The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Live updates | Students gather on Pentacrest for ‘People’s University for Palestine’ solidarity event

The event on the University of Iowa campus is planned to last three days.
Emma Calabro
Attendees gather for a three-day solidarity event on the Pentacrest in Iowa City on Friday, May 3, 2024. The event was organized by the Iowa City Students for Justice in Palestine.

Activism group Iowa City Students for Justice in Palestine is hosting a three-day solidarity event for student encampments at U.S. universities to voice dissent for the Israel-Hamas war amid national protests and arrests.

The event is scheduled from 12-7 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the University of Iowa Pentacrest. A few dozen Iowa City High School students also gathered Friday morning for a day-long school strike to stand in solidarity with students on college campuses protesting the U.S. involvement with the Israel-Hamas war.

The Guardian reported that students at public and private U.S. universities have started at least 40 pro-Palestine encampments since Columbia University in New York first held an encampment with more than 100 arrests stemming from pro-Palestine protests.

Student protesters occupied Columbia’s Hamilton Hall on Tuesday night after the university did not agree to the student group’s demands, including full divestment from Israeli corporations.

See The Daily Iowan’s reporting updates below:

8:30 a.m.: Iowa City High School students put up tents with signs on them Friday morning near the school. A large sign read “The People’s High School for Palestine.”

One City High student, Penelope Wilmoth, said their school has been supportive of their right to free protest and right to free speech.

“I know that a lot of school administrations would not be this kind or supportive and we feel very lucky,” Wilmoth said. “Hearing from Palestinian and Jewish voices is really important and it’s good to stay educated.”

Another student, Anbar Barkati, said she encourages anyone, especially young people, to raise awareness and not be afraid to speak for the truth.

“I am so glad to see, especially in the United States, the amount of people standing up for Palestinian lives. Despite the obstacles they face, they wake up every day and choose to stay resilient.”

Noon: Students started to gather on the Pentacrest for the beginning of a three-day event. The Iowa City Students for Justice in Palestine posted a schedule for the event on their social media.

At least two State Trooper vehicles are seen parked on West Jefferson Street near the Pentacrest and some police are on bikes.

1:30 p.m.: Lisa Heineman, one of the speakers scheduled for the event, said supporters  are at the Pentracrest to engage in a process of of educating themselves and be able to be effective advocates and  educators. Event attendees also set up tables to create zines, make crafts, and eat food.


3 p.m.: At around 3 p.m., a group of 15 students and two community members began a march to the UI Pentacrest holding signs  and chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, this occupation has got to go.” They held a large sign and walked in unison from City High down Clinton Street to the Pentacrest.

A letter sent by City High principal John Bacon to students’ parents said the school was aware of the planned walk out and subsequent protest ahead of time.

“Students have the right to participate in organized protests and walkouts, and we honor their right to free speech. We will work to ensure that those who choose to participate can do so in a way that creates minimal disruption to the learning environment,” the letter reads.

Emma Jane and Shreya Reddy contributed to this report.

More to Discover