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

Mills cites safety concerns, rule violations for Paulson Center arrests

President Linda Mills wrote in a universitywide memo that police were called to the encampment this morning to “reduce the likelihood of injury or the spread of disruption.”
Krish Dev
(Krish Dev for WSN)

In a universitywide memo, President Linda Mills said protesters’ “unwillingness” to leave, safety concerns, noise complaints and “increasing threats” informed NYU’s decision to authorize the arrests of 14 students outside the Paulson Center encampment this morning. Mills also alluded to forthcoming plans for the university to “move forward.”

“As we move forward, we are committed to the work ahead: the listening, the building of trust, the protection of academic freedom and robust debate, and — of paramount importance — continuing to keep our campus community safe,” Mills wrote. “For those who want to talk, we will propose several opportunities over the next few weeks to develop a plan for moving forward, one that begins to reunite this community, including proposals that will help us constructively address the concerns of all those in our community, including those related to Gaza and Israel.”

In her memo, Mills said the university deployed police to “reduce the likelihood of injury or the spread of disruption.” She cited “noise complaints from faculty families and from neighbors,” along with “rhetorical escalations with increasing threats” for the university’s response. She also said that activities at the encampment were prohibited under the Restrictive Declaration — an agreement between NYU and the city that determines rules for land use — including sleeping and loitering, setting up obstruction and “using sleeping bags, tarps or other coverings on the property.”

Mills said the process took around 20 minutes and was “nonviolent.” She wrote that demonstrators at the encampment had the opportunity to leave, and around 30 chose not to stay when police arrived. A letter from NYU’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors condemned the morning arrests, saying they “compromised the health and safety of students.” 

The arrests came on the seventh day of the encampment on the Green Street Walk, which was set up after another encampment at Gould Plaza was swept by police last week. On May 1, hundreds protested outside the encampment, which Mills said led to eggs being thrown at demonstrators, the arrest of a counterprotester and calls from the encampment for individuals to “join their militant political space.”

Mills cited two bomb threats, a threat targeting her and an incident where an unidentified individual threw red dye across her front door and sidewalk at Lipon Hall. Hours after the first on-campus encampment at Gould Plaza, the university had received two false bomb threats, one directed at Bobst Library and another at a dormitory unspecified by Campus Safety.

Mills also noted materials the university found at the encampment, which she said included the phrases “Death to Israeli Real Estate,” “Enough with De-Escalation Trainings: Where are the Escalation Trainings,” “Destroy Zionist business interests everywhere” and “welcome ‘outside agitators to our struggle.’” 

“The university’s senior leadership and I were compelled to conclude that we could not tolerate the risk of violence any longer and that we could not responsibly or in good conscience wait until something drastically worse were to happen in order to act,” Mills wrote. “We needed to bring this to a close.”

The NYU Palestine Solidarity Coalition did not immediately respond to a request 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.
Krish Dev
Krish Dev, Multimedia Editor
Krish is a first-year planning to major in Computer Science and Linguistics at CAS. In his free time, he enjoys posting photos on @krish_dev.creations, obsessing over geography, watching new films with friends, taking public transport to new places and letting Arsenal make or break his week.

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