Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism.
The Dartmouth
June 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Police arrest 89 individuals at pro-Palestinian protest

Community members react to last night’s protests, which resulted in 89 arrests — including students, faculty members, unaffiliated protesters and two staff members of The Dartmouth.

TobinYates protest2.jpeg

On May 1, police arrested 89 students, faculty and community members attending a pro-Palestinian protest on the Green, according to a press release from the Hanover Police Department. Earlier that evening, students had set up five tents on the Green — prompting campus officers from the Department of Safety and Security to warn those gathered that they were in violation of College policy. 

Two staff members of The Dartmouth reporting on the event, Charlotte Hampton ’26 and Alesandra Gonzales ’27, were among those arrested. Both were wearing press credentials at the time of their arrests. Hampton is a news managing editor and reporter and Gonzales is a photographer and reporter for The Dartmouth.

Evening activity on the Green began at 5 p.m. with the Labor For Liberation rally, a protest in support of Palestinian liberation. The rally was organized by multiple activist groups. As protesters listened to speeches from the striking graduate students, student activists and faculty members, more than 10 campus Safety and Security officers surrounded the crowd. 

The protests escalated after some protesters began setting up tents, while hundreds more linked arms and encircled the encampment. Ten students and community members then entered the tents, some of which were draped with flags reading “brave space” and “liberation zone.”

“Within this encampment, we stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza and the West Bank,” one of the protesters inside a tent said.

By the end of the night, Safety and Security, Hanover Police, Lebanon Police and New Hampshire state troopers had convened on or around the Green, detaining protesters, removing the encampments and clearing hundreds from the streets.

Multiple administrators were on the scene, including Dean of the College Scott Brown and Safety and Security director Keiselim Montás. Brown declined to comment on the protests.

The protests and arrests have garnered controversy on campus and online. This morning, College President Sian Leah Beilock sent an email statement to the Dartmouth community addressing the encampments. Protesters had “physically prevented [the encampment’s] removal despite multiple opportunities to avoid arrest,” she wrote.

“Most importantly, our opinions — no matter how strongly they are held — can never be used to justify taking over Dartmouth’s shared spaces and effectively rendering them places only for people who hold one specific ideology,” Beilock wrote. “This is exclusionary at best and, at its worst, as we have seen on other campuses in recent days, can turn quickly into hateful intimidation where Jewish students feel unsafe.”

This afternoon, the New England branch of the Anti-Defamation League wrote a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, thanking Beilock for the College’s response to protesters and “for upholding the value of freedom of speech.”

“We applaud your leadership at a challenging moment,” the ADL wrote.

Community members, however, were divided on the College’s response. Amethyst McKenzie ’25, who attended the protest, said the evening was “terrifying.”

“We had something passionate to protest about, and we were met with so much resistance — armed vehicles, riot gear,” McKenzie said. “I don’t think any peaceful protest should be handled this way, regardless of any beliefs or stances.”

McKenzie said they went to the Lebanon Police Department to bail protesters out, hoping “to help in any way that [they] could.” They felt Beilock’s response “continues to worsen the situation,” they added.

“This really brings into question whether we want to have a vote of no confidence toward President Beilock,” McKenzie said. “The response was anything but civil, so it makes me question her leadership abilities.”

Fourth Place owner Ian Struckhoff, who was arrested at the protest and taken to Grafton County Jail, said the College must “undergo systematic change” to ensure that “students are allowed to peacefully assemble and protest if they are not doing harm.” He added that, following Beilock’s response to the protests, he believes she “should resign.” 

“There [are] people here trying to speak truth to power, and to see the President so aggressively doing the opposite — using power to suppress peoples’ voices — it was alarming,” Struckhoff said. “I’m really shocked that the head of Dartmouth, the new leader who promised change, has been so eager to suppress the voices of students and members of the community.”

Sam Hirsh ’26 said he felt some aspects of the protests “made people [he knows] very uncomfortable” and that he hopes people “empathize with Jewish students who might have different perspectives on what happened.”

“I think what’s more important than particular judgments on [Beilock’s] response is just giving grace to people who might come to an issue like this from different places,” Hirsh said. “I think people should just think about how Jewish students are feeling right now.”

Felipe Mendonça ’27, who attended the protest, said he was not “expecting how truculent the response from Dartmouth College would be.”

“We were there to protest against something that we know is wrong … and realizing how [the College] is not willing to change and [is] going to treat the students as criminals is sad,” Mendonça said. “But it also moves us to keep acting, to engage with faculty, to engage with staff, to engage with everyone who can make change in the College.”

Struckhoff, who was born in Hanover and has lived here for half his life, also said he was “shocked and surprised” by the reaction to what he viewed as a “very peaceful” protest.

“I didn’t see anybody fighting back or resisting,” Struckhoff said. “I just saw that [the police] were basically picking somebody and acting like the claw machine of justice trying to grab one person, which was unsettling.”

Harper Richardson ’27, who also attended the protest, said she was “dismayed” by elements of the protest.

“The extreme amount of fear that they purposefully inflicted should not be present on a college campus,” Richardson said. “The goal of the campus and of the administration should be to protect its students, and to listen and uplift their voices. Not to silence them and make them run away in fear.”

Richardson added that she believes “there was nothing hateful said” by the protesters.

“There were no words or actions of antisemitism present,” she said.

Oren Poleshuck-Kinel ’26, however, said he believed the speech at the protests was “hateful.” 

“They were chanting, ‘resistance is justified,’ and October 7 is never justified,” he said. “Kidnapping, raping and murdering innocent civilians is never justified.”

He added that he feels “safer because of Beilock’s leadership.”

“I feel safer because other protests around the country have escalated into more violent demonstrations, and last night the focus was on disruptive conduct and not speech,” Poleshuck-Kinel said. “I support free speech, but the conduct was disruptive.”

Alex Rockmore ’27 — who was one of two people who drove around the Green with an Israeli flag during the protest — said he did so because he “wanted to show that the Jewish spirit and the Israeli spirit is alive and well.”

“It wasn’t meant to offend anybody,” Rockmore said. “It wasn’t meant to intimidate anybody. But the reality is that it’s important for everyone to know that Israel and Judaism are … an integral part of many peoples’ identities here on campus.”

Rockmore added that he believes in “everybody’s right to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom to protest” and would “encourage dialogue with people who chant things like ‘From the river, to the sea’ and ‘When people are occupied, resistance is justified.’”

“We just want to talk about the chants, about what they mean to us and how we can work together towards peace, because everyone, everywhere, wants peace,” Rockmore said.

Community members, campus organizations and campus leaders also expressed their reactions in community emails throughout the day. Dartmouth Student Government released a statement expressing its disappointment in last night’s events. DSG wrote that it had been in contact with members of the administration to determine how to “address this situation.”

“We are deeply troubled by the administration’s decision to arrest 90 students, faculty and community members following the encampments at the peaceful protest hosted on the Green,” the email wrote.

All six House Professors wrote in a joint email to their housing communities that they were “horrified seeing a peaceful protest confronted by dozens of heavily armed riot police.”

“Please know that many of the faculty oppose this response, and we are in discussion about how best to support the community,” they wrote.

Following Beilock’s email to campus, Brown also addressed the Dartmouth community to remind students of campus resources — including the Dartmouth Counseling Center and Student Wellness Center — and to “acknowledge the impact of last night’s events on the Green.”

“Please know you are not alone,” Brown wrote. “Our community’s resilience and strength lie in our ability to support each other. I want to reach out and remind you that College staff are here to help.”  

Alex Rockmore ’27 is a former news writer and current member of The Dartmouth’s podcast team. Rockmore was not involved in the writing or editing of this article.

Shena Han ’25 and Kent Friel ’26 contributed to reporting.

Correction Appended (May 3, 2:30 a.m.): A previous version of this article misstated the organizers for the "Labor for Liberation" rally. This article has been corrected.

Correction Appended (May 5, 12:51 p.m.): A previous version of this article erroneously stated that Provost David Kotz was present at the rally. This article has been corrected.

Update Appended (May 13, 6:00 p.m.): A previous version of this article stated that 90 people were arrested at the protest based on a May 2 Hanover Police Department press release. According to a May 7 press release, the number of arrests was 89. The head, deck and article have been updated.