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Published on May 13, 2024
Nationwide College Protests Lead to Encampment Clearances as Commencements ApproachSource: Google Street View

Pro-Palestinian protests at universities across the nation have led to a series of encampment clearances, with law enforcement stepping in to maintain order as commencement ceremonies loom. The University of Arizona dealt with cleaning up after protesters returned to Catalina Park and dissipated, following an overnight standoff that saw police deploying tear gas to break up the protests on campus. The incident occurred near Park Avenue and University Boulevard where pro-Palestinian protesters had constructed an encampment, according to ABC15.

The University of Pennsylvania also faced disruptions, with nearly three dozen people arrested after police moved in to clear protesters who had been warned to leave the campus encampment that stood for 16 days. "The arrested individuals were given code violation notices for defiant trespass and were released quickly throughout the morning," a university spokesperson conveyed, as reported by CNN. Notably, the action was taken after Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro called for an end to the encampment, citing its instability and noting that "the situation at Penn reached an untenable point."

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a similar scene unfolded with law enforcement dismantling an encampment following escalations on campus. In a decision to preserve peace, President Sally Kornbluth mentioned in a statement that the university had given clear warnings about the impending action. Despite this, ten people, including both graduate and undergraduate students, were arrested.

Other institutions like Harvard University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are navigating the delicate issue of student protests with varying outcomes. Harvard has begun placing students involved in protests on "involuntary" leaves of absence, while the University of Wisconsin-Madison resolved to end an encampment with conditions set for future protest activities. As per CNN, "This has been a difficult period for our campus, our nation, and the world," emphasizing a commitment to supporting peaceful student protest while condemning all forms of hate and bigotry.