli Officials Believe ICC Is preparing Arrest Warrants Over War”, The New York Times, April 28, 2024. 
3 TESC Divest, 

For faculty, many of our national and international scholarly organizations have voted democratically to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a nonviolent effort to hold Israel accountable to international human rights law. Endorsing groups include the American Studies Association, National Women’s Studies Association, National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies, Latin American Council of Social Sciences, Middle East Studies 

Association, Association for Asian American Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, and the American Anthropological Association, to name a few. Unfortunately, our respective colleges and universities have yet to implement BDS demands, despite a number of successful student-led votes for divestment. 

Today, as student protests grow across college campuses, there are widespread and renewed calls for academic institutions to divest from companies that continue to profit from Israel’s illegal occupation and demand an immediate ceasefire to the brutal aggression against Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. We decry efforts to depict the protests as “anti-Semitic” or backing “terrorism,” as the broad-based student movement stands for a more peaceful and just future, with equal rights for all ethnic and religious groups. 

As educators, we support a free Palestine and condemn the genocide, scholastacide, and ongoing colonization occurring at the hands of the Israeli military occupation. We support our students’ right to demonstrate and call on College leadership to continue dialogue with students, staff, and faculty, seeking actionable ways to support student calls for solidarity with Palestine. 


Faculty and Staff at The Evergreen State College 
Savvina Chowdhury 
Therese Saliba 
Alice Nelson 
Catalina Ocampo Londoño 
Zoltán Grossman 
Grace Huerta 
Leslie Flemmer 
Paul McMillin 
Jeanne Hahn 
Larry Mosqueda 
Anthony Zaragoza 
Carolyn Prouty 
Kyle Pittman 
Michael Joseph 
Ellen Shortt-Sánchez 

More signatures to come...

Read more