The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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Northeastern administration releases statement about encampment and arrests

98 individuals arrested, including 29 Northeastern students and 6 Northeastern faculty and staff, the university says
Lauren Salemo
Pro-Palestine protesters gather, pitch tents and rest April 25 around 6 p.m. during the encampment. Northeastern University released a statement April 29 regarding the administration’s thoughts on the encampment.

In a joint statement sent to the Northeastern community Monday, Provost David Madigan and Chancellor Ken Henderson addressed the circumstances that led to the university’s decision to dismantle the pro-Palestine encampment on Centennial Common that began Thursday morning.

The statement, which is titled “Moving Forward Together” and was also posted to university news outlet Northeastern Global News, addressed the “untenable dilemma” of balancing freedom of speech with community safety.

“While we embrace — and even celebrate — the spirited exchange of divergent views, we must balance that aspiration with our responsibility for the safety and well-being of more than 30,000 people who live, work and study on our Boston campus,” the statement reads. “We must always be vigilant in maintaining an environment in which those activities can take place without fear of harassment, intimidation and name calling.”

The statement goes on to detail the three main circumstances that led to the eventual dispersion of the encampment and arrest of protesters. 

According to the statement, the encampment was “an unauthorized occupation of university space” and student protesters were in active violation of the university’s policy regarding demonstrations. In a statement to The News Thursday morning, Vice President for Communications Renata Nyul said that “the quads on the Boston campus are reserved for university events” and “students currently demonstrating on Centennial Quad are in violation of the Code of Conduct.”

Another threat to safety was the arrival of non-Northeastern protesters to the encampment, Madigan and Henderson said.

“While these non-affiliates are clearly passionate about their cause, we are not able to hold them accountable for their actions through the university’s traditional avenues and codes of conduct,” the statement continues. “The Northeastern University Police Department eventually concluded that the protest would soon present a threat to the safety of all involved.”

The university also cited the “persistent use of intolerant and hurtful speech over the course of two days” and its peak Friday night — when a pro-Israel counter protester shouted “Kill the Jews” — as one of the reasons behind the decision to disperse the encampment.

“Hate speech has no place in any decent society, least of all on a college campus,” the statement reads. “The identities and motivations of individuals who made reprehensible antisemitic statements — irrespective of who they are — are being investigated.”

According to the statement, these factors in combination left the university “no choice but to act.” Protesters were given multiple advanced notices about the dismantling of the encampment and were given many opportunities to leave the area, Madigan and Henderson wrote. 

The statement provided exact numbers as to how many protesters were arrested.

“Those who refused to leave were detained by police. Students who showed a valid Northeastern ID before arrest were released and will face disciplinary proceedings in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. Those not affiliated with Northeastern, or who refused to show identification, were arrested. According to the official police report, 98 individuals were arrested, including 29 Northeastern students and 6 Northeastern faculty and staff.”

The Northeastern University Police Department’s police reports are not subject to public records requests, and Nyul told The News the university will not be making the public the report referenced in the statement.

The end of the statement emphasizes the necessity to “restore civility” to Northeastern’s campus as the 2024 commencement ceremonies approach.

“The week ahead represents the culmination of our collective work. Commencement 2024 will showcase the incredible achievements of our students, who will harness what they’ve learned at Northeastern to tackle society’s grand challenges. While debate and disagreement are hallmarks of academic discourse, we must never demonize those with whom we disagree. We must remain one community united in the pursuit of knowledge.”

President Joseph E. Aoun’s name was notably absent from the signatories of the statement. And while the News verified that both Henderson and Madigan, as well as several other senior administrators, visited Centennial Common during the roughly 48-hour span of the encampment, Aoun was not seen.

About the Contributor
Kristina DaPonte
Kristina DaPonte, Lifestyle Editor
Kristina DaPonte is a third-year journalism major with a minor in communication studies. She is the deputy lifestyle editor for The News as well as a contributor to Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine. She's excited to bring exciting, engaging stories to the table. Follow her @dapontekristina on Twitter for updates.
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