Arrests Mount on America's College Campuses

Students were arrested, some aggressively, at USC and UT-Austin
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 24, 2024 7:00 PM CDT
Updated Apr 25, 2024 1:00 AM CDT
Campus Protests Intensify
University of Southern California protesters push and shove university public safety officers during a pro-Palestinian occupation on the University of Southern California campus on Wednesday in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
UPDATE Apr 25, 2024 1:00 AM CDT

Police peacefully arrested student protesters at the University of Southern California on Wednesday, hours after police at a Texas university aggressively detained dozens in the latest clashes between law enforcement and those protesting the Israel-Hamas war on campuses nationwide, the AP reports. While tensions rose between police and protesters at USC earlier in the day, in the evening a few dozen demonstrators standing in a circle with locked arms were detained one by one without incident—and in sharp contrast to the chaos that ensued just hours earlier at the University of Texas at Austin. There, hundreds of local and state police—including some on horseback and holding batons—pushed into protesters, at one point sending some tumbling into the street. Officers made 34 arrests at the behest of the university and Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott, according to the state Department of Public Safety.

Apr 24, 2024 7:00 PM CDT

Police tangled with student demonstrators in Texas and California while new encampments sprouted at other colleges as school leaders sought ways to defuse a growing wave of pro-Palestinian protests. And House Speaker Mike Johnson received a hostile reception Wednesday at Columbia University in New York. Here's a breakdown of developments by campus:

  • The University of Texas at Austin: Dozens of police officers and state troopers formed a line to prevent students from marching through campus, eventually clashing with protesters and detaining multiple people, the AP reports. Protesters said they had planned a walkout and march to the main campus lawn, where students would occupy the space and host events. But the university said it would "not tolerate disruptions" like those at other campuses. Officials did not immediately confirm how many people were arrested.

  • University of Southern California: Police removed several tents at the University of Southern California, then got into a back-and-forth tent tugging match with protesters. At one point, USC police detained a man and put him in a vehicle. A crowd surrounded the car and chanted "Let him go!" and the officers eventually did so.
  • Harvard University: Trying to stay ahead of protests, officials locked most gates into the famous Harvard Yard ahead of classes Monday and limited access to those with school identification. Still, protesters set up a camp with 14 tents Wednesday, which came after a rally against the university's suspension of the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee.
  • California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt: Students used furniture, tents, chains and zip ties to block entrances to a campus building on Monday. Protesters chanted, "We are not afraid of you!" before officers in riot gear pushed into them, video shows. University officials closed the campus through this weekend, saying instruction would continue to be remote. They said in a statement Tuesday that students had occupied a second building and three students had been arrested.
  • Emerson College: About 80 students and others at Emerson College occupied a busy courtyard on the downtown Boston campus Tuesday. College officials on Wednesday warned the students that some of the protesters were in violation of city ordinances, and city police have warned of imminent action. Campus police were offering escort services for students after officials received credible reports of protesters engaging in "targeted harassment and intimidation of Jewish supporters of Israel."
  • New York University: An encampment set up by students swelled to hundreds of protesters this week. Police on Wednesday said that 133 protesters had been taken into custody and that all were released with summonses on disorderly conduct charges, per the AP.

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  • University of Michigan: An encampment at the center of the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor had grown to about 40 tents on Tuesday. Almost every student there wore a mask, which was handed to them when they entered. Student protesters declined to identify themselves to reporters, saying they feared retribution by the university.
  • Yale University: Police reported arresting 48 protesters after they refused to leave an encampment on a plaza at the center of campus on Monday.
  • University of California, Berkeley: Protesters had set up about 30 tents as of Tuesday.
  • Columbia University: A Republican congressional delegation led by House Speaker Mike Johnson was met with boos and pro-Palestinian chants on Wednesday afternoon, per the Washington Post. "I'm committed today that the Congress will not be silent as Jewish students are expected to run for their lives and stay home from their classes hiding in fear," Johnson told the crowd.
(More protests stories.)

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