Can’t Move ‘Em? Paint Over ‘Em: Contractor Has Zero Patience For Campus Protests
Pedestrians pass in front of signage displayed outside of Case Western Reserve University during preparations ahead of the first U.S. presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. President Trump and Joe Biden square off for 90 minutes in their first debate Tuesday. Photographer: Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Anti-Israel protesters at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland, Ohio, tried to stand guard over a wall they had vandalized, and when they refused to stand down, the contractor hired to repaint the wall simply painted over them.

The wall had been covered with red handprints and what CWRU President Eric Kaler referred to in a letter as “threatening, intimidating and antisemitic” language. Another wall was also painted by protesters, Kaler noted, saying that the language on that wall was “less threatening but still intimidating to some in our community.”

In that same letter, he announced the university’s plans to paint over the walls: “The university has painted over the advocacy wall and will complete painting over the spirit wall this morning.”

Kaler also acknowledged reports that students had been hit by paint as the third-party contractors went about repainting the walls — and he promised to investigate.

The video, which quickly circulated on social media, showed three protesters standing in front of a wall while the contractor painted over the graffiti. When he got to where the protesters stood, he kept painting — after allowing them time to put on face shields.


People could be heard in the video pointing out that the protesters did not have to stand there. Campus police, standing by as the situation unfolded, stated that they had informed the protesters that they would get paint on them if they chose not to move out of the way.

“We had just put up beautiful Pro-Palestinian art and at 5 a.m. Tuesday, they told them to come in and cover it up and they spray painted over two students and a passerby that were trying to guard the wall,” student JD Harrison complained to a local FOX affiliate.


Kaler later announced that he had viewed the video and said that he was “disturbed” by the way the students had been treated — and after offering his apologies, said that he planned to investigate the campus police who did not step in and stop the contractors.

“Let me be clear: No students—or any individuals—should ever be treated this way, especially on a campus where our core values center on providing a safe, welcoming environment. This is not who we are as an institution, and I am deeply sorry this ever occurred,” Kaler continued. “The university will continue to fully investigate these actions and hold individuals responsible for this behavior, including the failure of our own officers to intervene.”

Kaler had previously told students that their “solidarity encampment” was illegal and must be taken down and denied their demands that the university divest from any support of Israel.

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