Hanover police arrest two undergraduate students at Parkhurst Hall protest
Roan V. Wade ’25 and Kevin Engel ’27 remained inside a tent encampment on the Parkhurst front lawn for several hours before being detained by law enforcement.
Hanover Police Department officers arrest Roan V. Wade ’25 and Kevin Engel ’27 outside their tent encampment.
Updated (Nov. 16, 10:30 p.m.): Parts of this article have been re-formatted for clarity.
At approximately 12:49 a.m. on Oct. 28, Hanover Police Department officers arrested two undergraduate students, Roan V. Wade ’25 and Kevin Engel ’27, on misdemeanor Criminal Trespassing charges related to a protest on the front lawn of Parkhurst Hall. Both students, who had been encamped on the front lawn of Parkhurst, were released on bail shortly afterward, according to an email to undergraduates from Dartmouth Student Government this morning.
HPD officers, flanked by officers from the Department of Safety and Security, handcuffed Wade and Engel outside their tent encampment in front of Parkhurst, the College administration office building, before escorting them to a police squad car parked adjacent to Massachusetts Row.
Wade and Engel, who remained encamped for several hours, were arrested for being in violation of the College’s “Building and Facilities Policy,” its “Use of the College Green and Campus Grounds Policy” and local law, according to the email from DSG. During the incident, Safety and Security officers on the scene were observed passing a “letter of trespass form” among one another.
“This letter is to officially inform you that you are no longer permitted in or on Dartmouth College property, or that your entry upon or into Dartmouth property is restricted, as indicated below,” the form stated. “If you are found to be in any area or participating in any activity in violation of the terms of this letter, a complaint will be made to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in that area asking that you be arrested and charged with Criminal Trespassing.”
In an email statement to the Dartmouth community on Saturday, College President Sian Leah Beilock wrote that students had peacefully protested in front of Parkhurst for a few days; however, “the situation changed when two students … threatened in writing to ‘escalate and take further action,’ including ‘physical action,’ if their demands were not met.”
This threat was part of a longer list of demands outlined in Sunrise Dartmouth’s Dartmouth New Deal, according to College spokesperson Jana Barnello in an email to The Dartmouth.
In an interview prior to their arrest, Wade and Engel expressed support for the “Dartmouth New Deal,” a policy proposal by Sunrise Dartmouth, a student climate activist organization, unveiled at the Oct. 27 “Climate Justice Rally.” Wade serves as Sunrise Dartmouth’s hub coordinator, according to the organization’s website.
In a copy of the Dartmouth New Deal obtained by The Dartmouth, the document advocates for “divesting the College’s endowment from all organizations that are complicit in apartheid and its apparatuses,” among other aims.
The document explains that its authors “will escalate” their actions on campus if College officials do not publicly address its demands by the first day of the winter term, Jan. 3, 2024.
The College attempted to negotiate with the student protestors for over six hours on Friday night before she and other College administrators asked Hanover Police Department for assistance, according to Beilock’s email statement. In addition, campus security must consider the threat of “physical action” as “a threat of violence,” meaning the situation “had to be brought to resolution.”
DSG called the arrests a “needless escalation” that “threatens to suppress students’ freedom of expression and dissent on campus” in their email.
“We believe the administration should exercise better discretion when students engage in nonviolent civil disobedience,” the email wrote.
Director of Safety and Security Keiselim Montás, who was on the scene during the arrests, did not respond to multiple requests for comment by time of publication.
The protest in front of Parkhurst stemmed from an Oct. 19 memorial service in honor of the Israeli and Palestinian lives lost in the Israel-Hamas war, which students had continuously operated for more than a week, Wade said in an interview before their arrest.
In the days since, Wade said the function of the protest had since expanded into “a mechanism of raising awareness and calling for the divestment of this institution from apartheid.”
Engel also criticized the College’s investments — as well as the portfolios of members of the Board of Trustees — which they said were benefiting from the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
“Specifically, Dartmouth is making a profit off of the war occuring right now,” Engel said. “And because of that, they’re inherently making a profit off of the committing of war crimes, the killing of children and the bombing of hospitals.”
Throughout their encampment, Engel, Wade and several other student protestors outside the tent engaged in a series of negotiations with College administration to debate the terms of their protest.
In one such exchange at around midnight, College chaplain Rev. Nancy Vogele — who seemed to act as an intermediary between the administrators inside Parkhurst and the students outdoors — presented the protestors with a list of conditions, including an agreement by President Sian Leah Beilock to meet with the students at a future time and to maintain a collection of black flags planted during the initial Oct. 19 memorial service.
Ultimately, the group of students declined to accept the administration’s conditions, citing Beilock’s refusal to make a public statement addressing their concerns, along with other issues.
Dean of the College Scott Brown, who watched the arrests unfold outside of Parkhurst, declined to comment.
Over the course of the evening, dozens of other students sat outside the pair’s tent, singing, playing guitar and passing around food and water.
Joshua Moraga ’27 played guitar and led the group in song throughout the night. He said his setlist included “Creep” by Radiohead, “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. and “30 different Nirvana songs,” among other titles.
Wade said they and the other protestors have been “deeply inspired” by Dartmouth student protestors of the 1980s, who set up encampments on campus and advocated against the College’s investments in apartheid-era South Africa.
“The College … initially called for [the previous encampment’s] removal, but then allowed it to stand since it was providing an educational purpose,” Wade said. “We believe what we are doing here [has] an educational purpose. We talk to everyone who walks up to us. This is a space that we want to create to bring community together.”