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

NYU says it is not considering divestment from Israel amid protests

Students and faculty held demonstrations calling for the university to divest from companies with ties to Israel and shut down its Tel Aviv program in multiple locations on campus two days after police swept the Gaza Solidarity Encampment at Gould Plaza.
Matt Petres
(Matt Petres for WSN)

NYU told WSN it would not consider divesting from companies with connections to Israel, as pro-Palestinian protesters continued to call for the university to cut ties with the country during demonstrations outside Bobst Library, the Paulson Center and Lipton Hall on Wednesday. 

In a written statement, NYU spokesperson John Beckman said the university is not considering divestment because it is trying to maximize returns on its endowment to “help the university fulfill its research and educational mission.” Beckman said NYU’s endowment — which is valued at around $5.9 billion — is smaller than that of its peers “on a per student basis.”

The statement comes after police arrested 120 protesters at the Gaza Solidarity Encampment in Gould Plaza on Monday and a pro-Palestinian strike that drew hundreds to Washington Square Park on Tuesday, where demonstrators called for NYU to divest from companies tied to Israel and close its Tel Aviv site. 

Protests continued on Wednesday afternoon, where around 70 students and faculty formed a picket line outside of Bobst Library, chanting “disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest” and “we are done with saying please, divest our tuition fees.” Demonstrators also demanded that the university pardon students and faculty who were arrested from any disciplinary action and remove the recently built wooden boards and plastic barriers in front of Gould Plaza. 

The group then joined a teach-in outside the Paulson Center, where members of NYU Faculty for Justice in Palestine and Students for Justice in Palestine recounted their experiences being arrested at the encampment. Student speakers also discussed history behind the pro-Palestinian movement and hereditary chief Na’Moks of the Wet’suwet’en spoke at both demonstrations about persisting in the face of violence.

A group of people sit on the ground outside of a glass building.
(Matt Petres for WSN)

Later in the day, dozens of protesters picketed outside university president Linda Mills’ residence at Lipton Hall, where they continued to call for the university to divest. Around 10 New York City Police Department officers were seen near the demonstration, along with a police van. 

NYPD officers were also present at both the teach-in at the Paulson Center and the protest outside Bobst, with around six officers at each location. Six Campus Safety officers were also standing outside the library, with a few filming the demonstrators as they walked in a circle. Demonstrators used umbrellas and flags to block onlookers who were filming, including the Campus Safety officers. Around an hour and a half later, the officers set up stanchions to limit access to Bobst, and asked students to display their NYU IDs before entering the building.

In a ranking of the most endowed universities in 2023, the top three institutions on the list — Harvard University, the University of Texas System and Yale University — had endowments of over $40 billion. NYU’s endowment, which has grown by around 8% every year for the last 20 years, comes out to around $99,810 for each of NYU’s 59,112 students. At Harvard, this number is about $​​2,157,144 per student, and at Yale it is around $2,754,466 per student.

At the teach-in, organizers distributed copies of a recent statement by the NYU chapter of the American Association of University Professors, which challenged the university’s account of events at Gould Plaza on Monday night. 

The university has said that protesters at the Gaza Solidarity Encampment, many of whom it says appeared not to be affiliated with NYU, “breached the barriers” outside the plaza during the encampment and that there were “intimidating chants and several antisemitic incidents reported” at the protest. In its statement, the AAUP said there was “no breach in the barriers by non-NYU ID-holding people,” and that there were no instances of violent or antisemitic incidents from those inside the plaza. 

Contact Adrianna Nehme and Dharma Niles at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Adrianna Nehme
Adrianna Nehme, News Editor
Adrianna Nehme is a sophomore still trying to decide what to major in. Originally from a small town in Indiana, she moved to Chicago, Illinois for high school — where she was also the news editor for the school paper! She loves experiencing music live at concerts, seeking restaurants to try in the city and reading fiction novels — her all-time favorite is "The Cider House Rules" by John Irving. Check out her latest adventures on Instagram @adrianna.nehme.
Dharma Niles
Dharma Niles, Deputy News Editor
Dharma Niles is a first-year student currently studying journalism and politics at CAS, and has yet to choose between the six different minors she'd also like to pursue. You can generally find her playing NYT games, skittering around the city with a Celsius in hand or on Instagram @dharmaniles.
Matt Petres
Matt Petres, Photo Editor
Matt Petres is a first-year studying Economics. He is from Chicago, Illinois and likes to bike and kayak. You can contact him on Instagram @matt.petres

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