Rutgers Protesters Clear Out After Reaching Deal With Administrators (2024)

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Rutgers Protesters Clear Out After Reaching Deal With Administrators (1)

Jonathan Wolfe,Tim Arango and Mike Baker

Jonathan Wolfe and Tim Arango reported from Los Angeles, and Mike Baker from Seattle.

Here is the latest on campus protests.

The police on Thursday rousted protesters occupying a library at Portland State University, and demonstrators on the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick, N.J., dismantled tents shortly after the administration’s 4 p.m. deadline to disperse. It was part of an effort by authorities to dislodge pro-Palestinian demonstrations on scores of U.S. campuses.

Hours after officers in riot gear arrested about 200 protesters at the University of California, Los Angeles, President Biden condemned the violence and antisemitism that have erupted at some universities, saying that Americans have “the right to protest, but not a right to cause chaos.” Demonstrations over the war in Gaza have led to at least 2,000 arrests over the last two weeks, according to a New York Times tally.

In Mr. Biden’s remarks from the White House, the most extensive he has made since unrest engulfed U.S. campuses two weeks ago, he rejected the idea of National Guard intervention, which some Republicans have suggested, and added that the demonstrations had not influenced his views on Mideast policies.

The confrontation early Thursday at U.C.L.A., one of California’s largest campuses, came after a tense 24 hours during which police officers made arrests at Fordham University’s Manhattan campus, the University of Texas at Dallas, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and Tulane University in New Orleans, among other places.

Here’s what else to know:

  • Police officers in riot gear raided the encampment at U.C.L.A. before dawn. About 200 people were arrested, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said, and most were charged with misdemeanors such as unlawful assembly and released. Here’s a closer look at the police actions.

  • Tensions in Los Angeles had been escalating since Tuesday night, when university officials, who had initially adopted a tolerant approach, declared the encampment illegal, and some counterprotesters attacked the pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

  • Twelve people were arrested in Portland, including four students, the police said. Demonstrators had occupied the library at Portland State since Monday, piling chairs around windows, stacking wood pallets next to the doors as fortifications and establishing a medic center. Take a look inside the makeshift fortress.

  • The wave of student activism followed the April 18 arrest of 108 pro-Palestinian protesters at Columbia University in Manhattan. Demonstrators later returned, eventually taking over a campus building, before more arrests were made on Tuesday, when the police also detained protesters at City College of New York in Harlem.

  • A student protest organizer at Rutgers said that the university had accepted eight of the protesters’ 10 demands, and had agreed to continue negotiating over their main request: divestment from companies supporting Israel. The move at Rutgers followed similar deals struck with pro-Palestinian protesters at Brown in Rhode Island and Northwestern in Illinois to bring a peaceful end to their encampments. Those deals have drawn harsh criticism from some Jewish leaders.

May 2, 2024, 11:57 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 11:57 p.m. ET

Jonathan Wolfe

Reporting from Los Angeles

A day after police arrested around 200 protesters from an encampment at U.C.L.A., the quad that had served as its home for the past week was slowly returning to normal. The broken barricades and left-behind belongings were gone. But campus police restricted access to the area, and three police helicopters hovered overhead. Dozens of pro-Israel demonstrators passed through.

May 2, 2024, 11:29 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 11:29 p.m. ET

Andrés R. Martínez

The N.Y.P.D. gave some details on a gunshot that had been fired on Tuesday night inside Hamilton Hall at Columbia and said it was accidental. As police cleared the building, an officer was trying to access a barricaded area on the first floor when the gun, which had a flashlight on it, fired, the police said in a statement. No one was injured, the N.Y.P.D. said, and the bullet ended up in the frame of a wall a few feet away.

May 2, 2024, 11:29 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 11:29 p.m. ET

Andrés R. Martínez

The shooting was recorded by the officer’s body camera and has been provided to the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The police will hold a briefing at 11:30 a.m. local time on Friday.

Campus protests where arrests and detainments have taken place since April 18

A.S.U.

Cal Poly Humboldt

Case
Western

C.C.N.Y.

Columbia

Dartmouth

Emerson

Emory

F.S.U.

Fordham

Indiana
Univ.

New School

Five in N.Y.C.

N.C. State

Northeastern

Northern
Ariz. Univ.

Ohio
State

Princeton

Stony Brook

New Paltz

Tulane

U.C.L.A.

U.N.C. Chapel Hill

Univ. at Buffalo

Univ. of
Arizona

Univ. of Colorado

U. Conn.

Univ. of
Florida

Univ. of
Georgia

Univ. of Illinois

U.M.W.

Univ. of Minnesota

U.N.H.

Univ. of
New Mexico

Notre
Dame

Univ. of
South
Carolina

U.S.F.

Univ. of Tennessee

Univ. of
Utah

U.W. Madison

U.S.C.

U.T. Austin

U.T. Dallas

V.C.U.

Virginia
Tech

Wash. U.

Yale

P.S.U.

Pitt

Ala.

Alaska

Ariz.

Ark.

Calif.

Colo.

Del.

Fla.

Ga.

Hawaii

Idaho

Ill.

Ind.

Iowa

Kan.

Ky.

La.

Maine

Md.

Mass.

Mich.

Minn.

Miss.

Mo.

Mont.

Neb.

Nev.

N.H.

N.J.

N.M.

N.Y.

N.C.

N.D.

Ohio

Okla.

Ore.

Pa.

S.C.

S.D.

Tenn.

Texas

Utah

Vt.

Va.

Wash.

W.Va.

Wis.

Wyo.

A.S.U.

Cal Poly Humboldt

Case
Western

C.C.N.Y.

Columbia

Dartmouth

Emerson

Emory

F.S.U.

Fordham

Indiana
Univ.

New School

Five in N.Y.C.

N.C. State

Northeastern

Northern
Ariz. Univ.

Ohio
State

Stony Brook

New Paltz

Tulane

U.C.L.A.

U.N.C. Chapel Hill

Univ. at Buffalo

Univ. of
Arizona

Univ. of Colorado

U. Conn.

Univ. of
Florida

Univ. of
Georgia

Univ. of Illinois

U.M.W.

Univ. of Minnesota

U.N.H.

Univ. of
New Mexico

Notre
Dame

Univ. of
South
Carolina

U.S.F.

Univ. of Tennessee

Univ. of
Utah

U.W. Madison

U.S.C.

U.T. Austin

U.T. Dallas

V.C.U.

Virginia
Tech

Wash. U.

Yale

P.S.U.

Pitt

Ala.

Alaska

Ariz.

Ark.

Calif.

Colo.

Del.

Fla.

Ga.

Hawaii

Idaho

Ill.

Ind.

Iowa

Kan.

Ky.

La.

Maine

Md.

Mass.

Mich.

Minn.

Miss.

Mo.

Mont.

Neb.

Nev.

N.H.

N.J.

N.M.

N.Y.

N.C.

N.D.

Ohio

Okla.

Ore.

Pa.

S.C.

S.D.

Tenn.

Texas

Utah

Vt.

Va.

Wash.

W.Va.

Wis.

Wyo.

Note: Data as of May 3, 2024 at 9:11 p.m. E.T.

By Leanne Abraham, Bora Erden, Lazaro Gamio, Helmuth Rosales, Julie Walton Shaver and Anjali Singhvi

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Rutgers Protesters Clear Out After Reaching Deal With Administrators (5)

May 2, 2024, 10:20 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 10:20 p.m. ET

Kimberly Cortez

Reporting from Portland, Ore.

Police at Portland State University are once again working to clear demonstrators away from the campus library. Officers there are making additional arrests.

May 2, 2024, 10:09 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 10:09 p.m. ET

Jon Hurdle

Reporting from Philadelphia

At the University of Pennsylvania late Thursday, pro-Israel activists showed a compilation of news reports on the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, on a screen erected about 20 feet from a pro-Palestinian encampment. Shortly before the film began, a pro-Israel supporter started shouting at the camp with a bullhorn, but was quickly drowned out by chanting and drumming by pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

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May 2, 2024, 9:33 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 9:33 p.m. ET

Jill Cowan

Reporting from Los Angeles

Some workers in the University of California system could strike over U.C.L.A. treatment.

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The largest employee union in the University of California system said on Thursday that it was preparing to ask some or all of its members to authorize a strike over the treatment of pro-Palestinian protesters at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The announcement by United Auto Workers Local 4811, which represents some 48,000 graduate student teaching assistants, researchers and other student workers across the state, came hours after police officers arrested about 200 demonstrators at U.C.L.A. for failing to leave.

U.A.W. 4811 intends to file unfair labor practices charges that, in essence, accuse U.C.L.A. of discriminating against pro-Palestinian speech and unilaterally changing policies protecting employees’ free speech without bargaining, said Rafael Jaime, the union’s co-president and a Ph.D. candidate in the university’s English department.

The group said the university failed to protect union members who were among the pro-Palestinian student protesters when counterprotesters attacked an encampment that had stood since April 25.

Mr. Jaime said he was at the encampment Tuesday night as counterprotesters tore down barricades and shot fireworks at pro-Palestinian demonstrators, and that he was hit by pepper spray. Campus police on site did not intervene, and reinforcements from the Los Angeles Police Department and California Highway Patrol did not arrive for hours. No arrests were made.

The lack of response was quickly denounced by local leaders and Gov. Gavin Newsom, as well as by students and faculty members.

“The university was nowhere to be seen for hours and hours,” Mr. Jaime said. “They just stood there and allowed our co-workers to be brutalized.”

On Wednesday night, dozens of police officers in riot gear arrived to disperse protesters who remained at the pro-Palestinian encampment. Mr. Jaime said officers shot projectiles into the crowd of protesters and forcefully arrested students, including union members. He said he did not know how many union members had been arrested.

Arresting some 200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators while not arresting any counterprotesters who assaulted them, he said, amounted to prioritizing anti-Palestinian speech over pro-Palestinian speech, which violated the rights of university employees to free speech.

Mr. Jaime said that the union could call a strike authorization vote as early as next week, but he emphasized that it was too early to say whether a strike would include union members across the University of California system or just at U.C.L.A.

Officials at the University of California Office of the President said in a statement that the union could not legally engage in a work stoppage and expressed frustration that the union would “exploit” the situation.

The statement said that “the University of California is deeply alarmed, concerned and disappointed that our UAW-represented academic employees would choose this moment of crisis to take a vote to engage in an unlawful work stoppage.” Officials added that the university “values these employees and asks them to join it in supporting our communities at this time.”

The union’s members do much of the day-to-day work across the vast University of California system, which serves nearly 300,000 students, has some of the nation’s top researchers and is often referred to as the “crown jewel” of the state. The academic workers grade papers, lead discussion sessions and conduct research.

But the university employees often struggle with the cost of living in some of the nation’s most expensive housing markets. In 2022, the union’s members — then split into two locals — walked off the job for six weeks in one of the largest strikes by university-based workers in national history.

The union called for a cease-fire in Gaza in October, making it part of an early wave of unions declaring support for Palestinians.

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May 2, 2024, 8:52 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 8:52 p.m. ET

Rick Rojas

At the University of Mississippi in Oxford, a few dozen pro-Palestinian protesters were confronted on Thursday by a larger group of counterdemonstrators, who shouted and threw objects at them, The Clarion-Ledger reported. University officials told The New York Times that several people on both sides received warnings from the authorities, but the demonstration “ended peacefully” without arrests or injuries.

May 2, 2024, 8:56 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 8:56 p.m. ET

Rick Rojas

In a post on X, Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi shared a video from the demonstrations circulating on social media that showed protesters being drowned out by the larger group singing the “Star-Spangled Banner.” “Warms my heart,” the governor wrote.

The ‘protests’ at Ole Miss today. Watch with sound.

Warms my heart.

I love Mississippi!

pic.twitter.com/79QEJra2nM

— Governor Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) May 2, 2024

Rutgers Protesters Clear Out After Reaching Deal With Administrators (10)

May 2, 2024, 8:46 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 8:46 p.m. ET

Kimberly Cortez

Reporting from Portland, Ore.

Hours after a lengthy police operation that removed demonstrators from the Portland State University library, some protesters have returned to the area, seeking to erect barricades and reclaim the building.

May 2, 2024, 8:39 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 8:39 p.m. ET

Mike Baker

Reporting from Seattle

A man drove his vehicle toward protesters at Portland State University and then sprayed people with an eye-irritating substance before fleeing the area on foot. Police said he was later located and transported to the hospital on a mental health hold.

Video

Rutgers Protesters Clear Out After Reaching Deal With Administrators (12)

May 2, 2024, 8:22 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 8:22 p.m. ET

Chelsia Rose Marcius

A New York City police officer fired a single gunshot inside Columbia’s Hamilton Hall on Tuesday, after the police entered the building to reclaim it from protesters, according to Doug Cohen, the press secretary for the Manhattan district attorney. No one was struck, and no students were in the area when the shot was fired. It was not clear whether the shot was fired intentionally.

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May 2, 2024, 8:11 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 8:11 p.m. ET

Mike Baker

Reporting from Seattle

In Portland, Ore., police say they have now made 22 arrests related to demonstrations on the Portland State University campus.

Rutgers Protesters Clear Out After Reaching Deal With Administrators (15)

May 2, 2024, 7:54 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 7:54 p.m. ET

Julian Roberts-Grmela

Reporting from The New School in Manhattan

A group of student activists pushing for The New School, in Manhattan, to divest in companies connected to Israel said the university had disclosed a number of its investments. This afternoon, protesters with The New School Students for Justice in Palestine organized a “human blockade” in front of several entrances on campus, to try to force the university’s board of trustees to vote on a divestment resolution. Someone involved in negotiations said the board told him “a vote for divestment is not currently possible” and that “the best they can do” is have a meeting about it tomorrow.

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Rutgers Protesters Clear Out After Reaching Deal With Administrators (16)

May 2, 2024, 7:57 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 7:57 p.m. ET

Julian Roberts-Grmela

Reporting from The New School in Manhattan

Protesters said they would stay all night. The university could not be reached for comment.

May 2, 2024, 7:46 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 7:46 p.m. ET

Gaya Gupta and Tracey Tully

Gaya Gupta reported from the Rutgers University campus in New Brunswick, N.J.

Rutgers protesters end a three-day encampment after striking a deal with administrators.

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Pro-Palestinian student protesters at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., began packing up a tent encampment Thursday afternoon that they had occupied for three nights after university administrators agreed to meet many of their demands.

The university’s president, Jonathan Holloway, had given the group a 4 p.m. deadline to evacuate after postponing two dozen final exams on Thursday morning because of the disruption. Those who refused to leave would be removed “with the assistance of law enforcement,” Dr. Holloway said in a statement.

But he also indicated that talks the administration had begun holding with student protesters on Wednesday had been fruitful.

A student protest organizer said on Thursday afternoon that the university had accepted eight of the protesters’ 10 demands, and had agreed to continue negotiating over their main request: divestment from companies supporting Israel.

The move at Rutgers follows similar deals that Brown University and Northwestern University struck earlier this week to end encampments there. Some Jewish groups voiced outrage about those agreements, calling them a capitulation to demonstrators who had created a hostile environment on campus.

Rutgers has the second-largest Jewish population of any U.S. public university, after the University of Florida, according to Hillel International, the world’s largest Jewish campus organization. It also has a large number of Muslim and Arab students.

University officials said that the peaceful resolution was the result of “constructive dialogue between the protesting students and our leadership teams.”

“This agreement opens the door for ongoing dialogue and better addresses the needs of our Arab, Muslim and Palestinian student body, which numbers over 7,000,” the school said in a statement.

The university agreed to establish an Arab cultural center at the New Brunswick campus, conduct a feasibility study for the creation of a department of Middle East studies and “implement support” for 10 displaced Palestinian students to study at Rutgers, among other steps. It also promised not to retaliate against participants in the protest encampment.

Regarding the protesters’ demand that Rutgers end its partnership with Tel Aviv University, the university wrote, “Agreements with global partners are a matter of scholarly inquiry.”

Students draped in Palestinian flags and kaffiyehs hugged and congratulated each other as the tents on Voorhees Mall were dismantled. “No arrests today!” one shouted. At one edge of the lawn, a group of young men watched the encampment being taken down and chanted “U.S.A.” while waving an American flag; at another point, a few people stood on the opposite side waving an Israeli flag.

Hana Hassan, a 22-year-old undergraduate student at Rutgers, said she was celebrating the agreement as the furthest progress that she and fellow advocates for the Palestinian cause at the university had made. She noted that the deal had been reached without any arrests on campus, unlike at some other universities across the country where violence has erupted.

Ms. Hassan said she was disappointed that not all of the protesters’ demands were met, but was not discouraged. “We got 80 percent of what we wanted, and we’re going to happily take that,” she said.

Todd Wolfson, president of a union that represents about 5,000 professors and faculty members, said he was proud of the students. “It’s scary,” he said, “and they held firm for real material gains.”

Mr. Wolfson said that roughly 150 faculty members had volunteered to support the students as the size of the protest swelled on Thursday morning. The professors, who were not participating in the encampment, had formed a loose circle around the group; 100 indicated that they were willing to be arrested, Mr. Wolfson said.

Tensions had been running high even before the encampment was established.

In December, the university suspended the New Brunswick campus’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. That same month, the U.S. Education Department added Rutgers to the list of dozens of institutions under investigation because of reports of incidents of harassment tied to national origin.

Then, in April, a vandal caused an estimated $40,000 in damage after breaking into the university’s Center for Islamic Life at the end of Ramadan. A 24-year-old New Jersey man with no known connection to the school was arrested and charged with the break-in.

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May 2, 2024, 7:00 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 7:00 p.m. ET

Chelsia Rose Marcius and Sharon Otterman

Many protesters arrested in New York were not students, faculty or staff. But are they ‘outside agitators’?

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Not long after Columbia University called in the police to clear a campus building that had been seized by pro-Palestinian demonstrators on Tuesday, city officials began to point fingers at “outside agitators” who they said had guided students in taking over the building.

The seizure of the building marked a major escalation in the crisis over campus protests across the country over the war in Gaza. At a news conference, New York City’s mayor, Eric Adams, suggested the takeover was “about a change in tactics,” adding: “There is a movement to radicalize young people, and I’m not going to wait until it’s done and all of a sudden acknowledge the existence of it.”

In a later interview, the mayor put a number to it, saying that 40 percent of people arrested at the protest at Columbia and another that night at the City University of New York “were not from the school and they were outsiders.”

In those episodes at the two schools, 282 people were arrested, according to a Police Department list obtained by The New York Times.

On Thursday, Mayor Adams and Edward A. Caban, the police commissioner, released a statement saying that, of the 112 people arrested at Columbia, 29 percent were not affiliated with the school.

That percentage was similar to the findings of Times analysis of Police Department data.

But it was not clear whether the arrested protesters with no connection to the school were “outside agitators” or just hangers-on — or if they played any role in organizing or intensifying the demonstration.

According to the Times analysis, most of those arrested at Columbia appeared to be graduate students, undergraduates or people otherwise affiliated with the school, according to the Police Department list. Some were inside Hamilton Hall, the occupied building. Others were elsewhere on campus, and some appeared to be outside the campus gates.

Of those arrested who had no connection to the university, according to The Times’s review of the list, some had been involved in high-profile demonstrations for years. One was a 40-year-old man who had been arrested at anti-government protests around the country, according to a different internal police document. His role in the protest is still unclear.

At City College, where students had built an encampment in a plaza on campus, about 60 percent of the 170 people arrested were affiliated with the college, according to the mayor and the police commissioner.

But those arrested also included people who had joined a demonstration outside the campus’s locked gates; it was unclear how many of them had been involved with the longer running protest movement on campus.

Kirsten Noyes contributed research.

Rutgers Protesters Clear Out After Reaching Deal With Administrators (21)

May 2, 2024, 6:14 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 6:14 p.m. ET

Kimberly Cortez

Reporting from Portland, Ore.

Demonstrators and the police are clashing once again at Portland State University as officers attempt to clear the campus. The police have taken some demonstrators to the ground for arrest, while some protesters have thrown water bottles at the officers.

Rutgers Protesters Clear Out After Reaching Deal With Administrators (22)

May 2, 2024, 6:09 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 6:09 p.m. ET

Tim Arango,Soumya Karlamangla and Corina Knoll

Reporting from Los Angeles

U.C.L.A. tries to reconcile a week of turbulent events.

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On Thursday morning, the campus at the University of California, Los Angeles, reflected the aftermath of a protest in defeat. Littered across the lawn was a mass of trampled tents, sleeping bags, pizza boxes, blankets and poles.

Just hours earlier, as protesters chanted and sprayed fire extinguishers, police officers in riot gear tore down the pro-Palestinian encampment that had dominated a well-known quad at the university for a week.

About 200 people were arrested and booked after a standoff with the authorities, according to Nicole Nishida, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Most were charged with misdemeanors such as unlawful assembly, she said, and the majority had been released by midmorning.

About 300 protesters left voluntarily, according to the university.

Students and faculty have been left struggling to comprehend their university’s response during two days of disorder that disrupted a campus that had supported free speech as long as things remained peaceful.

Earlier this week, a violent overnight brawl between those in the encampment and dozens of counterprotesters ended only after Los Angeles authorities finally arrived. The melee had included fistfights, chemicals sprayed into the air and people being kicked or beaten with poles. Many of the participants did not include students. No arrests were made that night.

“We’d like some transparency from within the administration and within law enforcement, given the delays and inconsistencies in reaction,” said Jeremy Zwick, a third-year history major at U.C.L.A. “It was a frustrating strategy to witness, and it definitely caused a lot of confusion.”

Mr. Zwick, who was not an active protester but went inside the encampment briefly on Wednesday night to observe the scene, said he believed the police intervention early Thursday was somewhat warranted.

“From a public health perspective, there was excrement, urine everywhere,” he said. He also saw, he said, “an obvious potential for violence.” But his biggest issue was with how protesters had blocked public walkways.

The events forced the cancellation of in-person classes and various events through Friday.

“I obviously support the right to gather,” Mr. Zwick said. “But we paid for a full semester, and at least in the past week, we aren’t getting it. At the end of the day, this isn’t a space for activism. It’s a space for students.”

By early afternoon, Gene Block, the U.C.L.A. chancellor, had sent a lengthy email to the campus community saying that the university’s approach to the encampment had been guided by the need to support both free expression and the safety of the community, while minimizing disruption to learning.

“The events of the past several days, and especially the terrifying attack on our students, faculty and staff on Tuesday night, have challenged our efforts to live up to these principles,” Mr. Block said.

Administrators communicated with protest leaders but could not come to an agreement about voluntarily disbanding the encampment, he said.

Mr. Block said that when the violence broke out on Tuesday, campus leaders immediately directed the U.C.L.A. Police Department chief to call for the support of outside law enforcement. He said that the university was investigating the “violent incidents of the past several days” and was also examining its security processes.

“The past week has been among the most painful periods our UCLA community has ever experienced,” he said. “It has fractured our sense of togetherness and frayed our bonds of trust, and will surely leave a scar on the campus.”

Ariel Dardashti, 20, a Jewish student who is studying pre-law, said his parents fled Iran because of religious persecution, and that his extended family lives largely in Israel. He had come to campus on Thursday to see firsthand the images that had flooded social media: some of the university’s stately brick buildings serving as a canvas for graffiti.

Among the messages and scribbling was a red swastika painted near the entrance to the math building. “I don’t see why this had to become so polarized,” Mr. Dardashti said. He called the university’s response “deplorable” and said that he hopes the events created a needed dialogue.

“It’s just deeply troubling,” said Mr. Dardashti, who felt the protests had been antisemitic and threatening to him.

The university administration had at first followed a University of California practice to avoid calling in law enforcement unless “absolutely necessary to protect the physical safety of the campus.”

U.C.L.A. leaders abruptly changed their minds on Tuesday afternoon, calling the encampment an unlawful assembly.

When authorities arrived Wednesday night, they issued a warning to pro-Palestinian demonstrators: Leave the encampment or face arrest.

At around 3 a.m. Thursday, officers breached one of the barricades at the encampment and began to pull apart plywood and other materials that demonstrators had used to build a wall. A line of students linked arms to take its place.

Officers gave another dispersal warning to protesters. They corralled those who refused to leave and began arresting them, zip-tying their wrists and leading them away.

Police officers pulled up tents, and one removed a Palestinian flag, tossing it aside. Officers were equipped with a variety of what the police call “nonlethal” tools, including flash-bang devices. Several officers used them to fire at demonstrators at various points.

Matt Barreto, a professor of Chicano studies and political science at U.C.L.A., was inside the encampment during the morning standoff. He said there was a tent staffed by students from the medical school who tended to protesters’ cuts, bruises and splinters.

“Now the university will have to come to terms with how they treated their own students,” said Mr. Barreto, who noted that he was among about 200 faculty members who have been supporting the protesters.

Mr. Barreto also faulted the administration for how it handled things when violence erupted among those in the encampment and counterprotesters on Tuesday night.

“The university’s job is to protect students,” Mr. Barreto said. “They did nothing.”

Debate about Israel and Palestine is one of the most enduring sources of tension on University of California campuses. Pro-Palestine and pro-Israel factions of student governments routinely spar over resolutions calling on their university to divest from Israel, including at U.C.L.A. where the undergraduate student council has voted almost annually in support of divestment for the past decade.

The largest University of California employee union, which includes many graduate student researchers and student workers, announced on Thursday that it would file an unfair labor practices charge against U.C.L.A. and was weighing a strike authorization vote over what union leaders called discriminatory treatment of pro-Palestinian protesters.

Now, many people exhausted and pained from what was an unimaginable week have turned their thoughts to the future. Graduation, if it were somehow affected, would be a difficult moment to miss, particularly for students whose high school graduations were canceled during the pandemic.

“It’s a very hard process to get in here, it’s a very hard process to stay here and to keep good academic standing,” Mr. Dardashti, the pre-law student, said. “It would be very sad if we couldn’t walk on that stage.”

Reporting was contributed by Emily Baumgaertner, Shawn Hubler, Jill Cowan and Jonathan Wolfe.

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May 2, 2024, 5:49 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 5:49 p.m. ET

Vimal Patel

Reporting on education

The federal government opened a civil rights investigation into Columbia University on Thursday after pro-Palestinian students said they had been the target of harassment for several months, and that and the university failed to protect them. The complaint was filed last month by Palestine Legal, a civil rights group.

May 2, 2024, 5:50 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 5:50 p.m. ET

Vimal Patel

Reporting on education

The Education Department has opened more than 60 investigations into colleges since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas. The investigations fall under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin. A spokeswoman for Columbia University declined to comment.

May 2, 2024, 5:48 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 5:48 p.m. ET

Jill Cowan

Reporting from Los Angeles

The largest University of California employee union, which includes many graduate student researchers and student workers, said on Thursday that it would file unfair labor practices charges against U.C.L.A. and was weighing a strike authorization vote over what union leaders called discriminatory treatment of pro-Palestinian protesters at the university, where about 200 demonstrators were arrested this morning.

May 2, 2024, 5:20 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 5:20 p.m. ET

Jon Hurdle

Reporting from Philadelphia

Philadelphia's chapter of the Israeli American Council organized a counterprotest at the campus of the University of Pennsylvania on Thursday, facing off across police barriers with demonstrators at a pro-Palestinian encampment.

May 2, 2024, 5:20 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 5:20 p.m. ET

Campbell Robertson

Two people at the counterprotest said they planned to screen footage of Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel. A similar thing happened at U.C.L.A. in the days before counterprotesters attacked a pro-Palestinian encampment two nights ago.

May 2, 2024, 5:11 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 5:11 p.m. ET

Jill Cowan

Reporting from Los Angeles

Hours after some 200 arrests at U.C.L.A., the school’s chancellor, Gene Block, wrote in an email that the university had tried to allow the pro-Palestinian encampment to remain, but “several days of violent clashes between demonstrators and counter-demonstrators put too many Bruins in harm’s way.” The encampment, he added, “needed to come to an end,” and attempts to negotiate with student organizers had failed.

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May 2, 2024, 4:47 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 4:47 p.m. ET

Gaya Gupta

Reporting from New Brunswick, N.J.

Students at Rutgers University’s campus in New Brunswick, N.J., dismantled their tents shortly after a 4 p.m. deadline from the university to disperse. They said they had reached an agreement with administrators. The university, which had canceled final exams for the day because of the disruption, did not immediately comment.

May 2, 2024, 2:41 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 2:41 p.m. ET

Mike Baker

Reporting from Seattle

At Portland State University, the police said they made 12 arrests in and around the library that was occupied by demonstrators. The department said four of those arrested were students at the university.

May 2, 2024, 2:37 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 2:37 p.m. ET

Julian E. Barnes

Reporting from Washington

In response to a question from a Republican senator about whether outside countries or groups could be funding campus activism regarding the war in Gaza, Avril D. Haines, the director of national intelligence, said during a congressional hearing that the government had no evidence that Hamas was directing any of the protests, though she added that, over time, foreign nations could use the news about the protests as part of influence operations.

Rutgers Protesters Clear Out After Reaching Deal With Administrators (32)

May 2, 2024, 2:16 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 2:16 p.m. ET

Timothy Arango

Reporting from Los Angeles

About 200 people were arrested and booked after law enforcement raided the encampment at U.C.L.A. this morning, said Nicole Nishida, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The majority, she said, were charged with misdemeanors such as unlawful assembly and released.

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May 2, 2024, 1:36 p.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 1:36 p.m. ET

Mike Baker

Reporting from Seattle

The police say they have cleared the Portland State University library of demonstrators. Inside, officers reported finding unused paint balloons, and one image from police showed what appeared to be cups of dish soap next to a handwritten message: “Throw Down Stairs If Cops Come Up.”

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May 2, 2024, 11:52 a.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 11:52 a.m. ET

Peter Baker

Traveling with President Biden aboard Air Force One

Biden denounces violence on campuses, breaking his silence after a rash of arrests.

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President Biden Addresses Campus Protests

President Biden defended the right of demonstrators to protest peacefully, but condemned the “chaos” that has prevailed at many colleges nationwide.

Violent protest is not protected. Peaceful protest is. It’s against the law when violence occurs. Destroying property is not a peaceful protest. It’s against the law. Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, forcing the cancellation of classes and graduations — none of this is a peaceful protest. Threatening people, intimidating people, instilling fear in people is not peaceful protest. It’s against the law. Dissent is essential to democracy, but dissent must never lead to disorder or to denying the rights of others, so students can finish the semester and their college education. There’s the right to protest, but not the right to cause chaos. People have the right to get an education, the right to get a degree, the right to walk across the campus safely without fear of being attacked. But let’s be clear about this as well. There should be no place on any campus — no place in America — for antisemitism or threats of violence against Jewish students. There is no place for hate speech or violence of any kind, whether it’s antisemitism, Islamophobia or discrimination against Arab Americans or Palestinian Americans. It’s simply wrong. There’s no place for racism in America.

Rutgers Protesters Clear Out After Reaching Deal With Administrators (35)

President Biden broke days of silence on Thursday to finally speak out on the wave of protests on American college campuses against Israel’s war in Gaza that have inflamed much of the country, denouncing violence and antisemitism even as he defended the right to peaceful dissent.

In a previously unscheduled televised statement from the White House, Mr. Biden offered a forceful condemnation of students and other protesters who in his view have taken their grievances over the war too far. But he rejected Republican calls to deploy the National Guard to rein in the campuses.

“There’s the right to protest, but not the right to cause chaos,” Mr. Biden said into cameras in his first personal remarks on the campus fray in 10 days. “People have the right to get an education, the right to get a degree, the right to walk across the campus safely without fear of being attacked.” Antisemitism, he added, “has no place” in America.

The president’s comments came as universities across the nation continued to struggle to restore order. Police officers in riot gear arrested about 200 people as they cleared a protest encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles, while other officers removed demonstrators occupying a library at Portland State University in Oregon. Activists erected 30 tents at the University of Wisconsin-Madison a day after the police removed tents and detained 34 people.

The confrontations on Thursday followed a tense 24 hours during which police officers made arrests at Fordham University’s Manhattan campus, the University of Texas at Dallas, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and Tulane University in New Orleans, among other places. As of Thursday, the campus unrest had led to nearly 2,000 arrests at dozens of academic institutions in the last two weeks, according to a New York Times tally.

Administrators at some colleges, including Brown University in Rhode Island and Northwestern University in Illinois, opted to avoid conflict by striking deals with pro-Palestinian protesters to bring a peaceful end to their encampments — agreements that have drawn harsh criticism from some Jewish leaders.

The protests have erupted in response to Israel’s war in Gaza since the Oct. 7 Hamas-led terrorist attack killed 1,200 people in Israel and resulted in more than 200 taken hostage. More than 34,000 people in Gaza have been killed since then, according to authorities there, including both Hamas combatants and civilians. The protesters have demanded that the Biden administration cut off arms to Israel and that their schools divest from companies linked to Israel, but in many cases the demonstrations have included antisemitic rhetoric and harassment targeting Jewish students.

Some of those sympathetic to the protesters pushed back against administrators for resorting to police action. The Columbia University chapter of the American Association of University Professors on Thursday called for the condemnation of Nemat Shafik, the university’s president, after a police operation that removed students occupying Hamilton Hall and resulted in more than 100 arrests.

“Armed counterterrorism police on campus, student arrests and harsh discipline were not the only path through this crisis,” the group said.

The images of arrests and clashes have come to dominate the political debate in Washington in recent days as Republicans seek to position themselves as defenders of Jewish students and portray Democrats and university leaders as soft on antisemitism.

A day after the House passed a bipartisan measure seeking to codify a broader definition of antisemitism into federal education policy, with 70 Democrats and 21 Republicans voting no, a group of 20 Senate Republicans introduced their own version of the resolution.

“Antisemitism is rearing its ugly head at college campuses across our nation,” said the bill’s sponsor, Senator Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina and a possible vice-presidential running mate for former President Donald J. Trump. “Jewish students are being targeted with violence and harassment, and the university presidents and administrators, who should be defending them, are caving to the radical mob and allowing chaos to spread.”

Mr. Trump weighed in on social media. “This is a radical left revolution taking place in our country,” he wrote in all capital letters as the confrontation at U.C.L.A. escalated. “Where is Crooked Joe Biden? Where is Governor Newscum? The danger to our country is from the left, not from the right!!!”

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, a Democrat, issued his own statement on Wednesday. “The right to free speech does not extend to inciting violence, vandalism, or lawlessness on campus,” he said.

That was the formulation that Mr. Biden advanced during his televised comments on Thursday morning before leaving the White House for a daylong trip to North Carolina, where he met with relatives of four law enforcement officers killed in Charlotte on Monday and later gave a speech in Wilmington announcing plans to replace lead pipes.

“Destroying property is not a peaceful protest. It’s against the law,” the president said. “Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, forcing the cancellation of classes and graduations — none of this is a peaceful protest. Threatening people, intimidating people, instilling fear in people is not peaceful protest. It’s against the law. Dissent is essential to democracy, but dissent must never lead to disorder or to denying the rights of others so students can finish the semester and their college education.”

Mr. Biden has been pushing for an agreement between Israel and Hamas that would end the combat, at least temporarily, but a deal has remained elusive. Under a U.S.-sponsored proposal on the table, Israel would enter a cease-fire for six weeks and release hundreds of Palestinians held in its prisons while Hamas would free 33 of the more than 100 hostages it is still holding.

The president and his team hope that such a first stage would lead to a longer cessation of hostilities and the release of more hostages as well as more food, medicine and other aid to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. But American officials said that while Israel has agreed to the plan, Hamas has so far refused.

The president’s four-minute statement came after some Democrats frustrated by his reluctance to speak out pressed him to publicly address the campus uprisings. Until Thursday, Mr. Biden had offered only a couple of sentences in response to reporter questions on April 22 that even Democrats considered too equivocal and otherwise left it to his spokespeople to express his views. Republicans have castigated him for not weighing in himself.

Mr. Biden implied that his critics were simply being opportunistic. “In moments like this, there are always those who rush in to score political points,” he said. “But this isn’t a moment for politics. It’s a moment for clarity. So let me be clear: Peaceful protest in America. Violent protest is not protected. Peaceful protest is.”

In calming some in his party, though, Mr. Biden took heat from others on the political left. In their view, he employed none of the nuance that he expressed in 2020 when otherwise peaceful protests after the police killing of George Floyd got out of control and Mr. Biden acknowledged root causes of the anger even while condemning violence.

“He could’ve made some effort to do the same today,” said Matt Duss, a former foreign policy adviser to Senator Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist from Vermont. “Instead, he chose to amplify a right-wing caricature. Unfortunately, it’s consistent with an overall policy approach that shows little regard for Palestinian perspectives or Palestinian lives.”

In his statement, Mr. Biden emphasized that he would always defend free speech, even for those protesting his own support for Israel’s war. But he made clear that he thought too many of the demonstrations had gone beyond the bounds of simple speech.

“Let’s be clear about this as well,” he added. “There should be no place on any campus, no place in America, for antisemitism or threats of violence against Jewish students. There is no place for hate speech or violence of any kind, whether it’s antisemitism, Islamophobia, or discrimination against Arab Americans or Palestinian Americans.”

In response to questions by reporters, Mr. Biden said he would not change his Middle East policy as a result of the protests. Asked as he left the room if the National Guard should intervene, he said simply, “No.”

Reporting was contributed by Jonathan Wolfe from Los Angeles; Ernesto Londoño from St. Paul, Minn.; Bob Chiarito from Madison, Wis.; and Mike Baker from Seattle.

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May 2, 2024, 10:36 a.m. ET

May 2, 2024, 10:36 a.m. ET

Jonathan Wolfe and Isabella Kwai

Jonathan Wolfe reported from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Here is a closer look at how police cleared the U.C.L.A. protest camp.

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The Police Clear U.C.L.A. Encampment and Arrest Protesters

Pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with police officers who moved in to dismantle an encampment on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Crowd: “We are students.” “We are students.” “Free Palestine. Free Palestine.”

Rutgers Protesters Clear Out After Reaching Deal With Administrators (38)

Follow our live coverage of the college protests at U.C.L.A. and other universities.

As protesters chanted and sprayed fire extinguishers at them, police officers moved in on the pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the early hours of Thursday, tearing down its barricades, arresting dozens of people and clearing out the tents that had dominated the center of campus for days.

The chaotic scenes were part of a tense, hourslong back-and-forth between protesters and police that had been building after violent clashes a day earlier — involving counterprotesters who attacked the encampment — prompted administrators to call in law enforcement.

On Wednesday night, the authorities issued a warning to pro-Palestinian demonstrators: Leave the encampment outside Royce Hall or face arrest.

As the night wore on, officers in riot gear tried to approach the encampment through one of its entrances but were turned back several times.

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Demonstrators appeared to try several tactics to fend them off. At one point, they blocked an entrance with wooden pallets and homemade shields. They surrounded police officers, chanting “Free, free Palestine!” and “Peaceful protest!” At another point, they opened umbrellas and began flashing lights and taking photos of the police officers.

Then, at around 3 a.m. Thursday, officers breached one of the barricades at the encampment and began to pull apart plywood and other materials that demonstrators had used to build a wall. Some demonstrators sprayed fire extinguishers in response, briefly forcing some officers to fall back.

But an hour into the raid, the encampment’s main barricade had been dismantled. A line of students linking arms took its place.

Officers gave another dispersal warning to protesters. They corralled those who refused to leave and began arresting them, zip-tying their wrists and leading them away from the encampment.

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Police pulled up tents — one removed a Palestinian flag and tossed it aside — and at several points fired devices at demonstrators. It was not clear what the officers were using, but Erik Larsen, an officer for the California Highway Patrol, said in a telephone interview that its officers were equipped with a variety of “nonlethal” tools, including flash-bang devices.

By dawn, the camp had been cleared of all but a final group of demonstrators, some of whom chanted, “We’ll be back, and we’ll be stronger — you cannot ignore us any longer.” Some were detained and marched away with their hands zip-tied behind their back.

The C.H.P. — which, in addition to patrolling state highways is responsible for the safekeeping of state property, including public universities like U.C.L.A. — said that 132 demonstrators had been arrested and would be handed over to the university’s police department. At least 250 C.H.P. officers were involved in clearing the encampment, Mr. Larsen said.

Other law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the U.C.L.A. university police, were also on the scene, he said.

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Rutgers Protesters Clear Out After Reaching Deal With Administrators (2024)
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