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

‘Fewer than half’ of protesters arrested at Gould Plaza were students or faculty, Mills says

In a universitywide email sent earlier today, President Linda Mills also said that the “only path forward” at NYU will be to organize “a variety of listening sessions.”
Matt Petres
(Matt Petres for WSN)

President Linda Mills said less than half of the protesters arrested at the Gaza Solidarity Encampment in Gould Plaza “were current NYU students, faculty or staff” in a universitywide email earlier this evening. Mills stated that hundreds of demonstrators on campus last Monday “did not have permission to be at NYU” and “significantly threatened” the university community.

 In the May 1 memo, Mills wrote that only 65 of the 133 individuals arrested at the plaza were affiliated with the university, and said the “only path forward” is for NYU to host “listening sessions” for the NYU community. Mills’ statement also comes after negotiations between pro-Palestinian protesters and the administration fell through this past weekend.

Last week’s events at Gould Plaza have been heavily disputed on campus, with some student and faculty groups, as well as dozens of departmental chairs and directors, having challenged the university’s account that individuals unaffiliated with NYU breached the barriers intended to prevent access to the site. 

“I never thought that as president I would need to rely on the NYPD to secure the safety of our community,” Mills wrote. “The pain of the past several months has been exacerbated for me by recognizing that, as a community, we haven’t found more productive avenues for discussing the compounding tragedies that have unfolded in the Middle East that have divided us.”

In her memo, Mills referenced “two bomb threats,” a “personal threat” targeting her and an incident where an unidentified individual threw fake blood across her front door and sidewalk at Lipton Hall. Last week, the university received two separate false bomb threats, one at Bobst Library and another at a dormitory unspecified by Campus Safety. An email to students from Campus Safety at the time said police considered the threat, which “made a brief allusion to issues in the Middle East,” unsubstantiated.

The memo came on the sixth day of an encampment established outside the Paulson Center, where protesters are demanding that NYU divest from companies tied to Israel, close its Tel Aviv site, remove police from campus and pardon disciplinary action taken against pro-Palestinian student activists. Mills said that NYU will “continue to explore ways to re-engage the protesting students,” following hours of unsuccessful negotiations between the university and demonstrators.

Protesters have rebuilt around 30 tents after NYU told protesters they would face disciplinary action if they remained at the encampment. Demonstrators were given the choice to either end overnight stays at the encampment and “continue dialogue” with NYU “about their concerns” or remain overnight on the Greene Street Walk and face disciplinary action. 

“Much of my academic career has been spent finding ways for seeding conversations between people in conflict,” Mills wrote. “We need to seek channels for expression that do not include outside groups threatening our community, takeovers, vandalism, disruptions and hateful speech.”

An NYU spokesperson and the NYU Palestine Solidarity Coalition did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Contact Adrianna Nehme 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.
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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