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New Hampshire State Police arrest more than 70 people at Dartmouth College camp

But at 8:30 p.m., about 300 people gathered on the lawn, about 100 of them in a tight circle around the small camp. Dartmouth Security and Safety told protesters they were violating campus policy and handed out fliers warning that camping was not allowed. About 30 state troopers and local police warned protesters that they had 10 minutes to leave the area or face arrest.

“If you do not leave the area, physical force may be used against you and you will be arrested,” State Sgt. Sean Smarz told the crowd. Some people shouted in response, “There is no riot here. Why are you wearing combat gear?” A woman holding a small Palestinian flag walked back and forth in front of the soldiers.

State police prepare to make arrests at the Upper Valley pro-Palestinian protest for Palestine on Dartmouth Green.Cheryl Senter

At 8:45 p.m., another trooper, who did not identify himself, announced, “This is the NH State Police. They are all under arrest for trespassing.” The first protester was arrested about five minutes later. Shortly afterwards, another student was taken away by two state troopers.

As the songs transitioned to cries of “Shame on you!” and “Dispossess, don’t arrest!” State troops continued to arrest students who did not resist. Annelise Orleck, a Dartmouth history professor, was thrown to the ground and arrested after screaming and fighting back at police officers. A student who identified herself as a journalist did not immediately comply with the request to move further away from the area and was arrested.

By 9:30 a.m. police cars had arrived at the scene and officers brought out cable ties to secure arrested protesters. Police refused to answer questions about where the arrested students were taken.

At 10:15 a.m. the protesters who had surrounded the camp began to disperse and the few tents that made up the short-lived camp were dismantled. But the crowd of onlookers began to grow. By 11:35 p.m., more than 70 people had been arrested and a crowd of several hundred people chanted “Shame on you!” as the last remaining tent was removed and police cleared protesters from the green.

After learning early Wednesday of a camp planned for later that evening, Dartmouth Provost David Kotz sent an email to faculty and students warning them that students attending the camp , could be punished with expulsion for violating school guidelines.

“Students, employees and organizations that violate Dartmouth policies or local laws are immediately subject to Dartmouth’s disciplinary procedures, which may include separation and expulsion,” he said in the letter, obtained by the Globe.

Kotz referred students to two policies implemented at Dartmouth in 2015: one regarding use of the Green and a second regarding use of campus property overnight. He said these policies apply to all members of the Dartmouth community and specifically prohibit the use of tents and camps on the Green and other areas of campus.

Two students were arrested for trespassing in October 2023 after attempting to set up an encampment on campus. At the time, some professors were critical of arrests and described the university's actions as a departure from the institution's long history of allowing public protests.

“Dartmouth has allowed public protests in the past and viewed these events as part of our students’ education,” Melissa Zeiger, an associate professor of English at Dartmouth University, told the Globe in an email. “During the anti-apartheid protests in the mid-80s, the college did not demand that the huts be removed. Even the occupiers of Baker Tower (library) a few years earlier had not been arrested.”

She pointed out that during the 2011-2012 academic year, university officials allowed a student group called Occupy Dartmouth, as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, to remain in an encampment outside the student center.

“I fear that such a radical departure from the current policy of leniency will have terrible consequences for Dartmouth’s reputation,” Zeiger said.

In his letter, Kotz said Dartmouth remains “committed to dialogue across differences and open and willing to engage in conversations about difficult topics.” He praised the institution's passionate commitment to the critical issues of our time and noted the institution's “proud history” of nonviolent resistance.

“At the same time,” he wrote, “Dartmouth's policies specifically state that we 'may limit the time, location, and nature of speaking engagements, protests, or demonstrations' when doing so interferes with the core educational or administrative functions of the city institution.”

Unlike universities where protests have turned violent, Dartmouth intends to continue holding in-person classes, keeping campus access open and holding spring events, he wrote.

Ainsley E. Morse, an associate professor who serves on the Faculty and Staff on Justice in Palestine group, said her reaction to the rector's email was “dismay, but not surprise.”

She noted that Dartmouth was the first college to arrest student protesters. “I condemn these arrests as a truly egregious law enforcement response to peaceful protest,” she said.

She said she believes students are committed to nonviolent protests and hopes the response will also be peaceful and respectful.

Student organizers at Dartmouth hoped to capitalize on the momentum created by protests on other campuses across the country. Camps have sprung up at Harvard University, MIT, Tufts, Emerson College, Columbia, UCLA, Brown University and more than 100 other campuses across the country where students are lobbying their universities to call for a ceasefire divest their foundations from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

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Quinn Allred, 21, is among them. The sophomore from Wake County, N.C., is studying government at Dartmouth and is involved in student groups such as the Dartmouth Palestine Solidarity Coalition, Upper Valley for Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace. He said the camp planned for Wednesday would be about the “connected liberation struggles of Palestinians and workers around the world.”

“We were one of the first campuses to start organizing, setting up camps and having arrests,” he said. “With the unification of national attention, we now have much more solidarity with other groups across campus.”

According to Rendi Rogers, a union organizer and member, the Graduate Organized Laborers of Dartmouth (GOLD-UE) began the strike on Wednesday and food service workers have joined them.

Holding hands with a friend, Antonia Dufort of Bellows Falls, Vermont, also holds a Palestinian flag at a pro-Palestinian protest hosted by Upper Valley for Palestine on the Dartmouth Green on May 1, 2024. Cheryl Senter

Allred said the principal's email could deter students who were on the fence from joining the camp, but could provide additional fodder to protesters and even increase turnout.

The governor commented on the evolving situation in Dartmouth at the State House on Wednesday.

He praised Dartmouth for allowing “the conversation to be constructive on both sides,” but condemned the student protesters. He said he believed the protests were “100 percent” driven by anti-Semitism.

“This is pure anti-Semitism,” he said. “This is pure hate. And again, they have the right to express this. Frankly, I’m disgusted by it,” he said.

He encouraged protesters to remain peaceful and said he was in constant contact with colleges across the state and with local law enforcement, noting they were ready to respond.

Following Wednesday night's arrests, the ACLU of New Hampshire released a statement on be a novelty.” Resort.”

A Dartmouth spokesman did not respond to questions about the security measures the college plans to take at Wednesday's rally.

Protesters set up tents at the Upper Valley for Palestine pro-Palestinian protest on Dartmouth Green, May 1, 2024. Cheryl Senter

This story has been updated to include photos, the number of arrests and a statement from the ACLU of New Hampshire.


Amanda Gokee can be reached at [email protected]. follow her @amanda_gokee.

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