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A look at the protests about the war in Gaza that have emerged on US college campuses

Yoopya with Associated Press

Student protests over the Israel-Hamas war have popped up on an increasing number of college campuses following last week’s arrest of more than 100 demonstrators at Columbia University.

The students are calling for universities to separate themselves from any companies that are advancing Israel’s military efforts in Gaza — and in some cases from Israel itself.

Protests on many campuses have been orchestrated by coalitions of student groups. The groups largely act independently, though students say they’re inspired by peers at other universities.

A look at protests on campuses in recent days:


Pro-Palestinian student protesters set up a tent encampment at the Ivy League university in New York last week. Police first tried to clear the encampment on April 18, when they arrested more than 100 protesters. But the move backfired, inspiring students across the country and motivating protesters at Columbia to regroup.

Earlier this week, the Ivy League school, where Monday is set to be the last day of classes, switched to hybrid learning. Commencement is set for May 15.

Students said Friday afternoon that they had reached an impasse with administrators and intended to continue their encampment until their demands are met. Columbia officials had earlier said that negotiations were showing progress. Despite dozens of journalists on campus and scores of police officers outside the gates, an unassuming spring day unfolded Friday with students sitting on the library’s steps or grabbing a quick bite while soon-to-be-graduates posed for photos in their powder-blue gowns.

Columbia’s president, Minouche Shafik, faced a significant, but largely symbolic, rebuke from faculty Friday but retains the support of trustees, who have the power to hire or fire the president. A report by the university senate’s executive committee, which represents faculty, found Shafik and her administration took “many actions and decisions that have harmed Columbia University,” including calling in police. Following the report, the senate passed a resolution that included a task force to monitor how the administration would make changes going forward.

Hundreds of counterprotesters gathered on the streets outside Columbia on Friday morning, many holding Israeli flags and chanting for the hostages being held by Hamas and other militants to be released.

The university said in a statement Saturday night that students and administrators had engaged in negotiations.

“Dialogue between university officials and student organizers is ongoing. We want to be clear: There is no truth to claims of an impending lockdown or evictions on campus,” the Columbia administration’s statement said.


Police in riot gear cleared an encampment on the campus of Northeastern University on Saturday. Massachusetts State Police said about 102 protesters were arrested and will be charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct. Protesters said they were given about 15 minutes to disperse before being arrested.

As workers pulled down tents and bagged up the debris from the encampment, several dozen people across from the encampment chanted, “Let the Kids Go,” and slogans against the war in Gaza. They also booed as police cars passed and taunted the officers who stood guard.

Northeastern said in a statement that the demonstration, which began two days ago, had become “infiltrated by professional organizers” with no affiliation to the university and antisemitic slurs, including “kill the Jews,” had been used.

“We cannot tolerate this kind of hate on our campus,” the statement posted on social media said.

The Huskies for a Free Palestine student group disputed the university’s account, saying in a statement that counterprotesters were to blame for the slurs and no student protesters “repeated the disgusting hate speech.”

Students at the protest said a counterprotester attempted to instigate hate speech but insisted their event was peaceful and, like many across the country, was aimed at drawing attention to what they described as the “genocide” in Gaza and their university’s complicity in the war.

About 100 people were detained and students who produced a valid ID were released. They will face “disciplinary action” but not legal action, while people who refused to disclose their affiliation were arrested, the university said.


The University of Southern California said on Saturday it had temporarily closed its University Park Campus to nonresidents, without providing details of the closure or possible enforcement measures.

Joel Curran, senior vice president of communications, said in a statement that USC property was vandalized by members of a group “that has continued to illegally camp on our campus,” as well as disrupting operations and harrassing students and others.

Students declined numerous attempts by university President Carol Folt to meet, and the administration hopes for “a more reasonable response Sunday before we are forced to take further action,” Curran said.

“While the university fully supports freedom of expression, these acts of vandalism and harassment are absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Curran said.

The university canceled its main stage graduation ceremony set for May 10 after its campus was roiled by protests. The university already canceled a commencement speech by the school’s pro-Palestinian valedictorian, citing safety concerns.

The Los Angeles Police Department said more than 90 people were arrested Wednesday night on charges of trespassing during a protest at the university. One person was arrested on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. There were no reports of injuries.

The university said Wednesday that it had closed campus and police would arrest people who did not leave.

In her first public statement in nearly two weeks, President Carol Folt in a statement late Friday — the last day of classes — condemned the protests while imploring the campus community to find common ground and ways to support each other.


Police clashed with protesters at Ohio State University in Columbus, just hours after they gathered Thursday evening. Those who refused to leave after warnings were arrested and charged with criminal trespass, said university spokesperson Benjamin Johnson, citing rules barring overnight events. Of 36 people arrested, Johnson said Friday that 16 were students and 20 were not affiliated with the university. The school’s commencement is set for May 5.


About 50 students at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., set up a tent encampment on the school’s University Yard on Thursday. Later in the day, a group of Georgetown University students and professors staged their own protest walkout and marched to the George Washington campus to join them. The protesters are demanding that the university divest from Israel and lift a suspension against a prominent pro-Palestinian student group.

The university’s last day of classes before final exams is set for Monday and commencement is scheduled for May 19. Because of the noise generated by the protests, the university said it would move law school finals to another building from the one where they had originally been scheduled.

The university said the protesters must remove tents and disperse by 7 p.m.


University officials extended the closure of the campus until May 10 — the end of the semester — saying instruction would continue to be remote, after protesters at the university in northern California used furniture, tents, chains and zip ties to block entrances to an academic and administrative building on Monday. Commencement is scheduled for May 11.

Officials said in a statement Tuesday that students had occupied a second building and three students had been arrested. On Wednesday, officials said some unidentified people who were not students were also inside one of the occupied buildings. On Thursday, the university said protesters continued to occupy the two buildings.

A dean at the school, Jeff Crane, suggested during the meeting that the university form a committee that would include students to do a deep dive into the school’s investments. Crane also suggested faculty and students continue meeting every 24 hours to keep an open line of communication. The sides have yet to announce an agreement.

The school’s senate of faculty and staff demanded the university’s president resign in a no-confidence vote Thursday, citing the decision to call police in to remove the barricaded students Monday.

On Friday, the university released a statement responding to questions from those occupying the buildings. The statement said there will be consequences for actions that violate policy or law, but officials would take into account actions by any students who choose to evacuate the occupied buildings and support efforts to clear them. It did not say the charges faced by those arrested would be dropped.

The administration also offered protesters a 5 p.m. deadline to leave and “not be immediately arrested.” But that deadline passed and local media reported that protesters remained on campus Saturday morning.

Officials on Saturday afternoon said a “hard closure” would be enforced going forward. “Individuals are prohibited from entering or being on campus without permission,” the university said in a statement.


An encampment set up by students at NYU swelled to hundreds of protesters earlier this week. Police on Wednesday said that 133 protesters had been taken into custody. They said all were released with summonses to appear in court on disorderly conduct charges. Commencement is set for May 15.


At Emory University in Atlanta, where Atlanta police and Georgia state troopers had dismantled a camp on the school’s quadrangle, the school president on Friday said in an email that some of the videos of a clash between police and people on the campus “are shocking” and that he is “horrified that members of our community had to experience and witness such interactions.”

School officials said 20 of the 28 people arrested were “Emory community members.”

Video circulated widely on social media shows two women who identified themselves as professors being detained, with one of them slammed to the ground by one officer as a second officer then pushes her chest and face onto a concrete sidewalk. In a separate incident Thursday evening, some protesters pinned police officers against the glass doors of the Candler School of Theology on the campus and threw objects at the officers, Emory’s president said.

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A look at the protests about the war in Gaza that have emerged on US college campuses

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