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 march from WSP down Lafayette demanding police removal from campus

The demonstrators also referenced a 2020 universitywide statement that said the New York City Police Department has “no standing presence” on campus.
Lianna O’Grady
The Graduate Student Organizing Committee at NYU organized a rally at Washington Square Park on May 6. (Lianna O’Grady for WSN)

Around 100 students gathered outside Gould Plaza before marching down Lafayette Street on Monday demanding NYU divest from companies with ties to Israel, shut down its study abroad site in Tel Aviv and pardon disciplinary action against students and faculty participating in pro-Palestinian protests on campus. The march came right after a rally in Washington Square Park held by NYU’s graduate student worker union — GSOC-UAW Local 2110 — calling on the university to remove police presence from campus. 

Members of the union spoke to around 40 students in the park, condemning President Linda Mills’ deployment of the New York City Police Department at a Gaza Solidarity Encampment outside the Paulson Center on Friday, which resulted in the arrests of around 14 students. Students criticized Mills’ characterization of the group as “disorderly, disruptive and antagonizing” and challenged her statement that out of the original 133 arrested protesters at the first encampment in Gould Plaza two weeks ago, only 65 were students and faculty. 

Students also resurfaced a 2020 statement from Campus Safety head Fountain Walker in the wake of protests responding to George Floyd’s murder, which stated that “the presence of the NYPD is not common in NYU’s midst” and that “they have no standing presence” on campus. 

“NYU wanted to act as though they would not put you out in the carceral state,” a union member said in a speech. “But now, we have a clear demonstration of just how quickly they’re willing to move into their own students, their own faculty and their own workers if they dare to lift up their voices.” 

At 4 p.m., the group of protesters moved to Gould Plaza and began chanting phrases such as “shut down sites where students are banned, Tel Aviv is stolen land,” and “we want justice, you say how, unsuspend our students now.” NYU Students for Justice in Palestine members read their demands before the group marched to the Astor Place subway station and traveled to Hunter College, led by 10 NYPD officers and followed by two dozen more. At Gould Plaza, the group was met with around 10 counterprotesters across the street holding an Israeli flag. 

Last week, at least 100 graduate student workers are threatening to withhold grades if NYU does not agree to remove NYPD officers from campus, pardon “students, faculty and graduate workers” facing disciplinary action and “substantially negotiate” with student protesters over their requests. Three days after the movement went public, some faculty members also pledged to assign and proctor exams, but not input grades into Brightspace or Albert until the university meets the group’s demands. 

A university spokesperson and the graduate student union did not respond to requests for comment.

Contact Dharma Niles at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
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.

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