Multiple students and protestors have been arrested resulting from the student-led Pro-Palestinian encampment on the SUNY New Paltz campus.

SUNY New Paltz Encampment

On Wednesday, May 1st, students, faculty, staff, and community members around New Paltz joined universities all over the country in launching encampments in solidarity with the people of Gaza, shining light on the over 34,000 lives lost so far.

On Thursday, May 2nd in the afternoon, SUNY New Paltz sent 2 representatives from the Office of Student Affairs to open negotiations with the protestors on behalf of SUNY New Paltz's administration.

SUNY New Paltz representative Mike Patterson shared that students involved with the encampment would receive amnesty and the opportunity for 10 students to meet with the administration to "continue ongoing dialogue" about the protestors' demands should they peacefully remove the tents and structures.

The student demands include SUNY New Paltz disclosing their donations, contracts, and financial dealings with private companies and severing ties with those companies that are "responsible for the genocide in Palestine."

Ultimately, members at the encampment declined the offer stating that SUNY New Paltz, "asked [them] to disband without meeting any of their demands" according to a video posted on the New Paltz Students for Palestine page.

The President of SUNY New Paltz, Darrel Wheeler, sent an email to students, faculty, and alumni speaking on the encampment.

In it, he states,

I spoke with the demonstrators yesterday and listened as they vocalized [their] demands. I advised them that some are outside our local control, as we are one campus operating within a state university system.

He then addressed the encampment's demand of publicizing "record disclosure"  and stated a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request had been submitted to provide insight on this issue.

Wheeler doubles down on the message of "let us work together and not in opposition," in closing.

Situation Escalates at SUNY New Paltz

Before 9 P.M., the encampment protestors dismantled tents and structures and remained on Parker Quad protesting. Hudson Valley Post was on the scene as interactions unfolded.

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At 10:20 PM, President Darrell Wheeler sent another email to students, faculty and staff sharing that since protestors had not dispersed or expressed intention to disperse, police were being called to intervene. Wheeler shared dorms in the area would be placed on lockdown.

Wheeler continued sharing,

Among my deepest regrets tonight is that this episode disrupts what had been to date a series of constructive vigils, protests, events and conversations around the international conflict that has defined much of our academic year.


Police Arrive at SUNY New Paltz

Police and State Trooper vehicles began filling parking lots around SUNY New Paltz while a helicopter with a spotlight flew overhead. Anywhere from 2 - 4 drones were also spotted hovering above the encampment.

Protestors continued chanting. Some chants included, "The people united will never be defeated," and  "Free, free Palestine."

Protestors began to band together, linking arms in a tight circle as students from all around campus gathered, watching and chanting along. Students watched from their dorms in the buildings surrounding Parker Quad while others gathered, joining in on chants.

Police Arresting Protestors at SUNY New Paltz

Police began forcibly picking protestors off the ground and arresting them after 11 P.M. as protestors continued chanting, holding their ground. Police brought zip ties for arrests. Protestors were escorted off the quad by police after being arrested.

Students and organizers who were part of the encampment had gone over commands on what to do if police arrive on May 1st. As police intervened, protestors collectively sat, arms and legs linked. 

Police periodically lunged forward, gradually moving crowds off of Parker Quad leading to observers scattering then returning. 

 Just before 1 A.M., police had arrested all of the seated protestors. Police continued moving in on the crowd of observers and standing protestors gradually clearing Parker Quad.

After a final rush by police around 1:10 A.M. early Friday morning, crowds had mostly dissipated and Parker Quad was cleared of any remaining encampment items.

Some reports are sharing at least 60 protestors were arrested by police. The New Paltz Students for Palestine Instagram page shared that no students who were arrested last night needed bail donations.

Read a real-time timeline of last night's events HERE.

We will continue to update this story as more information unfolds.

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Gallery Credit: Yasmin Young


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