Update 5/3/2024 - 1:40 a.m.
Students at SUNY New Paltz and Vassar College have joined universities around the country in launching pro-Palestinian encampments on the grounds of their colleges.

Student-Led Encampments Across the Country

Columbia University in New York was among the first colleges to make headlines for their student-led pro-Palestinian encampments on campus.

As of Tuesday, April 29th, Columbia University ordered a police presence that would put an end to the encampments, leading to the arrests of over 300 students.

The Columbia demonstrations inspired students at universities across the country to take similar action. According to AP News, nearly 1,000 students have been arrested nationwide resulting from these encampments.

Hudson Valley Colleges Join in Pro-Palestinian Encampments

On Wednesday, May 1st, both Vassar College and SUNY New Paltz students held encampments on their campuses.

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Townsquare Media

The scene at SUNY New Paltz included tent set-ups, food and water stations, and signage on the campus’s Parker Quad.

Speakers and organizers shared the goals of the encampment which include SUNY New Paltz disclosing their donations, investments, and contracts with private companies. Students involved in the encampment also are asking New Paltz to, "end all financial relationships with companies responsible for genocide in Palestine."

Townsquare Media
Townsquare Media

Speakers reviewed safe practices for peaceful protesting and de-escalating situations should police become involved. Students are expected to spend the night in the quad at the encampment at SUNY New Paltz.

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Cameras were set up today on top of dorm buildings surrounding the quad to monitor activity.

Vassar's Encampment

Vassar's encampment beginning on Tuesday, April 29th, continued into the day on Wednesday, May 1st. Their demands are similar to SUNY New Paltz's in aiming for the institution to divest in contractors with ties to "the ongoing genocide and occupation of the Palestinian people."

Both organizations shared encampment guidelines on social media.

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University Reaction

SUNY New Paltz President Darrell P. Wheeler issued a statement before 8 PM on Wednesday night responding to the "unsanctioned group," calling it a "fluid situation" and going on to explain the campus's hope to work, "collectively and collaboratively" with the involved students, staff, and faculty on achieving everyone's goals.

Wheeler goes on to establish their main goals of removing the unsanctioned tents, as per the student handbook, and completing the academic year, including graduation ceremonies and celebrations.

The class of 2024 was one of the first groups of students unable to celebrate high school proms and graduations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UPDATE: 5/2/2024

9:30 P.M. - On Thursday, May 2nd in the afternoon, demonstrating students were approached by 2 members of the Office of the SUNY New Paltz Student Affairs. Mike Patterson shared an offer on behalf of the university.

The offer was amnesty and the opportunity for 10 students to meet with the administration to continue “the ongoing dialogue” regarding the encampment demands. This offer was contingent on the encampment peacefully removing the tents by 7 P.M. on Thursday.

Tents were dismantled by the encampment participants before 9 P.M. as they continued protesting on Parker Quad.

10:45 P.M. - State Trooper presence has arrived on the scene at one SUNY New Paltz parking lot. A helicopter flies overhead along with drones.

Students continue to protest in Parker Quad linking arms and continuing chants. Students across campus gather to watch the protest.

11:25 P.M. - Police begin intervening on the encampment, standing guard with batons outside of surrounding dorms.

11:30 P.M. - Students begin getting escorted off Parker Quad. Students chant, “Off our campus” as police intervention continues.

11:50 P.M. Protestors sit linking arms. Police begin pulling students off the ground and arresting them. Police push in on the encampment causing observers to run.

12:02 A.M. - Protectors continue getting arrested as State Troopers and Police push in on protesters and observers.

12:30 A.M. -

12:53 A.M. - Police remove all protestors that were linked around tree. Police begin corraling protestors and observers, moving crowds out of Parker Quad gradually.

1:08 A.M. - Police rush the crowd, sending many running, clearing most remaining protestors and observers.

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