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

Protesters arrested at Paulson Center encampment

The Palestine Solidarity Coalition said about 14 students were arrested at the encampment outside the Paulson Center in a sweep at around 6 a.m. Friday.
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Samson Tu
(Samson Tu for WSN)

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Around 14 students were arrested in a sweep of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment outside the Paulson Center early Friday morning, NYU’s Palestine Solidarity Coalition confirmed in a recent statement. Tents and supplies at the encampment, which was set up on the Greene Street Walk last week, are being removed by maintenance staff and no protesters remain inside. 

The police sweep is the second to take place on NYU’s campus in recent weeks, with 133 protesters having been arrested at an encampment in Gould Plaza in April. NYU PSC said in its statement that New York City Police Department officers did not allow legal observers — volunteers tasked with documenting protests and providing legal assistance to activists — into the area and were “physical with those trying to remove supplies.” The group also said protesters would return until their demands were met by the university.

In a statement to WSN, NYU spokesperson John Beckman said that most of the protesters who were at the encampment when police arrived “chose to leave, and were permitted to do so,” and that the sweep lasted around 20 minutes. According to Beckman, around a dozen protesters were arrested.

“Conscious, as we were, of what has happened across the country when the police have been called in to address an encampment, the early morning was chosen to minimize the likelihood of injury or spread of disruption,” Beckman wrote. “The encampment had become increasingly untenable for the NYU community and the neighborhood we inhabit. This was not about the content of the protesters’ speech, but rather, about the nature of this protest, including the threat it posed to our community.”

In a post on the social media platform X at 6:17 a.m., NYPD deputy commissioner for operations Kaz Daughtry said NYU authorized police to clear the encampment. Daughtry’s post included a letter from NYU to the NYPD, where the university asked police to “take action on Friday, May 3 at or about 6 a.m. to remove the trespassers and the materials creating the encampment.” 

The university also listed several activities by protesters it said 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 obstructions and “using sleeping bags, tarps or other coverings on the property.”

NYU PSC also said the sweep took place the morning before NYU Hillel’s annual Shabbat dinner event, which this year was set to take place at the Paulson Center. The event is advertised as “NYU’s largest student-run event, and one of the largest Jewish student gatherings,” and is expected to host Shabbat dinner for 2,000 “NYU students, staff, alumni, parents, and friends” this evening.

The group said it believed the sweep took place this morning “to catch us unprepared and to avoid the scrutiny of the community.” The group announced that it is organizing a “mass rally” and Shabbat dinner outside the Paulson Center later today.

“Linda Mills and her administration are spineless and cowardly, and will employ state violence on student protesters as they sleep rather than end her institution’s complicity in genocide,” the statement reads. “We will not forget how this spoke of the Zionist empire disguises itself as an academic institution.”

The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update, May 3: This article has been updated with additional information from the NYPD and a statement from an NYU spokesperson.

Contact Carmo Moniz at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Carmo Moniz
Carmo Moniz, Managing Editor
Carmo Moniz is a junior studying journalism and politics. She enjoys covering city news and dabbling in data journalism, and aspires to one day join the journalism-to-law-school pipeline. When she's not in classes or at the Washington Square News, you can find her looking for a movie to watch or embarking on random art projects. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @carmo_moniz or send tips at [email protected].
Samson Tu
Samson Tu, Magazine Managing Editor
Samson Tu is finishing his B.A. degree in politics with a thesis on the state of civil society development in the People's Republic of China. Synthesizing his experience in journalism and training in politics, Samson is going to attend the NYU School of Law after his undergraduate to study intellectual property law. Samson attempts to make sense of Heidegger and Sartre or edits photographs on his 15-hour flight between New York and Taipei. He always prefers the flights to New York. Send an email to [email protected] for ideas about WSN's monthly magazine issues!

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