Gaza Solidarity Encampments, and When Those Schools Divested From South African Apartheid

For the most up to date list, see Students 4 Gaza: A Global Map of Encampments and Demands.

Brown University students were demanding divestment by 1978. In 1985 Jimmy Carter’s daughter was protesting on campus, and in 1986 Brown acceded to limited divestment, although it also suspended 4 students for a hunger strike, and eventually never divested.

newspaper photograph of Brown students "gathered on the university green ... to demand that the board of trustees dispose of the university's investments in corporations that do business in South Africa

“Columbia was the first American university to commit to total divestment. By 1988, more than 155 educational institutions made the decision to fully or partially divest from Africa.”

newspaper photograph of students on Low Library steps with protest signs, caption reads "Students take up the anti-apartheid battle at Columbia University"

Cornell never did fully divest from South Africa – holding out against their students so long that South Africa wasn’t apartheid anymore.

Emory University seems to have never divested.

George Washington University students were having actions by 1985, but the Uni remained invested throughout the 80s and 90s.

At a 1979 event at Harvard students renamed the university’s Charles W. Englehard Library “in honor of Steve Biko, a [B]lack South African who died while in police custody” in 1977, continuing a legacy of anti-apartheid actions by Harvard students since 1972, and actions grew throughout 1985-89, but Harvard never divested.

MIT students formed the Coalition Against Apartheid in 1985 and protests continued until 1991, but MIT never divested.

In 1979 the University of Michigan regents moved to closed-door meetings to avoid “disruptive protesters” and challenged the 1982 Michigan law forbidding South African investments. In 1986 students participated in the “shantytown” movement, but by 1988 the university’s lawsuit was successful and colleges/universities were not forced to divest – but then the university divested its remaining assets.

Michigan State agreed to divest in 1978, making it one of the first universities to do so, after students began advocating in 1972. But in 1984 students were still pressuring the university to follow through, and by 1986 was divested.

Northeastern University students began an anti-apartheid movement in 1978 and the university had divested by 1986.
Northeastern students have been joined by students from the Berkeley School of Music; and Boston University. BU agreed to “selectively” divest from South Africa in 1979.

Northwestern University’s student anti-apartheid movement goes back to at least 1978, and the school began “whittling” away at its portfolio in 1986.

At NYU students were protesting as early as 1978.

Princeton students began as early as 1969 to occupy buildings in the divest movement, followed by the famous 1978 Nassau Hall sit-in, but Princeton never divested from apartheid South Africa.

newspaper photograph of students protesting outside campus building, a sign across the doors reads "Princetown out of South Africa" - caption: "Protestors outside Nassau Hall, The Daily Princetonian, April 14, 1978"

Rutgers had stated it would divest as far back as 1978, but it wasn’t until October 1985 that student protest pressure forced them to follow through.

newspaper photograph of student protesters holding up a sign reading "Time To Stop Supporting Apartheid Blood Money - Rutgers Divest"

Swarthmore Student Council called for divestment in 1982, but it took protesters blocking the Admissions Office in 1985 to bring about 1986 divestment, which completed in 1990.

Tufts University students began protesting in 1977, in 1985 hundreds participated in a sit-in, and Tufts had divested by 1989.

newspaper photograph of police trying to pull students away from other students, in a doorway, a sign reads "The People united will never be defeated" - caption: "Two campus police officers tug on an unidentified Tufts University student to prevent him from delivering food to other students occupying a building on school's Medford campus"

University of California students at UCLA were campaigning for divestment by 1984, and in 1985 were having the biggest protests on campus since the war against Vietnam. This included a 3-day sit-in, 60 students being evicted by police. Students at UC-Davis blocked buildings on campus and 159 were arrested. In 1986, UoC voted to “sell all of the university’s $3.1 billion worth of investments in businesses that have ties to South Africa.”

newspaper photograph, thousands of students protesting on UCLA campus, caption: "Students enter Murphy Hall on UCLA campus ... and protest organizer John Caldwell ... tells of plans to stay all night."
newspaper photograph, students protesting carrying a banner reading "South Africa Will Be Free" - caption: "Students demonstrate outside UC regents' meeting before hearing of board's divestment decision."

University of Florida students put a bike-lock on the adminstration building entrance in April of 1985. 27 were arrested by police for refusing to leave.

University of Minnesota students began protesting apartheid as early as 1978, and the university began divesting in 1984.

University of North Carolina students began protesting in 1982, and UNC divested by 1987.

University of Pittsburgh students were calling for divestment by 1984, and shut down a Board meeting in 1987, and the university voted to divest that year.

newspaper photograph of students protesting, holding sign reading "Apartheid Kills"

University of Rochester divested in October 1987.

USC started divestment in 1986, although was criticized into the 90s for the slow-going.

In 1978, the seemingly unironic headline “Yale Trustees Take Stand On South Africa” in the Atlanta Daily World reported that “Yale University trustees said they have decided not to sell the university’s $175 million in stock in 69 American corporations that do business in South Africa.” Yale students began protesting as early as 1978, but it was not until the early 90s that Yale divested.

The Northeast Coalition for the Liberation of Southern Africa (NECISA) was an anti-apartheid organization consisting of student groups from: Amherst, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, NYU, Princeton, Rutgers, SUNY, Tufts, Vassar, Wellesley, and Yale.

This page will be continually updated.
Send tips to handoutzine [at] handoutzine [dot] com