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Protesters at Wayne State University say they will only meet with president on their terms

Protesters want to meet with Wayne State University president on their terms
Protesters want to meet with Wayne State University president on their terms 02:50

(CBS DETROIT) - All operations at Wayne State University will remain online until further notice. The university cites safety concerns with a pro-Palestinian encampment on campus. 

All classes have been moved online, as well as an orientation scheduled for Wednesday. All faculty and staff have been told to work remotely, and all events on campus have been canceled.

"There's no safety concern here. We're peaceful protestors," said Ali Hassan, a Wayne State University student and president of the Muslim Coalition.

He said the university moving operations online shows just how much power the encampment has.

"We feel good. We feel as if this is the university, not having the upper hand on us."

The university cited a "public safety issue" as their reason for moving classes online. 

"I think if that is true, then they should talk to the Fire Marshall they sent down here twice," said Hassan.

Demonstrators said previously they were told to remove electrical cords and rubbing alcohol, and they complied. They also condensed their camp to keep walkways open.

Patrick Lindsey, the university's vice president of Government and Community Relations, visited the encampment on Tuesday and offered two students an in-person meeting. 

"The offer still stands to meet with both President Espy, Gov. Stancato, and myself," Lindsey said in a YouTube video posted by WSU.

Demonstrators turned the offer down, saying they want to be able to send whoever they choose into the meeting. They said the two students chosen to participate in the meeting were not Palestinian. Adding that they would want any meeting with the university president to be open to the public

"We need to meet on our terms as well.  This isn't the representation we want for a meeting to discuss divestment," said an encampment organizer. 

The group said they have no plans to leave the encampment until the university meets with them under their conditions and agrees to start divesting from companies and funds tied to Israel. 

"The university has a rich history in divestment. They've divested during the South African apartheid. They divested in tobacco companies. They've done this. This university is built off of social justice. So it's very possible," said Hassan.

The encampment has been in place since last Thursday. WSU told the encampment to disperse by 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, but the group refused.

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