Statement by NYU Spokesperson on Gould Plaza Protest

June 14, 2024

“This morning, some 50 protesters began a demonstration on the plaza in front of the business school. “Nonetheless we made no move to clear the plaza at that point because high among the University's aims was to avoid any escalation or violence. This breach was in violation of directions from Campus Safety Officers and in violation of multiple University rules. At one point, we explained to the protesters that they needed to disband in an hour, and there would be no adverse consequences. The police urged those on the plaza to leave peacefully, but ultimately made a number of arrests.

“Today’s events did not need to lead to this outcome.

“This morning, some 50 protesters began a demonstration on the plaza in front of the business school. This occurred without notice to the University, and without authorization. The University closed access to the plaza, put barriers in place, and made clear that we were not going to allow additional protesters to join because the protests were already considerably disruptive of classes and other operations in schools around the plaza.

“Nonetheless we made no move to clear the plaza at that point because high among the University's aims was to avoid any escalation or violence. So, the University was deeply disturbed when, early this afternoon, additional protesters, many of whom we believe were not affiliated with NYU, suddenly breached the barriers that had been put in place at the north side of the plaza and joined the others already on the plaza. This breach was in violation of directions from Campus Safety Officers and in violation of multiple University rules. 

“This development dramatically changed the situation. We witnessed disorderly, disruptive, and antagonizing behavior that has interfered with the safety and security of our community, and that demonstrated how quickly a demonstration can get out of control or people can get hurt. At one point, we explained to the protesters that they needed to disband in an hour, and there would be no adverse consequences.

“Nevertheless, many refused to leave. We also learned that there were intimidating chants and several antisemitic incidents reported. Given the foregoing and the safety issues raised by the breach, we asked for assistance from the NYPD. The police urged those on the plaza to leave peacefully, but ultimately made a number of arrests.  

“We will continue to support individuals’ right to freedom of expression, and, as we have said since October, the safety of our students and maintaining an equitable learning environment remain paramount.”

- NYU spokesperson John Beckman

The source of this news is from New York University

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