New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

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Pro-Palestinian students hold daylong strike in Paulson Center

Members of pro-Palestinian student groups on campus organized a daylong strike in the Paulson Center lobby, during which both Campus Safety and police officers were stationed at the building.
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Naisha Roy
NYU students occupied the Paulson Center lobby as a part of the international day of protest on Dec. 11 in response to the Israel-Hamas war. (Naisha Roy for WSN)

Dozens of students filled the lobby of the Paulson Center for nine hours on Monday, joining a global strike calling for a permanent cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war. The students also demanded that NYU protect pro-Palestinian speech on campus and shut down its Tel Aviv site. Campus Safety and police officers stood guard outside the building during the demonstration, stopping individuals entering the building to check for NYU IDs.

Students at the demonstration displayed Palestinian flags on the floor of the lobby, as well as banners reading “NYU HAS BLOOD ON ITS HANDS” and “NYU OUT OF PALESTINE.” Campus Safety and New York City Police Department officers stood in the building’s lobby during the demonstration. Members of pro-Palestinian groups on campus, including Students for Justice in Palestine and Shut It Down NYU, attended the strike event, with many demonstrators wearing masks and keffiyeh scarves. 

In a post on Shut It Down NYU’s Instagram account about the event, the student group also demanded that the university “immediately remove the standing presence” of the NYPD on campus. The group cited a 2020 statement from Campus Safety head Fountain Walker saying “the presence of the NYPD is not common in NYU’s midst.” The students plan to organize another daylong strike on Tuesday, according to another Instagram post.

“The university’s aim is to have demonstrations proceed in a peaceful, non-violent and non-disruptive manner; we think that’s an important and sensible goal in this charged environment,” NYU spokesperson John Beckman wrote to WSN. “The Department of Campus Safety assigns what it determines is the proper deployment of Campus Safety officers and takes other appropriate measures to achieve that outcome.”

In October, NYU added 4,000 patrol hours for Campus Safety officers around its Washington Square and Brooklyn campuses. It also announced that it would be working with the NYPD to increase police presence around Washington Square Park and key university buildings in response to on-campus tensions over the Israel-Hamas war. 

The global strike came in response to a failed UN resolution that would have demanded a humanitarian cease-fire in the war, which the United States blocked. The resolution came amid growing international demands for a cease-fire, including demonstrations across U.S. college campuses. 

Students have continued to protest as Palestinian deaths in the conflict rise, with more than 17,700 Palestinians now having been killed in the war, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. At the same time, many Jewish students have been criticizing universities for their handling of antisemitism on their campuses, with both state and federal lawmakers threatening to cut their funding.

Pro-Palestinian students on campus have said they believe NYU Tel Aviv violates the university’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policies and Code of Ethical Conduct because of an Israeli law barring foreigners who have called for a boycott of the country from entering its borders. NYU has reiterated its commitment to the study abroad program, arguing that shutting it down would violate academic freedom. 

In November, SJP organized a pro-Palestinian demonstration at Washington Square Park, which also saw heightened police presence. The protest was originally planned to take place at the Stern School of Business’ Gould Plaza, but was relocated after Campus Safety officers blocked the area off with metal barriers. 

“The presence of Campus Safety is to support events going well,” Beckman said. “Even as NYU remains unequivocally committed to the free exchange of ideas, it is also committed to fostering an environment where community members feel safe to live, learn and engage in reasoned discourse with one another.”

Contact Naisha Roy at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Naisha Roy, Editor-at-Large
Naisha Roy is a second-year studying journalism and Spanish & Linguistics. She loves covering topics like immigration issues and NYU policies. In her free time, she's probably doing the daily crossword or cooking while listening to Taylor Swift. She loves spending her weekends finding cheap food spots around the city with her four best friends. You can reach out to her on Instagram @naisharoy9 if you ever need to rant about how AP Style doesn't use the Oxford Comma.

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