College protests live updates: More protests, encampments pop up at Princeton, Northwestern and more

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Friday, April 26, 2024
Hundreds arrested as universities crack down on pro-Palestinian encampments
Hundreds arrested as universities crack down on pro-Palestinian encampments

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:


The University of Southern California has canceled its main stage graduation ceremony as the campus is roiled by protests stemming from the Israel-Hamas war.

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 during a protest at the university for alleged trespassing. One person was arrested for alleged assault with a deadly weapon.

MORE | USC campus remains closed to public after mass arrests of pro-Palestinian demonstrators

USC's campus will remain closed to the general public until further notice, although classes will go on as scheduled, one day after nearly 100 people were arrested when police cleared an "occupation" of USC's Alumni Park by pro-Palestinian protesters.

LAPD Capt. Kelly Muniz told reporters that there was an altercation, but she did not have specific details of the alleged assault. There were no reports of injuries. The university posted on X on Wednesday that it had closed campus and that police would arrest people who did not leave.

Earlier in the day police removed several tents, then got into a back-and-forth tent tugging match with protesters before falling back.

At one point, USC police detained a man and put him in a vehicle. A crowd surrounded the car and chanted "Let him go!" and the officers eventually did so.


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, acting as an inspiration for other students across the country and motivating protesters at Columbia to regroup.

Columbia officials said that negotiations were showing progress as they neared the school's deadline of early Friday to reach an agreement on dismantling the encampment. Nevertheless, two police buses were parked nearby and there was a noticeable presence of private security and police at entrances to the campus.

MORE | Protests spread to other colleges in Tri-State amid criticism over response at Columbia

Janice Yu has the latest on protests at college campuses.

"We have our demands; they have theirs," said Ben Chang, a spokesperson for Columbia University, adding that if the talks fail the university will have to consider other options.

Just past midnight, a group of some three dozen pro-Palestinian protesters handed out signs and started chanting outside of the locked Columbia University gates. They then marched away as at least 40 police officers assembled nearby.

Columbia University said it is enhancing security along the campus' perimeter after it was made aware of several "potentially significant" protests planned outside the gates of campus on Thursday evening.

The campus remains restricted to Columbia University ID holders.

U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson visited Columbia on Wednesday to meet with Jewish students over concerns about antisemitism on college campuses. Johnson said Israel and Jewish students on campus will not stand alone. Protesters nearby said they couldn't hear him and he responded, "Enjoy your free speech."


University of Texas students who were arrested Wednesday will not be facing charges at this time and have been ordered released due to deficiencies in probable cause, according to the Travis County Attorney's Office.

Dozens of police officers and state troopers, including some on horseback and holding batons, forcefully arrested more than two dozen student protesters and a local news photographer at the University of Texas at Austin Wednesday after university officials and the governor called authorities.

"Legal concerns were raised by defense counsel. We individually reviewed each case that was presented and agreed there were deficiencies in the probable cause affidavits. The Court affirmed and ordered the release of those individuals. We will continue to individually review all cases presented to our office to determine whether prosecution is factually and legally appropriate," the Travis County Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Protesters said they had planned a walkout and march to the main campus lawn, where students would occupy the space and host events throughout the afternoon. But the university said in a statement that it would "not tolerate disruptions" like those at other campuses.

As of Wednesday night, 34 people had been arrested related to the protest, according to a post on the social platform X by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Agency spokesperson Sheridan Nolen said troopers had responded at the request of university officials and Gov. Greg Abbott.

Abbott said on X that the protesters belong in jail, and that any student who joins what he called hate-filled, antisemitic protests at any public college or university in the state should be expelled.

A photographer covering the demonstration for local Fox affiliate, Fox 7 Austin, was among those arrested after being caught in a push-and-pull between law enforcement and students. The station confirmed the arrest in its online story. Another journalist was knocked down in the mayhem and was seen bleeding before police helped him to emergency medical staff, who bandaged his head.

In a statement, University President Jay Hartzell said that peaceful protests within the university's rules are acceptable but that breaking the rules and disrupting others' ability to learn are not allowed.

"Our rules matter, and they will be enforced," his statement said. "Our University will not be occupied."


The University of California, Los Angeles said it is "actively monitoring" a demonstration after students erected an encampment Thursday morning.

"Our top priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our entire Bruin community," Mary Osako, a UCLA spokesperson, said in a statement. "We're actively monitoring this situation to support a peaceful campus environment that respects our community's right to free expression while minimizing disruption to our teaching and learning mission."

MORE | Pro-Palestinian protesters set up encampment on UCLA campus

Organizers of the "Palestine Solidarity Encampment,'' similar to their counterparts at USC, issued a list of demands that include divestment of all University of California and UCLA Foundation funds from companies tied to Israel.

Access to the campus' Royce Hall and Powell Library has been restricted to students who present ID, the university said.

Students for Justice in Palestine, University of California Los Angeles, one of the organizers of the encampment, called on the university to divest of funds from Israeli military operations and said in a social media post that they are "staying until our demands are met."


Brown University students began an encampment on campus Wednesday, with a student group warning other students that the university is threatening to crack down on protesters.

"Brown admin is using unprecedented repressive tactics to prevent peaceful student protest. They are doing random ID sweeps to identify people and threatening disciplinary action," the Brown Divest Coalition said in a statement on Instagram.

Students participating in the encampment "have been informed they will face conduct proceedings," Brown said in a statement to ABC News, because the encampment on the university's "greens" is a violation of policies. Brown added it has supported previous protests and activism on campus, including a hunger strike, that were "within the bounds of our policies."

"Protest is an acceptable means of expression at Brown, but it becomes unacceptable when it violates University policies that are intended to ensure the safety and security of members of the Brown community and that there is no interference in the rights of others to engage in the regular operations of the university. Early on Wednesday and periodically since, the University asked all participants in the encampment to present their Brown IDs to verify association with Brown for safety and security reasons and to appropriately address violations of policy," Brown said in a statement to ABC News.

"University administrators and the Department of Public Safety will continually monitor the situation and act as necessary. We have been troubled by reports of violence, harassment and intimidation at some encampments on other campuses, but we have not seen that kind of behavior at Brown. Any such behavior would not be tolerated," Brown said.


Princeton University students began a Gaza solidarity encampment on Thursday, demanding the university divest from Israel and that Israel end its campaign on Gaza.

The students are also calling for an academic boycott of Israel and Israeli universities -- including ending study abroad programs with Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, students said in a statement.

2 graduate students arrested at Princeton University as campuses grapple with protests

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters arrested on college campuses

"Princeton students stand in solidarity with Columbia University's Gaza Solidarity Encampment, launched on April 17. They strongly condemn the decisions of Columbia University, Yale University, New York University, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and Cal Poly Humboldt's administrations to employ militarized police against their own students and demand the immediate release of all arrested students, the immediate dropping of all charges, and the immediate revocation of suspensions and evictions," students said in a statement.

"Despite the systematic repression of pro-Palestinian voices, students will continue to stand their ground," students said.

Administrators say the encampment violates school policy.

"This morning, fewer than 100 people gathered on campus, and a small number began erecting about a half-dozen tents, which is a violation of University policy," a university spokesperson said in a statement "After repeated warnings from the Department of Public Safety to cease the activity and leave the area, two graduate students were arrested for trespassing. All tents were then voluntarily taken down by protestors. The two graduate students have been immediately barred from campus, pending a disciplinary process."


Students at Northwestern University began setting up an encampment on campus grounds Thursday morning, joining the growing list of students across the country demanding their schools divest from Israel and companies that support its campaign on Gaza.

Northwestern says setting up a tent encampment is "prohibited" under university policies and campus police are at the encampment, working to have the tents removed.

"Students who refuse to remove their tents will be subject to arrest and their tents will be removed by the University. Community members who do not adhere to University policies will face discipline," Northwestern University told ABC News in a statement.

MORE | Northwestern University students build encampment on Deering Meadow in pro-Palestinian protest

Janice Yu has the latest on protests at college campuses.

"Northwestern is committed to the principles of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly - and to protecting the safety of all members of our community, as well as limiting disruptions to University operations," Northwestern said.

The Northwestern University Divestment Coalition, a student group, says protesters are refusing to leave their encampment.

Videos and posts posted by other student groups on Instagram show police responding to the scene, warning students that they will begin issuing citations and arrests if they do not leave.


Two pro-Palestinian students participating in a protest on campus were arrested Tuesday and charged with criminal trespassing, after "repeated warnings to be quiet," said university spokesperson Ben Johnson.

About 50 protesters had gathered at a campus amphitheater to share stories about their connections to the Palestinian people before marching. While stopping at a building on the university's medical campus, two individuals became "disruptive," Johnson said. Per university policy, the students who were arrested will be referred to the student conduct office.

On Thursday evening, police clashed with protesters. Those who refused to leave after warnings were arrested and charged with criminal trespass, said university spokesperson Benjamin Johnson, citing rules barring overnight events.


Trying to stay ahead of protests, Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, locked most gates into its famous Harvard Yard ahead of classes Monday and limited access to those with school identification. The school also posted signs warning against setting up tents or tables on campus without permission. Those efforts didn't stop protesters from setting up a camp with 14 tents Wednesday, which came after a rally against the university's suspension of the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee.


Protesters at the university used furniture, tents, chains and zip ties to block entrances to an academic and administrative building on Monday. Protesters chanted, "We are not afraid of you!" before officers in riot gear pushed into them at the building's entrance, video shows. University officials closed the campus through this weekend, saying instruction would continue to be remote. They 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 are not students were also inside one of the occupied buildings. Humboldt is located about 300 miles (480 kilometers) north of San Francisco.


Boston Police said Thursday that 108 people were arrested at an encampment at Emerson College. Police said four officers suffered injuries that weren't considered life-threatening. Those arrested were expected to appear in Boston Municipal Court.

On Tuesday, about 80 students and other supporters at Emerson College occupied a busy courtyard on the downtown Boston campus. College officials warned the students on Wednesday that some of the protesters were in violation of city ordinances, including by blocking a right-of-way and fire hydrants, and violating noise laws. The school said the alley where some protesters have set up tents is owned by the city, and Boston police have warned of imminent law enforcement action. The college said in a statement that campus police were offering escort services for students after officials received credible reports of some protesters engaging in "targeted harassment and intimidation of Jewish supporters of Israel."


At New York University, an encampment set up by students 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.


At Emory University in Atlanta, local and state police swept in to dismantle a camp. Some officers carried semiautomatic weapons, and video shows officers using a stun gun on one protester they had pinned to the ground. The university said late Thursday that objects were thrown at officers and they deployed "chemical irritants" as a crowd control measure.

Georgia State Patrol officers detain a protester on the campus of Emory University during an pro-Palestinian demonstration Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Atlanta.
Georgia State Patrol officers detain a protester on the campus of Emory University during an pro-Palestinian demonstration Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Atlanta.
AP Photo/Mike Stewart

Jail records showed 22 people arrested by Emory police were charged with disorderly conduct. Emory said it had been notified that 28 people were arrested, including 20 members of the university community, and some were released.

Law enforcement cleared a quad at Emory University where students had erected an encampment, the Atlanta university said.

DPS released an accounting of their response:

"On April 25, 2024, at 8:30 am, the Emory Police Department and Atlanta Police Department requested the assistance of DPS with an encampment protest at Emory University. Georgia State Troopers and Motor Carrier Officers responded to break up the encampment but were met with protestors who threw bottles and refused to leave," the statement began.

"As Troopers and Officers began to take the protestors into custody, one actively resisted arrest," DPS said, noting they used a Taser on the individual as they "continued to resist."

DPS said during its response to the encampment, "Troopers deployed pepper balls to control the unruly crowd but did not use tear gas."


An encampment at the center of the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor had grown to about 40 tents on Tuesday. Almost every student there wore a mask, which was handed to them when they entered. Student protesters declined to identify themselves to reporters, saying they feared retribution by the university. One student stood near the encampment passing out small flags of Israel, saying he didn't want Jewish students walking through campus to only see the protesters.


U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar attended a protest at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday, hours after nine demonstrators were arrested when police took down an encampment in front of the library. Hundreds had rallied to demand their release. Omar's daughter was among the protesters arrested at Columbia last week.

On Wednesday, more than 80 professors and assistant professors signed a letter calling on the University of Minnesota's president to drop any charges, lift any ban on the arrestees' presence on campus and to allow future encampments.


Police arrested 48 protesters, including four who were not students, after they refused to leave an encampment on a plaza at the center of Yale University's campus in New Haven, Connecticut, on Monday.


Protesters at the University of California, Berkeley, had set up about 30 tents as of Tuesday.


Northeastern University in Boston said it will "take action accordingly" against pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrating on its Centennial Quad on Thursday.

"The quads on Northeastern's Boston campus are reserved by the division of Student Life for scheduled university events," a university spokesperson said in a statement. "Students currently demonstrating on Centennial Quad do not have authorization and are in violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Those who are not affiliated with Northeastern are trespassing. The university will take action accordingly."

The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this report.