Christina Lee, Photography Editor

Over 2,300 University alumni, parents and students have signed a letter pledging to withhold all donations to Yale until the administration makes a public statement committing to divestment from weapons manufacturing companies involved in Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

The letter, which has amassed 2,322 signatures as of Thursday night, expresses support for the student protesters who erected a three-night encampment on Beinecke Plaza, as well as the 14 students who staged an eight-day hunger strike that ended on Sunday. 

“Given the turnout of hundreds of students at the days-long occupation and protests, as well as the number of signatories on the letter in just four days, it is observable that there is a growing critical mass calling out Yale’s complicity in the genocide of Palestinians while calling for the University’s divestment from these weapons manufacturing companies,” Minh Huynh Vu ’20 GRD ’26, one of the writers of the letter, told the News.

On Oct. 7, Hamas attacked Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking more than 250 people as hostages. In response, Israel formally declared war on Hamas and launched a military offensive in Gaza. Israel’s forces have killed at least 34,000 Palestinians across Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which the letter cites, though experts believe this death toll to be an underestimate by thousands. Hamas currently holds 133 hostages, 36 of whom are confirmed dead, Israel reports. 

The letter was written on April 18 and was first circulated the morning of April 19, hours before protesters began the encampment. According to Vu, a group of alumni wrote the letter and then shared it through posts on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

In a Monday press release, which was posted on Yalies4Palestine’s Instagram page, the group of alumni also wrote in support of the 48 protesters who were arrested for trespassing on Monday morning.

“As a current graduate student, I am deeply disturbed by, and have witnessed, the University’s intimidation and surveillance tactics using administrative policies and police arrests,” Vu said in the press release. “Yet I continue to be profoundly moved by the protesters’, hunger strikers’, and occupiers’ steadfast hearts, principles, and commitments.”

On Wednesday, April 17, amid a surge in student protests, the University announced that it would not divest from weapons manufacturers.

Vu wrote that the impetus for writing the letter was to “echo the demands of” student protesters at Yale and universities across the country. Vu also pointed to the heightened stakes of pro-Palestine organizing at these universities, including at Columbia University, where U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson recently demanded that President Joseph Biden send the National Guard to arrest pro-Palestine protesters. 

“While Yale students put their bodies on the line to stand in solidarity with Gaza, the least we can do as alumni is pledge our support for their cause and urge Yale to accept its students’ demands,” Ryan Gittler-Muñiz ’20 said in the press release. “As a Jewish alumnus, it heartens me to see the unity among Palestinian and anti-Zionist Jewish student organizers of the encampment, which held interfaith singing and prayer each day.”

The letter received 600 signatures in its first 24 hours of circulation, according to Vu. It comes in the  wake of various groups, including the Endowment Justice Coalition, sending over 2,800 total letters to University President Peter Salovey in various ongoing letter-writing campaigns advocating for divestment from weapons manufacturers. 

The News reached out to multiple signatories of the letter but received no response.

A separate letter to Salovey from Yale students, parents, alumni and professors that opposed divestment has amassed 161 signatures, including 133 in its first 24 hours last week. 

In response to the letter pledging to withhold donations, a University spokesperson directed the News to Salovey’s previous messages to the Yale community issued throughout the week. In an April 24 email, Salovey directed Yale community members to voice concerns regarding investments in military weapons manufacturing to the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility, which reviews and makes recommendations on Yale’s investment policies based on the University’s ethical investment guidelines

“Any member of the Yale community is invited to write to the ACIR or to attend future open meetings,” Salovey wrote. “There are available pathways to continue this discussion with openness and civility, and I urge those with suggestions to follow them.”

Multiple pro-divestment groups and individuals, including Lukey Ellsberg, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Religious Studies, as well as members of the Endowment Justice Coalition at Yale, gave presentations or attended the ACIR’s annual open meeting in November 2023. Pro-divestment organizers previously expressed that they have “exhausted” every official means of communication with the ACIR and the Yale Corporation.

The ACIR was established in the 1972–73 academic year.

Yolanda Wang (she/her) covers endowment, finances, and donations. She is a sophomore in Davenport College majoring in political science.
Tristan Hernandez is the 147th Editor in Chief and President of the Yale Daily News. He previously served as a copy editor and covered student policy & affairs and student life for the University desk. Originally from Austin, Texas, he is a rising junior in Pierson College majoring in political science.