Students for a Democratic Society protest war in Israel on University of North Florida campus

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A student-led protest against Israel’s war in Gaza took place on the University of North Florida campus on Tuesday.

Action News Jax crews captured students on video gathering on campus around noon, locking arms under a tent.


The University gave an ultimatum to students not long after the protest started.

Around 3:00 p.m., officials said they would start arresting and suspending students if they did not remove the tents and canopy immediately.

Earlier today, more than 30 people locked arms and peacefully protested, chanting, and holding up signs.

Read: Jewish Federation of Northeast Florida CEO responds to Iran’s attack on Israel

More than a dozen police officers kept watch on bicycles during the protests.

Protestors said they want UNF to listen to students who request that the University:

  • Divest from the colonial state of Israel
  • Deny Zionists and military recruiters from attending campus events
  • Stand in solidarity with Palestinian students

Action News Jax spoke with Marlow Crosby, a junior at UNF and president of the UNF chapter of Jacksonville Students for a Democratic Society.

Crosby said they have to fight back against what is happening in Gaza.

“I refuse, for one, to have my name, my fingers, anywhere near the death warrant that the university is actively trying to sign by supporting the Israel apartheid state,” Crosby said.

UNF officials told Action News Jax that students can protest but cannot set up tents on The Green.

The Jacksonville Community Action Committee released a statement standing in unconditional solidarity with the student protesters at UNF.

On April 25, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a warning to college students stating that engaging in unsanctioned protests against Israel on campuses could lead to expulsion.


The Israel-Hamas war was sparked by the October 7 raid into southern Israel in which militants killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250 hostages.

Half of the hostages were released during a week-long ceasefire that ended on December 1st. Israel reports that militants are still holding around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.

Students across the country are protesting the more than 34,000 Palestinians killed by Israel’s war on Hamas, and calling for universities to separate themselves from any companies that are advancing Israel’s war in Gaza.

The conflict has driven around 80% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people from their homes, caused vast destruction in several towns and cities, and pushed northern Gaza to the brink of famine.

The top U.N. court had earlier concluded there is a “plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza — a charge Israel strongly denies, insisting that it is acting in self-defense.

Student protests broke out across multiple college campuses in response to Columbia University threatening to arrest and expel students who demanded a permanent cease-fire in April.

On Monday, dozens of people were arrested and some permanently suspended during protests held at universities in Texas, Utah, Virginia, and New Jersey, all related to Israel’s war in Gaza.

READ: Columbia University threatens to expel student protesters occupying an administration building

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William Clayton

William Clayton, Action News Jax

Digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax

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