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Police Clear Tents and Arrest N.Y.U. and New School Protesters

Police officers cleared two pro-Palestinian encampments and arrested student demonstrators at New York University and the New School early Friday morning after officials at the universities asked for their assistance, New York Police Department officials said.

Police officers arrested 56 people — 13 at N.Y.U. and 43 at the New School — according to preliminary information from the Police Department.

Student demonstrators had been sleeping in tents inside a New School building and on sidewalks outside of N.Y.U. buildings since last week. Officials at the two universities asked for the Police Department’s “assistance to disperse the illegal encampments.”

The arrests on Friday come after a turbulent week on college campuses across the country, where a wave of student activism, motivated in large part by concern for the scale of suffering in Gaza, has caused several schools to call in law enforcement agencies for help. More than 2,000 arrests have been made on campuses nationwide, according to a New York Times tally.

In New York City, police officers in riot gear entered Columbia University’s campus on Tuesday night, arresting over 100 people and clearing a group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators from a campus building they had been occupying. They arrested nearly 200 people at an encampment and protest at City College, uptown, that same night.

Police officers arrived at N.Y.U.’s campus in Greenwich Village shortly after 6 a.m. on Friday and cleared students from the area 20 minutes later with “minimal confrontation,” the university said. The school chose the early morning time frame to “minimize the likelihood of injury or spread of disruption,” John Beckman, a university spokesman, said in a statement.

The sweep on Friday followed a university announcement on Monday saying it would move to discipline student demonstrators who remained in the encampment.

Several students who had been sleeping in the N.Y.U. encampment remained at the site two hours later, waiting to collect their belongings, as university facility workers cleared the area of remaining tents and stripped fliers from a campus building. About 50 people had been asleep in the encampment when officers arrived without warning, the students said.

In a statement on social media Friday morning, the N.Y.U. Palestine Solidarity Coalition condemned the university’s decision to call in the Police Department. “We have seen seven months of targeting pro-Palestinian speech on this campus, and thus cannot agree with the admin’s claims of acting in good faith,” the statement said.

A few blocks north at the New School’s Fifth Avenue campus, where an encampment had been established in a building lobby, custodial workers deconstructed tents a few hours after the arrests. The university closed all academic buildings and moved classes online on Friday.

On Thursday afternoon, protesters with the New School Students for Justice in Palestine had organized a “human blockade” in front of several entrances on campus in an attempt to force the university’s board of trustees to vote on a resolution to divest from companies connected to Israel. Someone involved in the negotiations said that he had been told that the board would not be voting on divestment that night and had offered to meet about it on Friday instead.

Adam Young, a freshman at the New School who had been sleeping in the encampment Friday morning, said that the police did not give students a chance to evacuate the encampment. Mr. Young, who hid on a higher floor of the building during the sweep, said he planned to support classmates who had been arrested and taken to the Police Department’s headquarters later Friday.

“This is not OK,” he said. “I saw my friends with bruises, handcuffed. We’re 18 years old.”

Julian Roberts-Grmela contributed reporting.

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