NYU Faculty Members Arrested Alongside Students in Pro-Palestinian Protest


New York University (NYU) found itself at the center of controversy as about 20 faculty members were among the 100 to 120 individuals arrested during a pro-Palestinian protest on Monday night. The protest, which took place on the lower Manhattan campus, was reportedly met with a strong response from the New York City Police Department (NYPD), leading to tense confrontations and allegations of improper conduct.

NYU Faculty Members Arrested Alongside Students in Pro-Palestinian Protest

(Photo : PEXELS / Ömer Faruk Yıldız)

Faculty Members Charged with Trespassing

Rebecca Karl, a history professor and president of NYU's American Association of University Professors (AAUP) chapter, stated that the faculty members were charged with trespassing despite the protest on Gould Plaza, a designated area for such activities. Karl criticized the NYPD, suggesting they "couldn't keep count properly" of the faculty members arrested, leading to uncertainty about the exact number detained.

The NYPD, in response, stated that 120 individuals were taken into custody, with 116 released with summonses for trespassing. The remaining four, all in their 20s, faced more severe charges of resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration. However, the police did not clarify how many of those arrested were faculty members, leaving some details of the arrests unclear.

READ MORE: Protests Escalate: Columbia And Yale Universities Move Classes Online Amid Israel-Hamas Protests 

University Response and Controversy

NYU's response to the protest and subsequent arrests has also sparked controversy. John Beckman, an NYU spokesman, stated that the university had called in the NYPD after protesters breached barriers set up by the university. Beckman described the protest as "considerably disruptive of classes and other operations" and claimed that many additional protesters who joined the demonstration were not affiliated with NYU.

Karl, however, painted a different picture, alleging that the university's actions were unjustified. She claimed that the protest began peacefully and that the university's decision to call in the NYPD was unwarranted. Karl stated that the students were attempting to create an encampment, a tactic used by pro-Palestinian demonstrators on other university campuses. She also mentioned that Jewish students hosted a Passover seder on Gould Plaza, followed by Muslim demonstrators' Maghrib prayer before the police intervened.

Faculty and Student Reactions

The arrests have left both faculty and students shocked and outraged. Karl expressed dismay at what she perceived as a betrayal by NYU's president, Linda G. Mills, accusing her of calling the police in an "unprecedented way." Karl stated that faculty members and students were working together to coordinate a response to the arrests and the university's handling of the situation.

The incident has also raised concerns about academic freedom and the right to protest on university campuses. Some have criticized NYU for handling the protest, arguing that the university should have allowed the demonstration without police intervention. Others have defended the university, stating that it had a responsibility to maintain order and ensure the safety of its students and faculty.

The arrest of 20 NYU faculty members alongside students in a pro-Palestinian protest has sparked controversy and debate. The incident has highlighted issues of academic freedom, the right to protest, and the role of law enforcement on university campuses. As the university and its community grapple with the aftermath of the protest, questions remain about how such situations should be handled in the future.

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