Pro-divestment supporters arrested at Yale encampment

Dozens of protesters were arrested at Yale University Monday morning after an encampment swelled to several hundred people calling for the school to divest from military weapons manufacturers, the university said.

In a statement, Yale said officials warned the protesters at Beinecke Plaza to leave and remove their belongings after notifying them “numerous times” that “if they continued to violate Yale’s policies and instructions regarding occupying outdoor spaces, they could face law enforcement and disciplinary action, including reprimand, probation, or suspension.”

The statement said the 47 students received summonses and will be referred for Yale disciplinary action.

The university outlined the efforts it took to negotiate with the student protesters before some ultimately were arrested.

On Sunday, according to the statement, university officials spent “several hours in discussion with student protestors” — including offering a meeting with trustees and the chair of the Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility (CCIR) — to help them “avoid arrest if they left the plaza by the end of the weekend.”

“They declined this offer and continued to occupy the plaza,” the university said. “The university extended the deadline for a response to their offer to meet with the CCIR and trustees several times, with negotiations concluding unsuccessfully at 11:30 p.m.”

After negotiations concluded early Monday morning, Yale Police Department isolated the area and asked for identification of the protesters, at which point some left voluntarily, the statement said. The officers issued the 47 summonses only after they “did not comply after multiple requests.”

“The university made the decision to arrest those individuals who would not leave the plaza with the safety and security of the entire Yale community in mind and to allow access to university facilities by all members of our community,” the university said.

“Yale provides detailed guidance on free expression, peaceable assembly, and requesting the use of on-campus outdoor spaces,” its statement continued. “Since the protest started, the university and the Yale Police Department worked to reduce the likelihood of confrontations and arrests.”

Yale President Peter Salovey warned Sunday of potential disciplinary actions against the students, whom he said were violating university policies and creating safety hazards.

“Putting up structures, defying the directives of university officials, staying in campus spaces past allowed times, and other acts that violate university policies and guidelines create safety hazards and impede the work of our university,” Salovey said in a statement. “We are continuing to speak with students who are participating in protests, so they understand the disciplinary consequences of actions that violate Yale’s policies. Yale will pursue disciplinary actions according to its policies.”

The arrests come after a similar encampment at Columbia University last week resulted in more than 100 arrests of student protesters.

Those protests, while many reportedly peaceful, have platformed antisemitic rhetoric that has caused fear in Jewish students on campuses and has drawn condemnation from government leaders and public officials.

At Columbia, a campus rabbi reportedly warned Jewish students to go home “as soon as possible” amid heightened security concerns for Jewish students ahead of the holiday of Passover, which begins Monday evening.

At Yale, Salovey said he was aware that while “many of the students participating in the protests, including those conducting counterprotests, have done so peacefully … I am aware of reports of egregious behavior, such as intimidation and harassment, pushing those in crowds, removal of the plaza flag, and other harmful acts.”

“Yale does not tolerate actions, including remarks, that threaten, harass, or intimidate members of the university’s Jewish, Muslim, and other communities. The Yale Police Department is investigating each report, and we will take action when appropriate, including making referrals for student discipline. We are providing support to affected students,” Salovey said.

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