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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‘The university is afraid of its students’: First arrested protester arraigned, arrested Northeastern student protesters hold press conference

Annika Sunkara
Kyler Shinkle-Stolar (center) stands linking arms with Sahra Ahmed (left) and August Escandon, two student protesters who were arrested for their involvement in the Centennial Common encampment. Shinkle-Stolar’s trespassing charges were dismissed during an arraignment April 29 at Boston Municipal Court in Roxbury.

A group of around 11 Northeastern students, many of whom were arrested Saturday morning at the Gaza solidarity encampment on Centennial Common, held a press conference Monday morning outside of Boston Municipal Court in Roxbury. The conference was held following the 9 a.m. arraignment of Kyler Shinkle-Stolar, who identified himself as a fifth-year biology major and was the first individual arrested at the encampment on Thursday.

The group spoke to reporters from NBC 10 Boston, GBH Boston, The Boston Globe and two editors from The News regarding arrest details, Northeastern’s decision to enact a police sweep of the encampment, protesters’ outstanding demands for the university and the presence of outside protesters at the encampment. 

“We’re here to put pressure on Northeastern to disclose their ties to Israel, to denounce the genocide happening at a bare minimum and to divest from Israel,” said Maya, an arrested student at the press conference who asked that their last name be withheld due to fear of retaliation. “This can’t be happening under our name anymore. We want the killing to stop, and we want Northeastern to stop being complicit in that.”

As of April 30, more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, 2023, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

According to the university, 98 people were arrested Saturday at the encampment, including 29 Northeastern students and six Northeastern faculty and staff. Charges for Northeastern affiliates include trespassing, rioting and failure to disperse, as well as least one charge for resisting arrest, according to a Huntington News analysis of court documents. Many arrested individuals appear to have attended other Boston-area universities, including Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston University and Emerson College.

Arraignments for the remainder of arrested individuals will reportedly continue through May 7, with many, including Shinkle-Stolar, receiving legal representation from attorneys in the National Lawyers Guild.

Students say school’s actions were ‘despicable,’ ‘deplorable’

Student protesters who spoke outside the courthouse Monday repeated their demands for the university, condemned the police sweep of the encampment and said they didn’t want their arrests to distract from the situation in Gaza. 

A student who was injured during the arrests, though not because of police action, said the university’s claim that it ended the protest for safety reasons was “deplorable.” 

“As someone who needed a medic during the arrests, it was despicable and deplorable that the university said they were doing this for community safety,” said Chelsea, who was using crutches at the press conference and asked that their last name be withheld due to fear of retaliation.

Chelsea appeared to fall to the ground while law enforcement approached the encampment, The News previously reported.

“We were there in peaceful protest. It was a really beautiful energy. We were there celebrating life and showing community care,” Maya said. “There was absolutely no reason for the university or police departments to crack down on us like that when we were expressing our right to protest and our free speech. We were creating a space of love and community care to stand in solidarity with our people in Palestine.”

The students denounced the university’s explanation for sweeping the encampment — that someone had said “Kill the Jews” — and emphasized that several Jewish students participated in the encampment. Demonstrators also held a Passover Seder Thursday evening. Videos showed that a counter protester holding an Israeli flag made the remark in an attempt to provoke demonstrators at the encampment. 

“The university needs to acknowledge that, yes, there was antisemitism that occurred, and that antisemitism came directly from two Zionist counter protesters,” said a student who identified himself as Noah, and asked that his last name be withheld due to fear of retaliation. “The university said that antisemitism and remarks such as ‘Kill the Jews’ are never acceptable. And that’s true, which is why we demand that the university hold the two people who actually made those remarks accountable.” 

In a Saturday statement to The News, Vice President for Communications Renata Nyul said that “any suggestion that repulsive antisemitic comments are sometimes acceptable depending on the context is reprehensible. That language has no place on any university campus.”

In a statement Monday, Provost David Madigan and Chancellor Ken Henderson said the “identities and motivations of individuals who made reprehensible antisemitic statements — irrespective of who they are — are being investigated.”

Several Northeastern Jewish student and faculty groups, as well as pro-Israel students who visited the encampment Friday, viewed pro-Palestinian chants as calls to “erase and dismantle the Jewish state” and “aggressive resistance against Israel,” with one pro-Israel bystander interpreting them, “unequivocally, as a call for genocide against our people and an eradication of the Israeli people.”

Jewish students participating in the encampment have repeatedly stated the demonstration was a welcoming environment. 

Shinkle-Stolar, who is Jewish, expressed disappointment that the university cited the antisemitic remarks as justification for the police sweep, saying that many Jewish people were present at the encampment and that his arrest prevented him from attending the Passover Seder Thursday night. 

He also continually returned the conversation to Gaza when asked questions about his arrest and the encampment, saying that it is “quite despicable that we’re spending so much time talking about language being used and not about the actual, material violence that Palestinians are facing on a daily, hourly, by-the-second basis.

“When we say, ‘never again,’ it’s not … for just Jewish people, it’s never again for any people,” Shinkle-Stolar said. 

In addition to the Seder, students at the press conference said the encampment was a space of community and learning for participants. Multiple emphasized that there was “no reason” for the university to end the encampment and that there was no threat to student safety. 

“It is clear that the university is afraid of its students. It is afraid of community. It is afraid of seeing it on its campus and allowing it to continue,” said Victoria, a Northeastern student who asked that their last name be withheld due to fear of retaliation. “That is why the encampment was raided forcefully by police.”

When asked whether they thought the university would listen to their demands, some speakers, like one who identified themselves as Alex and asked that their last name be withheld due to fear of retaliation, said they “have certainty” a time would come when the university would divest. Others said the school will continue to remain “complicit” to protect their “image.”

The students also renewed calls for divestment following the university’s statement in February that it would not divest from military-industrial companies because it does not want its endowment to be used as a tool to make political statements. 

“The truth is, genocide is a political purpose, and the university has a responsibility to tell us where our tuition dollars are going so that we are not invested in the slaughter of innocent people in Palestine,” Maya said.

On Tuesday, Brown University announced it had reached a deal between encampment organizers and administrators to end students’ encampment by agreeing that the university’s highest governing board would vote on divesting from companies with ties to Israel in the fall. It is the first instance since Gaza solidarity encampments swept the nation in which a university has yielded to protesters’ demands to consider divestment.

When asked if the university met or negotiated with students regarding their demands, Nyul advised The News to examine the statement written from Madigan and Henderson. The statement makes no mention of the demonstrators’ demands, and Nyul could not be immediately reached for follow-up questions.

Students detail ‘traumatic’ police force

Despite the relatively orderly nature of arrests at Northeastern’s encampment compared to arrests made at other universities, some speakers said police “manhandled” and “roughed up” students and denied arrestees’ requests to use the bathroom. 

“There were some students who were manhandled pretty roughly. Other students got off pretty lightly,” Maya said. 

Nyul told The News that the “allegations that anyone was ‘roughed up’ by the police are absolutely false and without merit.” 

But some students said that police were overly forceful.

“From the beginning, it was a face-off with the police,” Maya said. “They ripped our supplies from us and confiscated materials as we tried to set up camp. And some people were harmed slightly in that process.” 

“Nobody was hospitalized, but it was a traumatic experience,” Maya said. 

While Northeastern University Police Department, or NUPD, officers are typically trained to interact with students specifically, local and state authorities like the Boston Police Department, or BPD, and Massachusetts State Police are not, though they arrested and zip-tied students alongside NUPD. The presence of BPD frightened many students after violent arrests at Emerson College on Thursday.    

The News was unable to confirm the extent of police force used or the injuries sustained by arrested students. 

Victoria also condemned the university’s decision to hold students in academic buildings where they are paying to take classes. Police took some 100 students who were arrested into Shillman Hall for processing and eventually out to police vans. 

“The irony of all of this as well is Northeastern held and detained their students where they have their classes in Shillman Hall and Ryder Hall, holding students where they’re paying to learn and actually processing them to be arrested,” Victoria said.

In Shillman, arrested protesters say they were searched and their belongings were bagged. They also say they were photographed against a chalkboard with the date written on it.  

Justifying its clearing of the encampment, Northeastern claimed the demonstration was “infiltrated” by unaffiliated, professional organizers and that the reported use of the statement “‘Kill the Jews’ … crossed the line.”

But the university has faced backlash for referencing the remark as a deciding factor for ending the encampment as it appeared to be said by a pro-Israel counter protester. Speakers at the press conference also said the university had already dispatched police and told students they had to leave before the provocative statement was said.  

“From the very beginning, BPD was on scene. Every turn they were there,” Noah said. 

“The university was looking for a scapegoat,” Shinkle-Stolar said. 

Northeastern police were present before the demonstration began, The News previously reported. Boston Police first came on scene Thursday and, in a tense 30-minute standoff, surrounded protesters before retreating

When asked whether organizing efforts would continue in light of the arrests, students said they would not back down and hoped others would take up the cause. 

“Many of us have visibly shown that we are willing to sacrifice our personal freedoms, our personal resources, for the Palestinian people,” said August Escandon, a Northeastern student who was arrested. “We believe that the other students at Northeastern have seen this, have heard this, and will be on the right side of history.”

First protester arrested on Thursday says he was targeted by police

At his arraignment 9 a.m. Monday at Boston Municipal Court in Roxbury, before the press conference, Shinkle-Stolar’s misdemeanor trespassing charges were dismissed. He was ordered 20 hours of community service and to “stay away from the property of [Northeastern]” except for official business. 

Shinkle-Stolar said at the conference that officers followed him into Ryder Hall Thursday as he was trying to use the bathroom. He said he thought he was “targeted” by police due to his past organizing efforts on campus. 

Nyul told The News that the individual NUPD arrested was not a student and was unaffiliated with the university.

“An unaffiliated individual with an active trespass was spotted and apprehended,” Nyul wrote in a statement when the arrest initially occurred. 

“I think they targeted me because, in previous semesters, I’ve been involved in actions, and I have … co-authored on a resolution that was passed in student government last spring calling on Northeastern to divest and cut ties with weapons manufacturers, including Raytheon, whose bombs are currently being used to kill tens of thousands of Palestinians,” he said.

A video posted to the Huskies for a Free Palestine, or HFP, Instagram account Friday around 12 p.m. shows Northeastern police arresting Shinkle-Stolar in Ryder Hall. While the university had repeatedly stated the arrested individual was “not affiliated” with Northeastern, Shinkle-Stolar is in the student directory, and recently released documents confirm he has a Northeastern ID. 

The video, which appears to have been taken by another demonstrator around 1 p.m. Thursday, shows a NUPD officer kneeling on the back of Shinkle-Stolar before placing him in handcuffs and bringing him to his feet. 

He then said he was escorted out the side entrance of Ryder so “people could not see that [he] was being arrested” and that police had “lied to [his] friends, classmates [and] legal observers about where [he] was being taken.”

According to a portion of a NUPD report obtained by The News, Shinkle-Stolar was transported to BPD custody and transported to Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department’s Nashua Street Jail for booking.

Shinkle-Stolar said that at Nashua Street Jail, he was strip-searched and held for “about five to six hours” before being released.

Shinkle-Stolar told The News he is a fifth-year with five credits left to complete his degree, but that he is not currently taking classes. He said that if the school lets him, he plans to take classes over the summer.

In addition to Shinkle-Stolar claiming he possessed a Northeastern ID in the video, documents also confirm his affiliation with the university. The obtained police report states that Shinkle-Stolar had his Northeastern ID on him, and his name appears in the Northeastern student directory. 

Nyul verified the arrest of an individual, later confirmed to be Shinkle-Stolar, for trespassing around 12:50 p.m. Thursday after HFP posted an announcement and condemnation of the arrest on its Instagram account.

After being asked about the video, Nyul reiterated that the individual NUPD arrested was not a student. 

He “has no enrollments for summer or any future term,” she added.

An HFP spokesperson initially told The News the individual was a student. The News reported the two statements as conflicting, unable to initially confirm Shinkle-Stolar’s affiliation.

“Although that was a terrible experience for me, it is nothing compared to what Palestinians in Gaza, and even in the West Bank and Israel proper are experiencing on a daily basis under occupation, apartheid and the ruthless genocidal assault Israel has laid onto all of them,” Shinkle-Stolar said.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 7:30 p.m. May 1 and 11:30 a.m. May 2 to include additional details about an injured student and Shinkle-Stolar’s stated affiliation with the university.

About the Contributors
Annika Sunkara
Annika Sunkara, Social Media Editor
Annika Sunkara is a second-year journalism major and audiovisual editor of The News. She aspires to continue producing accessible and engaging multimedia content. You can follow her @annika_sunkara on X/Twitter.
Emily Spatz
Emily Spatz, Campus Editor
Emily Spatz is a journalism and political science combined major with a minor in english and campus editor of The News. She is currently a general assignment reporter co-op at and has interned at her hometown newspaper covering business, city events and politics. She hopes to continue bringing pertinent, timely and thorough reporting to the Northeastern community. You can follow her @emilymspatz on X.
Eli Curwin
Eli Curwin, Senior Reporter
Eli Curwin is a third-year journalism and political science combined major and a senior reporter for The News covering campus life and university administration. He has previously served as editor-in-chief and projects editor and is excited to continue bringing thoughtful and insightful reporting to The News. Follow him on X @elicurwin for updates.
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