Hofstra students and faculty held pro-Palestinian protests on campus Monday, chanting “free Palestine.” NewsdayTV's Steve Langford reports.   Credit: Newsday/Howard Schnapp

A group of students and faculty at Hofstra University added their voices Monday to the ongoing pro-Palestinian protests at Stony Brook and college campuses nationwide, working in tandem to demand the Uniondale university disclose and divest its interests in Israel.

The demonstrations took place outside Hofstra Hall and included close to 75 students before about 12 faculty members took up the cause. Many chanted in support of a “free Palestine.” Students waved a Palestinian flag and played bongo drums.

Members of the group, Hofstra Student Voices for Palestine, said they had a permit to protest from 1 to 2:25 p.m. When their protest ended, the students handed off to faculty members, who then led a second demonstration.

Student protesters declined to comment to Newsday. 

Hofstra anthropology professor Salim T.P. Daniels, among the faculty demonstrating, said “the students are taking a moral stance and to stand on the right side of history. So, I think everyone can look at what's happening with all the devastation and inhumanity with the loss of innocent lives of Palestinians over the last several months.”

Since Hamas militants launched an attack on Israel last Oct. 7, killing more than 1,200 and kidnapping hundreds more, local health officials have estimated that more 34,000 Palestinians have died in the Israel-Hamas war.

At Hofstra on Monday, the students joined Daniels and other faculty in chants of “Shut it down” and “Free Palestine within our lifetime.”

With the bongo drums thumping in the background, demonstrators chanted “Down with occupation and up with liberation.” The students then stepped aside as faculty members continued.

Colleges across the country have canceled spring commencements, but in a statement, Hofstra officials said graduation ceremonies set for May 19 and 20 are still scheduled to take place.

"Hofstra’s campus has remained peaceful this semester and we will continue to monitor the situation through commencement," the statement said. "As of now the commencement plans will run as scheduled, with an increased public safety presence."

Hofstra and other Long Island universities have not provided details about the extent of financial and other ties to Israel, as well as ties to entities doing business with the country.

Former Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart, who now heads the university's department of public safety, monitored the demonstration Monday along with about a dozen Hofstra public safety officers. The protest remained peaceful with no arrests or confrontations.

Hofstra student Michael Moerdler-Green, 25, watched the demonstration but said he didn't support the message. But Moerdler-Green, who is Jewish, also added, he respected “their right to protest.”

“I disagree with it, but I appreciate that they've worked within this system here to voice their opinion without escalating.”

With Matthew Chayes and AP

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