In Protests

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A billboard truck displaying the names and faces of GW students reportedly involved in a pro-Palestinian coalition of student organizations was parked on campus Wednesday, including in front of the Elliott School of International Affairs building, where the coalition held a sit-in the same morning.

The truck, sponsored by conservative media watchdog group Accuracy in Media, drove around campus showing students’ names and faces on digital billboards mounted to all three sides of the vehicle underneath a title reading “GWU’s Leading Antisemites.” The digital display included a link to a website that alleged the students were members of the Student Coalition for Palestine at GWU, which formed earlier this month following GW’s suspension of Students for Justice in Palestine for four of their members’ anti-Israel projections onto the facade of Gelman Library in October.

University President Ellen Granberg and Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Colette Coleman issued a statement calling the “doxing truck” display a “misguided and malicious” attempt to endanger GW community members.

“We want to be clear that we condemn this campaign to intimidate, threaten, and dox our students,” the statement said.

Granberg and Coleman said GW staff members had reached out to students who were affected by the billboard and have provided “resources and support” to those students. The statement encouraged GW community members to refer any students who need additional support to the CARE Team or to the Division for Student Affairs. The statement also condemned the campaign to dox students and Islamophobia, antisemitism and any other forms of hate on campus.

The truck rolled to a stop in front of the Elliott School on E Street around 11:20 a.m. while about 30 students sat chanting on the steps of the building with signs, keffiyahs and face coverings for a pro-Palestinian sit-in that demanded GW end its alleged ties to Israel and Zionism. When the truck arrived, one of the student demonstrators asked a group of on-scene GW Police Department officers and University officials, including Coleman, if they were going to allow the truck to continue doxing students. A GWPD officer said they couldn’t do anything about the truck because it was parked on public property.

“What are you doing to keep us safe?” the student said to the crowd after they relayed the information the officer had just told them.

The demonstrators erupted in response, saying “Shame!” and “Do something!” before the student continued with “They are not keeping us safe. You know who keeps us safe?”

“We keep us safe,” the demonstrators echoed back.

Students used a banner that read “End the siege on Gaza” and their signs to cover up the names and faces of students displayed on the truck. Adam Guillette, the president of Accuracy in Media, attempted to question students participating in the sit-in and got behind the banner to record footage of the truck. A GWPD officer then removed him from behind the banner and created a line between the students holding the banner and the truck.

A Metropolitan Police Department cruiser arrived around noon and several officers spoke with the driver of the truck. The truck left less than 10 minutes later because it was parked in an emergency no-parking zone due to ongoing construction on E Street, and demonstrators dispersed from the sit-in a few minutes after the truck left.

Before the truck arrived at the demonstration Wednesday, the Student Coalition for Palestine at GWU posted a statement on Instagram urging students not to engage with the truck and legitimize their “scare tactics.” The post said GW “as usual” has refused to protect its students from doxing and harassment and emphasized students keeping each other safe.

“Their goal is to intimidate and instigate but we can combat their tactics by refusing to fall prey to their incitement,” the statement read.

The organizer of the billboard truck has recently driven billboard trucks throughout the campuses of Harvard, Columbia and Yale universities exposing the identities of university community members allegedly involved in pro-Palestinian activism. At Harvard, following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, some student groups signed a letter holding Israel “entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,” which led to widespread backlash and brought Harvard officials to launch a task force to support students who were harassed and doxed.

A Columbia student, whose name and face were displayed by the truck, filed a lawsuit against the organization and its president, Adam Guillette, earlier this month, claiming the truck falsely named them and said the incident caused emotional distress and put their safety and future academic and career possibilities at risk.

GW for Israel issued a statement via Instagram on Wednesday evening saying they had no involvement with the truck and condemned all attempts to intimidate students, especially those with differing views.

“What happened today is unacceptable,” the statement said. “Dialogue on campus must be focused on substance, not engaging in ad hominem attacks that compromise the well-being of students.”

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