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Campus protests: Pro-Palestinian demonstrations spread as some schools crack down

Pro-Palestinian protests are being held at more than 40 campuses across the U.S. and in Canada.

The latest on pro-Palestinian campus protests

  • Protest encampments are in place on more than 40 college campuses across the U.S. and in Canada, including UCLA, Northwestern, George Washington, Harvard, Brown, UT Austin, the University of Michigan and MIT.
  • The University of Southern California, where 93 people were arrested last night, announced today that it was canceling its main graduation commencement ceremony on May 10, citing safety concerns.
  • Columbia University is engaged in an ongoing discussion with student protesters.
  • Demonstrators waving Israeli flags gathered outside Columbia University and called for those taken hostage on Oct. 7 to be brought home. At UCLA, pro-Israel protesters clashed with pro-Palestinian protesters.

Coverage on this live blog has ended. Please click here for the latest updates.

Pro-Palestinian, pro-Israel protesters at USC find common ground: ‘It’s all about bridging that gap’

LOS ANGELES — University of Southern California alum Charlotte Korchak stood outside the gates of her alma mater draped in an Israeli flag on Thursday evening.

She flew to the U.S. from her home in Jerusalem this year and arrived in L.A. last weekend to celebrate Passover with her family. 

When she watched on social media as pro-Palestinian students set up an encampment in solidarity with other campuses protesting the war in Gaza, she felt called to action. 

“What I was seeing gave me a physical reaction,” she said. “It’s been a very hard week.”

Korchak was part of a larger pro-Israel counterprotest that set up tables outside campus and left empty plates for each of the hostages taken by Hamas.

While she was giving an interview to a reporter, a pro-Palestinian student interrupted her, shouting that she supported “a terrorist state,” referring to Israel. 

Korchak said the two argued but eventually calmed enough to share their individual perspectives and hope for lasting peace. After a few minutes, they exchanged phone numbers and agreed to keep in touch. 

“It’s all about bridging that gap and hearing each other,” Korchak said. 

As USC cancels commencement, Columbia students worry theirs could be disrupted

As the University of Southern California in Los Angeles canceled its main commencement ceremony because of safety concerns over student protests, students at Columbia University in New York, where anti-war demonstrations led to dozens of arrests, said they feared theirs could be disrupted.

Schools across the country where protests have flared up are keeping mum about whether they will adjust or outright cancel their ceremonies, but some students said they feared a domino effect — much like what happened after students at students at Columbia became the first to set up an encampment on campus.

Those at other schools, from the University of Michigan to Cornell University in New York, then began to erect their own tents in shows of opposition to the Israel-Hamas war and to urge their schools to divest from companies that do business with Israel.

Graduating college students whose high school commencement ceremonies were canceled or delayed by the coronavirus pandemic say it is just another knock on their rocky road to getting an education.

Read the full story here.

Second gentleman Emhoff speaks with Columbia, Barnard Jewish leaders

Tara Prindiville

Tara Prindiville and Megan Lebowitz

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff spoke with two Jewish leaders from Columbia and Barnard this week, a White House official said.

Emhoff spoke with one leader from Orthodox Union-JLIC at Columbia and Barnard and another from Columbia/Barnard Hillel, a nondenominational campus-based Jewish organization.

The official said Emhoff's conversations "focused on the immediate need to address antisemitism on college campuses," and he offered his support on the Biden administration's behalf.

"During the calls, the Second Gentleman recognized that while every American has the right to freedom of speech and to protest peacefully, hate speech and calls for violence against Jews is both antisemitic and unacceptable," the official said.

Arrests made at Ohio State University

A number of people were arrested at Ohio State University in Columbus after demonstrators refused to leave part of campus Thursday night, a university spokesperson said.

The number of arrests was not immediately available.

“Well established university rules prohibit camping and overnight events. Demonstrators exercised their first amendment rights for several hours and were then instructed to disperse,” spokesman Ben Johnson said in an email.

“Individuals who refused to leave after multiple warnings were arrested and charged with criminal trespass,” he said.

The Columbus Dispatch newspaper reported that its reporters witnessed at least a dozen people being taken into custody.

UCLA students can stay inside encampment, officers say

LOS ANGELES — Public security officers at UCLA have set up metal fences around the pro-Palestinian student encampment perimeter to secure the area.

UCLA students are allowed to remain inside a large encampment indefinitely as tensions with counterprotesters eased on campus, officers said.  

Outside the perimeter, pro-Israel protesters argued with security officers over protecting the encampment. 

“We’re trying to keep both sides safe,” said Gary Johnson, head of campus security. “Because this is a public campus, they are allowed to be here as long as they want to be.” 

Andy Weir

Pro-Israel counterprotesters marched near Columbia University today as pro-Palestinian demonstrations continued there and at campuses across the U.S.

Columbia University calls rumors of NYPD untrue, says talks are progressing

Josh Cradduck

Phil Helsel and Josh Cradduck

Columbia University said tonight that progress is being made in talks with students who are protesting at the Manhattan campus, and it shut down rumors that police were on their way.

“There is a rumor that the NYPD has been invited to campus this evening. This rumor is false,” the university said.

Students have set up an encampment on the campus to protest the war in Gaza and to bring attention to the suffering of people there, which the university has said must be dismantled.

The university said a formal process is underway.

"The talks have shown progress and are continuing as planned," Columbia said.

Northwestern protesters meet with university over encampment, demands

EVANSTON, Ill. — Northwestern University officials met with a small group of the organizers of the campus’s growing pro-Palestinian encampment for two hours today, according to a release from the school and conversations with a student who attended.

The university said it offered during the meeting to let the demonstrators continue to assemble as long as they got rid of the bullhorns and tents that go against the school’s policy — but “the offer was declined.”

“Because of the fact that we left the meetings, without the demands that we were looking for, we have no intention of leaving the encampment,” said a student who was at the meeting and asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation and to protect the integrity of future talks.

The student said the administrators would not commit to anything concrete tonight in terms of the university’s divesting funds from defense stocks or Israeli companies.

“Our interest is not in protesting for the sake of protesting but rather to see these demands being committed to,” the student said. “The purpose of the encampment was to stay there as long as necessary.”

The demands also include protecting student civil liberties and ending university partnerships with Israeli institutions.

The school said in its release that it “will move forward with other options to protect the safety of the community.” Earlier in the day a university spokesperson said students who refuse to remove tents are subject to arrest.

Families of American hostages held in Gaza respond to joint statement calling for release of hostages

The families of eight American hostages held in Gaza said a joint statement the U.S. and 17 other countries released today calling for the immediate release of all hostages "makes it clear that the hostage crisis is much more than an Israeli issue."

"The remaining 133 hostages pose a global humanitarian crisis and require an immediate, coordinated international response," the families said in a statement.

They added that they are "grateful" to President Joe Biden "for building this coalition of nations to bring attention to the magnitude of this crisis."

Their statement said that "the significant nature of this statement is a tragic indicator that our window to rescue the hostages is closing."

"Together, the international community must continue to act in coordination and with determination to keep the pressure on the terrorist leaders of Hamas," the statement said. "It is up to them to end this humanitarian crisis by releasing ALL of the remaining hostages as soon as possible."

Pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel protesters clash at UCLA

LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters and pro-Israel counterprotesters faced off at UCLA tonight, each waving the flags of their movements and shouting at one another. 

Israeli flags flew behind demonstrators who chanted “Free Palestine!”

“We see ourselves as part of a legacy of student activists,” said Tai Min, a second-year undergraduate student who helped organize UCLA’s encampment. “This is not our first time out here, and this won’t be the last.”

Min spoke from outside a perimeter that demonstrators against the war in Gaza set up, which was made of signs, a makeshift wooden fence and students with linked arms. 

Inside the encampment, at least 40 tents have been erected within the last 24 hours. Protesters have set up supply stations with masks, food, water and first aid.

Outside the perimeter, Charlene, who asked that her last name not be used for fear of facing antisemitic harassment, stood with nine members of her family. Charlene flew in from New York this week to observe Passover with her Los Angeles-based extended family. Her cousin attends UCLA and told her that she was recently spit on while wearing a Star of David and called a “Zionist pig,” Charlene said. 

“I obviously have to support them,” she said. “We are Iranian, but we’re almost Zionist.”

State Department veteran resigns over U.S. handling of Gaza

Abigail Williams

Hala Rharrit, a U.S. diplomat and veteran foreign service officer, resigned from the State Department yesterday in protest over the Biden administration's policy in Gaza as the death toll in the six-month war climbs over 34,000.

Rharrit served the U.S. government for almost two decades, holding positions in the Middle East, Hong Kong and South Africa, and most recently worked as a spokesperson for the State Department’s Middle East & North Africa, leading the Dubai regional media hub.

"I resigned April 2024 after 18 years of distinguished service in opposition to the United States’ Gaza policy,” Rharrit wrote on her public LinkedIn page. “Diplomacy, not arms. Be a force for peace and unity.”

Rharrit is the latest State Department official to publicly resign since Israel’s military campaign against Hamas started in response to the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which killed more than 1,200 people.

Josh Paul, another veteran U.S. diplomat, resigned in the department’s bureau of political-military affairs less than a month into the conflict, citing the Biden administration’s “blind support” for Israel and the continued provision of U.S. lethal arms.

The State Department declined to comment directly on Rharrit’s resignation, citing personnel matters.

"Our workforce can share their points of view when they disagree with a certain policy or a certain action that the US government is taking. You’ve heard us talk about the dissent channel. That option that channel continues to be in place,” deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters today.

Trump says Charlottesville 'was nothing' compared to current protests

Isabelle Schmeler

Zoë Richards and Isabelle Schmeler

Former President Donald Trump downplayed a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left a young woman dead in comments outside a New York courtroom this afternoon following proceedings in his hush money trial.

Taking aim at President Joe Biden over protests related to the Israel-Hamas war, Trump said "Charlottesville was a little peanut" by comparison.

It "was nothing," Trump said of the Charlottesville rally. "This is tremendous hate, and we have a man that can’t talk about it because he doesn’t understand it."

Biden has often referred to Charlottesville as a key reason he decided to run for president in 2020. Trump's remarks today echoed comments he made on Truth Social yesterday, when he wrote, "Charlottesville is like a 'peanut' compared to the riots and anti-Israel protests that are happening" nationwide.

White House spokesman Andrew Bates blasted Trump's remark in a statement.

"Minimizing the Antisemitic and white supremacist poison displayed in Charlottesville is repugnant and divisive," Bates said. "That moment compelled President Biden to run in 2020, because he has fought Antisemitism and hate his entire life."

College protesters are demanding schools ‘divest’ from companies with ties to Israel. Here’s what that means.

In addition to a cease-fire in Gaza, protesters on college campuses across the country are calling on their schools to divest from all financial support of Israel.

Divestment usually refers to selling shares in companies doing business with a given country. Divestment has long been a goal of a movement that seeks to limit what it considers hostile operations by Israel and an end to expanding what the United Nations has ruled are illegal settlements.

Now, college protesters hope to force their universities to divest to put financial pressure on companies doing business in Israel to meet those two objectives.

Read the full story here.

Nearly 30 arrested at Emory; police used chemical irritants, school official says

Charlie Gile

Antonio Planas and Charlie Gile

Twenty-eight people were arrested while objects were thrown at police who used chemical irritants for crowd control today during a protest at Emory University in Atlanta, a school official said.

Shortly before 8 a.m., dozens of protesters pushed past police on the campus quad and set up tents where equipment and materials were in place for commencement, Cheryl Elliott, the college’s vice president for public safety, wrote in a letter to the university community tonight.

Of those arrested, 20 were “Emory community members,” Elliott said.

Emory police issued warnings, and when the police orders were ignored, Atlanta police and officers with the Georgia State Patrol assisted with crowd control and detaining protesters, Elliott said.

“During this process and the subsequent confrontations, objects were thrown at police officers,” Elliott said, adding that an officer who was not with Emory police may have used a stun gun on a protester.

Police also used other tactics, Elliott said, to gain control of the crowd.

“Due to the direct assault of officers, law enforcement released chemical irritants into the ground to assist with crowd control,” Elliott said.

The university's goal, Elliott said, was to clear the quad “of a disruptive encampment while holding individuals accountable to the law.”

Northwestern gives no timeline for removing tents, says it is in 'active discussions' with demonstrators

Daisy Conant

Selina Guevara and Daisy Conant

Northwestern University did not give a specific timeline today when it was asked when it will remove tents as a part of pro-Palestinian protests on campus.

The university said it is in "active discussions with the demonstrators to ensure the safety of members of the Northwestern community while also providing a space for free expression."

Earlier today, a spokesperson for the university said, "Students who refuse to remove their tents will be subject to arrest and their tents will be removed by the University."

The university president announced interim rule changes to the student handbook this morning, which include a ban on installing tents on university property that aren’t approved.

The school said tents near The Rock, a monument on campus that people can decorate, would be allowed to remain, as students have to "guard" The Rock for 24 hours to paint it with messages and typically sleep in tents to do so.

40 universities and colleges in U.S. and Canada have encampments

Colin Sheeley

Rebecca Cohen and Colin Sheeley

Since Columbia University launched its encampment and protests last week in solidarity with Gaza, NBC News has counted 40 universities and colleges that have followed suit, launching encampments on campuses in the U.S. and Canada.

Columbia says discussions between school and protesters are 'ongoing'

Columbia University said that discussions between the school and student protesters are "ongoing" and that a group of faculty members, administrators and university senators have "been in dialogue with student organizers" for "several days."

The two sides have discussed "the basis for dismantling the encampment, dispersing, and following University policies going forward," the university said.

"We have our demands; they have theirs," Columbia said in an update posted today, adding that a "formal process is underway and continues."

"As President Shafik has said, we very much hope these discussions are successful. If they are not, we will have to consider options for restoring calm to campus," it said.

Protest on George Washington's campus continues after deadline to move

WASHINGTON — Organizers at the protest rally at George Washington University were directing students to move to the center of the encampment and outside community members to form a perimeter around them.

college campus protest israeli hamas conflict
Protesters on the campus of George Washington University in Washington on Thursday.Owen Hayes / NBC News

Protesters had until 7 p.m. to disperse and break down their tents, but the deadline came and went with no sign of campus or police action. The rally is ongoing, and the crowd appears to have grown.

Ahead of the deadline, the university and its police department said there were no changes in plans and no negotiations to allow the protesters to continue their encampment.

Earlier today, the university said it had requested the assistance of Washington police to “relocate” the protesters after they did not heed instructions to move to another site on campus.

In a statement tonight after the deadline, the university said that the encampment was “an unauthorized use of university space and violates several university policies” and that it was working with police to determine “how to best address the situation.”

University of Florida sets up Gaza solidarity 'liberation zone'

Colin Sheeley

Rebecca Cohen and Colin Sheeley

Students at the University of Florida have set up their own liberation zone in solidarity with Gaza and other universities across the country.

UF Divestment Coalition, which describes itself on Instagram as students calling for the school "to protect students and end complicity in the ongoing occupation of Palestine and genocide in Gaza," posted today encouraging students to join the encampment at UF Plaza of the Americas that was set up last night and maintained overnight.

The group said it "successfully maintained occupation of the grounds in Plaza of Americas through the night, and activities will continue today."

"This is our space," the group wrote on Instagram. It encouraged students to bring water and snacks, laptops to study for exams and chairs and mats.

It said yesterday it launched the encampment "to express our concerns with the institution’s repression of student voices and unfair discrimination, as well as to demand divestment."

UCLA monitoring encampment protest; access to some parts of campus restricted

UCLA said today about the Royce Quad encampment protest: “We’re actively monitoring this situation to support a safe and peaceful campus environment that respects our community’s right to free expression while minimizing disruption to our teaching and learning mission. “

Access to Royce Hall and Powell was restricted, and Bruin Cards are required for entry. 

Classes and campus actives will continue as usual, the school said. 

UT Austin says 26 people unaffiliated with the school were arrested yesterday

Twenty-six people who were unaffiliated with the University of Texas at Austin were arrested yesterday, the university said in a statement.

"Wednesday’s protest organized by the Palestine Solidarity Committee sought to follow the playbook of the national campaign to paralyze the operations of universities across the country," the statement said. "Like at each of those universities, and confirming our serious concern, there was significant participation by outside groups present on our campus yesterday."

Today, the Travis County Attorney's Office said cases against 46 people arrested last night in connection with the protests at UT have been dismissed because of "deficiencies in the probable cause affidavits" after defense lawyers raised legal concerns. The county attorney's office did not say whether those 46 people were affiliated with the school.

The university statement said that since Oct. 13, pro-Palestinian free speech events have occurred "largely without incident."

"In contrast, this one in particular expressed an intent to disrupt the campus and directed participants to break Institutional Rules and occupy the University, consistent with national patterns," the statement said.

Columbia increases patrol ahead of counterprotests outside of campus

Columbia University sent an email alerting students and faculty and staff members of enhanced security measures ahead of a counterprotest, the United for Israel march, scheduled for tonight outside of the school.

Gate access is still restricted to Columbia University ID holders, and patrols will be increased for enhanced security on the campus perimeter. Members of the university the community may call to request escorts if they feel unsafe.

"The safety and security of our Columbia community and Morningside neighbors are paramount," the email said. "Please take care of yourselves and each other."

Prosecutor dismisses 46 UT Austin protest cases for 'legal concerns'

Dozens of cases have been dropped against protesters who were arrested yesterday during the University of Texas at Austin demonstration, a spokesperson for the Travis County prosecutor confirmed in an email.

"Legal concerns were raised by defense counsel," the spokesperson said. "We individually reviewed each case that was presented and agreed there were deficiencies in the probable cause affidavits."

A vast majority of the 57 arrests that were made when Texas state troopers were brought in to break up the pro-Palestinian demonstration have been dismissed.

Additional details were not provided. The spokesperson said the office would review all cases "to determine whether prosecution is factually and legally appropriate."

University of Pennsylvania students begin encampment protest

A group of students at the University of Pennsylvania has set up tents on the College Green, the student-run newspaper reported today.

According to The Daily Pennsylvanian, in addition to demands that Penn divest from Israel and companies they say are benefiting from the war, student activists demanded that "Penn defend Palestinian students." That includes reinstating the student group Penn Students Against the Occupation of Palestine, whose status was revoked.

Penn's interim president, Larry Jameson, said in a statement today that the school held a panel of Muslim, Arab and Palestinian students earlier this semester. Officials heard "loud and clear" that those students felt unacknowledged by the university's anti-hate statements as they experience Islamophobic slurs and see trucks near campus with anti-Islamic imagery.

"I want to make clear that all Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian members of our community are welcome and belong at Penn. It has been a painful and difficult time for many students, faculty, and staff," Jameson wrote.

"For some, the tragic loss of life in the Middle East has included family and friends," the statement continued. "And the growing unrest in cities and on other college and university campuses across the country is deeply unsettling."

'There's no deadline; it's a timeline,' Columbia students say of negotiations

Isa Farfan

Student organizers at Columbia University are working with administrators on a "timeline" for negotiations, but no police action is threatened at this time, student Mahmoud Khalil told reporters today.

Columbia officials initially told students they would have to leave the encampment at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday before the school would look into alternative options. The deadline was then extended as students were told they would have 48 hours to continue conversations.

"There's no deadline; it's a timeline for negotiation," Khalil said. "It's not a deadline to bring police enforcement or any other law enforcement."

Khalil, who is Palestinian, is an international student who is not a part of the encampment protest but is participating in the negotiations. The talks were suspended for roughly 30 hours after the ultimatum was first given to clear out, Khalil said, and students are working to gain more clarity about what the university means.

Pro-Palestinian protests continue to grow at campuses in New York and Texas

NBC News

Violent clashes between police and protesters opposed to the Israel-Hamas war have taken place at campuses across the country, along with multiple arrests.

Protesters gather again at UT Austin a day after police arrested demonstrators

AUSTIN, Texas — A large crowd of protesters has gathered again at Main Plaza in front of the UT Tower on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, where chants of “Free, Free Palestine” were heard.

About a dozen school police officers were visible at the base of the tower.

The South Lawn, where arrests took place at yesterday’s protest, was largely empty save for students walking to class. 

One protester, who didn’t want her name used because she is employed at UT, held a sign that called for occupying all campuses. She was at yesterday's protest.

“I wasn’t afraid to come back out, because at the end of the day, this is something that’s important, and they say what starts here changes the world. So we are starting here,” she told NBC News.

She said her presence was also in protest of the university’s ending diversity, equity and inclusion programs and firing dozens of faculty and staff members, which she said she saw as connected, adding, “It’s a fight for simple civil liberties.”

USC cancels main graduation commencement ceremony

The University of Southern California canceled its main graduation commencement ceremony today, citing new safety measures involving those who come to campus.

In a commencement update posted this afternoon, USC said that "we will not be able to host the main stage ceremony that traditionally brings 65,000 students, families, and friends to our campus all at the same time and during a short window from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m." for the event originally scheduled for May 10.

The new safety measures include issuing tickets for all commencement events and allowing campus access only through specific points of entry, the school said. It said it canceled the main ceremony because it would take too long to process the large number of guests who would come to campus for the event.

Image: USC Students Hold Protest In Support Of Gaza megaphone
Demonstrators rally in support of Gaza at USC yesterday.Mario Tama / Getty Images

The school acknowledged that the decision is "disappointing" but added that "we are adding many new activities and celebrations to make this commencement academically meaningful, memorable, and uniquely USC, including places to gather with family, friends, faculty, and staff, the celebratory releasing of the doves, and performances by the Trojan Marching Band." It did not offer more detail about those events.

The release said the school will still host the dozens of smaller individual school commencement ceremonies, "where students cross the stage, have their names announced, are photographed, and receive their diplomas."

Doctoral hooding ceremonies, special celebrations and departmental activities and receptions will all still be held, the school said.

Columbia officials resume negotiations with protesters, students say

Andy Weir

Andy Weir and Emilie Ikeda

Student organizers at Columbia University told reporters today that negotiations with university officials about clearing out the campus protest encampment have resumed after a 30-hour pause.

Students said they left the table Monday evening. Negotiations resumed this morning and are currently ongoing.

Student organizers said at a news conference the 48-hour deadline issued earlier this week from the university is unclear and they are seeking clarification.

One organizer who spoke at the news conference also said she was attacked by someone posing as a member of the press yesterday. She did not elaborate further on the nature of the attack.

Pro-Palestinian students and activsts gather at a protest encampment on the campus of Columbia University in New York City on April 25, 2024.
The protest encampment at Columbia today.Leonardo Munoz / AFP - Getty Images

Reports of pepper bullets, tear gas and stun guns used at Emory protest

Activists behind the Gaza solidarity encampment at Emory University in Atlanta said in a news release that demonstrators were “attacked” with “pepper bullets, tear gas, and tasers for the simple act of camping out on a school lawn.”

The encampment was established on the Emory Quad at 7:30 a.m. today in a protest launched by Emory Students for Justice in Palestine and local activist group Stop Cop City.

Footage from the protest taken by NBC affiliate cameras showed uniformed officers on campus, some in helmets and gas masks and holding guns that appeared to hold pellet bullets.

One video shared on social media showed a demonstrator handcuffed on the ground by multiple officers, one of whom deployed a stun gun on the protester's leg.

The person who filmed the video, who did not share their name, said police officers flooded in the peaceful protest with tear gas, pellets and what appeared to be stun guns. The individual who was hit with the stun gun was already pinned down by officers when the weapon was deployed.

School paper The Emory Wheel also reported that irritant gas was used on protesters and at least one protester was hit with a stun gun. An officer told detained protesters they were being taken to the DeKalb County Jail, the paper reported.

Activists said in a news release that Georgia State Patrol, Atlanta police and Emory police responded and confronted students and a faculty member.

“As protestors collectively retreated from streams of pepper bullets, hundreds more students have taken their place, calling for an end to the police’s brutality and the immediate release of all activists arrested,” the release said.

NBC News has reached out to local law enforcement for comment.

Earlier today, a university spokesperson said several dozen protesters "trespassed" onto campus and set up tents on the Quad, not all of whom were members of the university, and Emory police ordered the group to leave. 

3 arrested as Ohio State University encampment protest is cleared

An Ohio State University encampment demonstration by students and community members was dismantled and resulted in at least three arrests.

University spokesperson Ben Johnson said that “longstanding university policy prohibits camping and requires a space reservation for gatherings.”

As a result, individuals were asked to clear the area. Three refused “after multiple warnings” and were arrested and charged with criminal trespass, Johnson said. Of those arrested: One is not affiliated with the university, one is an employee, and one is a graduate student. 

“There is no ongoing encampment or continuous demonstration at Ohio State,” he said, noting university police and staff are on-site for all demonstrations and will remain there tonight.

The arrests come after two students were arrested, also on a charge of criminal trespassing, on Tuesday at a protest on campus, school paper The Lantern reported. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders to Netanyahu: 'It is not antisemitic to hold you accountable for your actions'

Sen. Bernie Sanders rebuffed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statement yesterday in which he called criticism of Israeli government policies antisemitic.

“No, Mr. Netanyahu. It is not antisemitic or pro-Hamas to point out that in a little over six months your extremist government has killed 34,000 Palestinians and wounded more than 77,000 — 70% of whom are women and children,” Sanders said today.

Sanders pointed out that Israeli government bombings have devastated much of Gaza’s infrastructure like water, electricity and hospitals, and destroyed the homes of nearly half of Gaza’s population. 

"Mr Netanyahu. Antisemitism is a vile and disgusting form of bigotry that has done unspeakable harm to many millions of people," Sanders said.

"But, please, do not insult the intelligence of the American people by attempting to distract us from the immoral and illegal war policies of your extremist and racist government," he continued. "Do not use antisemitism to deflect attention from the criminal indictment you are facing in the Israeli courts. It is not antisemitic to hold you accountable for your actions."

57 arrested at yesterday’s UT Austin protest

Juliette Arcodia

Marlene Lenthang and Juliette Arcodia

A total of 57 people were booked yesterday in association with the protest at the University of Texas at Austin, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office said.

However, it’s not clear how many of those were students versus community members. It’s also not clear how many have been released, but all have had their charges disposed as of this morning.

Yesterday's pro-Palestinian protest saw state troopers in riot gear, horses and police clear out the area around Speedway Mall.

UT Austin President Jay Hartzell said, “The University did as we said we would do in the face of prohibited actions.” But some UT Austin faculty condemned the police presence on campus, accusing the university of turning campus “into a militarized zone,” and said they won’t teach their classes to protest the action.

A student is arrested during a demonstration in support of Gaza at the The University of Texas at Austin on April 24, 2024.
A student is arrested at UT Austin yesterday.Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Title VI investigations into Columbia University, UMass Amherst, CUNY

Madison Lambert

Madison Lambert and Marlene Lenthang

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating multiple universities under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin.

According to the office's list of open investigations, probes were opened into Columbia University and CUNY Hunter College on Tuesday, the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Monday, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst on April 16.

It comes amid a wave of protests on college campuses expressing solidarity with Palestinians and calling for university divestment from weapons manufacturing.

The Education Department said it doesn’t comment on pending investigations.

The department had announced in the winter probes into a string of schools, including Stanford University, UCLA, Harvard University and Cornell University, over alleged ethnic discrimination, including antisemitic or Islamophobic activities, on the campuses amid the backdrop of heightened tensions over the Israel-Hamas war. 

UCLA joins encampment protest

The University of California, Los Angeles started a solidarity encampment protest this morning.

A flyer by the Students for Justice in Palestine group on campus said: “Join us now at Royce Quad. We are not leaving until our demands are met.” 

“Today, UCLA joins students across the country in demanding that our universities divest from the companies which profit off of the occupation, apartheid, and genocide in Palestine,” the group said on social media. 

City University of New York launches encampment protest

CUNY is the latest institution to follow the wave of encampment protests in solidarity with Gaza.

The group CUNY For Palestine shared on social media: “Students have heeded the call to escalate, join the encampment and rally at 139th St and Convent ave at 10AM TODAY and be ready to mobilize all day to defend the encampment in its first 24 hours!”

CUNY For Palestine is making five demands of the university — including that CUNY divest from companies that produce weapons and technology that support settler-colonial violence, ban academic relationships with Israeli universities and end repression and retaliation against organizers supporting Palestinians at the university.

CUNY is made up of 25 colleges across New York City's five boroughs.

The City College of New York, the CUNY school where the encampment is planned, said today it’s “strongly committed to the principles of freedom of speech and expression on campus.” School officials said they were “in the process of determining if the protestors setting up encampments on the campus are affiliated with either the campus or CUNY.”

“CCNY’s long standing position is that any legitimate protest -- by any group that is part of our community -- must be peaceful, respectful, nonthreatening, and devoid of any hatred or intimidation. It must also not interfere with any activities on campus.”

Police arrest protesters Emory University encampment

Charlie Gile

Marlene Lenthang and Charlie Gile

Atlanta's Emory University also launched an encampment protest this morning in partnership with local activist groups.

Social activist group "Stop Cop City" shared on social media that “within two hours” of the encampment protest on campus, the university issued a “final warning” on protesters. 

School paper, "The Emory Wheel," reported on X that Atlanta police and Georgia State Patrol began “arresting protestors around 10:20 a.m. this morning.” 

Police were seen cleaning out the encampment around 11 a.m. and about a dozen people were seen sitting near a police vehicle with their hands zip tied behind their back.

Students protesting in support of Gaza are detained by police at Emory University in Atlanta on April 24, 2024.
Charles Gile / NBC News

Laura Diamond, the assistant vice president of University Communications at Emory, said in a statement that several dozen protesters “trespassed” onto the campus and set up tents on the quad early this morning. 

“These individuals are not members of our community. They are activists attempting to disrupt our university as our students finish classes and prepare for finals,” Diamond said. “Emory does not tolerate vandalism or other criminal activity on campus. The Emory Police Department ordered the group to leave and contacted Atlanta Police for assistance.”

Police move in on protesters at Northwestern University

Northwestern University police officers are on scene at the school’s encampment protest at Deering Meadow this morning.

School paper, The Daily Northwestern, reported that Chief of Police Bruce Lewis told students to take down the tents. All were down by 8 a.m. local time, but re-erected minutes later. A police officer announced: “arrests will be made for trespassing,” and officers were seen moving in on a line of protesters who had their arms locked. 

As of 9 a.m. local time (10 E.T.), the line of protesters were still standing and chanting without physical confrontations with police. As of 10:30 a.m. local time, no arrests have been made, and Northwestern police and Student Affairs are still on the scene.

A school spokesperson, Jon Yates, said this morning that the act of setting up a tent encampment "is prohibited under University policies."

"University officials, including Northwestern Police and representatives from Student Affairs, are on site and have informed the group of the policies. They are working with the demonstrators to have the tents removed," the spokesperson said.

Students who refuse to remove their tents "will be subject to arrest and their tents will be removed by the University," he said.

"Northwestern is committed to the principles of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly — and to protecting the safety of all members of our community, as well as limiting disruptions to University operations," Yates added.

U.S. and allies call on Hamas to free remaining hostages in Gaza

The United States and 17 of its allies called on Hamas to release the remaining hostages it took on Oct. 7 and agree to an "immediate and prolonged" ceasefire.

A joint statement from the White House and countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada and France, called on the Palestinian group to free the hostages, who include Israelis and other nationalities, who have now been held for more than 200 days.

"We emphasize that the deal on the table to release the hostages would bring an immediate and prolonged ceasefire in Gaza, that would facilitate a surge of additional necessary humanitarian assistance to be delivered throughout Gaza, and lead to the credible end of hostilities," the statement said.

The allies added that after a ceasefire deal, "Gazans would be able to return to their homes and their lands with preparations beforehand to ensure shelter and humanitarian provisions."

Two graduate students arrested, tents voluntarily removed at Princeton encampment

Brittany Kubicko

Marlene Lenthang and Brittany Kubicko

Two graduate students were arrested for trespassing at Princeton University's encampment protest this morning, the school said. 

“Fewer than 100 people gathered on campus, and a small number began erecting about a half-dozen tents, which is a violation of University policy,” a university spokesperson said. 

The university's Department of Public Safety issued “repeated warnings” to cease protesting and leave the area, and the two graduate students were arrested. Those students “have been immediately barred from campus, pending a disciplinary process,” the spokesperson said.

All the tents were then “voluntarily” taken down by protesters. 

Students at a sit-in support of Gaza at Princeton University on April 25, 2024.
Students at a sit-in support of Gaza at Princeton University today.NBC News

The morning arrest comes after the vice president of campus life, Rochelle Calhoun, sent a message to students yesterday warning: “Any individual involved in an encampment, occupation, or other unlawful disruptive conduct who refuses to stop after a warning will be arrested and immediately barred from campus. For students, such exclusion from campus would jeopardize their ability to complete the semester.” 

More universities launch their own encampment protests

Encampment protests are spreading to other universities across the U.S. today.

Students at George Washington University appeared to reclaim the University Yard on the campus in the nation’s capital early Thursday. 

At Cornell University in Ithaca, New York , students created a liberated zone on the campus quad “to pressure university admin to divest from genocide in Gaza,” according to a press release by a coalition of student groups.

Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, also saw about two dozen student activists start their own encampment on Deering Meadow, according to the school's paper.

Princeton University president says encampments violate policies

Princeton University president Christopher Eisgruber said in an op-ed published in the school paper Thursday that while the university embraces free expression, there are limits regarding the time and places where protests occur. 

"Princeton’s time, place, and manner regulations include a clear and explicit prohibition upon encampments. They provide that 'camping in vehicles, tents, or other structures is not permitted on campus. Sleeping in outdoor space of any kind is prohibited,'" he wrote.

He said that encampments obstruct others from moving freely on campus, create health and safety risks, there’s no way to bar outsiders from joining in and, as proven by recent events on other campuses, “encampments are also prone to become sites of confrontation.” 

"Dialogue, debate, and deliberation depend upon maintaining a campus that is free from intimidation, obstruction, risks to physical safety, or other impediments to the University’s scholarship, research, and teaching missions," he said.

108 arrested in protests around Emerson College

Josh Cradduck

Marlene Lenthang and Josh Cradduck

Police said 108 people were arrested in protests around Emerson College Wednesday night. 

Boston police said that no protesters were injured, and those arrested will be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court. Four officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries — three minor and one “more serious.”

Protest events planned today on campuses across the U.S.

The nation's colleges are set for another day of pro-Palestinian protest and disruption with sit-ins, rallies and walkouts planned across the country.

Activists at Georgetown, Penn State and Syracuse universities are all due to hold rallies or protests at 10.30 a.m. ET, while more are planned throughout the day at Fordham, Purdue, Indiana, Brown, Stanford, and many more.

Events are expected to continue at least until a teach-in at the University of Virginia at 7.30 p.m.

Events are also planned for tomorrow, in a sign that the protest movement is not slowing down.

Coast to coast protests: Encampments ongoing on at least 20 U.S. college campuses

The pro-Palestinian protest movement that has swept across the country's universities this week shows no sign of stopping, with ongoing camps at least campuses, according to NBC News' research.

Since the encampment began at New York's Columbia University on April 17, there are now similar camps from Emerson College in Boston to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Other major schools with encampments include Yale in Connecticut; the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Texas, Ausatin.

There is also an encampment at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

Columbia's board backs embattled president Minouche Shafik

Columbia University's president, Minouche Shafik, received a strong vote of confidence from the institution's board of trustees last night, as pro-Palestinian protests continue on campus and at other colleges across the country.

The statement came after House Speaker Mike Johnson called on her to resign yesterday.

"The Columbia University Board of Trustees strongly supports President Shafik as she steers the university through this extraordinarily challenging time," the board said in a statement.

The board said Shafik, who took up the post on July 1, 2023, had promised to "take a thoughtful approach to resolving conflict, balancing the disparate voices that make up a vibrant campus like Columbia’s, while taking a firm stance against hatred, harassment and discrimination."

"That’s exactly what she’s doing now," the statement said, adding that the board was "urgently working with her to resolve the situation on campus."

On Monday Shafik said she was "saddened" by the situation on campus and called on protest leaders to compromise and sit down for talks.

Netanyahu condemns campus protests, compares them to Nazi Germany

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Jews and non-Jews to oppose pro-Palestinian protests on campuses across the United States, comparing them to the antisemitism seen in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

"What's happening in America's college campuses is horrific. Antisemitic mobs have taken over leading universities. They call for the annihilation of Israel, they attack Jewish students, they attack Jewish faculties," he said in a statement posted to X on Wednesday.

"This is reminiscent of what happened in German universities in the 1930s. It's unconscionable — it has to be stopped, it has to be condemned and condemned unequivocally," he said.

The protests have drawn Jewish and Muslim students and others from a variety of backgrounds, many of them angered by the death toll in Gaza which has topped 33,000, according to health officials in the enclave. Interfaith prayers and musical performances have been held at some of them.

Netanyahu called the response of several university presidents "shameful," without naming any. He praised the response of some local and federal officials, but said "more has to be done."

The prime minister said that the protests were part of an "exponential rise" of antisemitism in America and across the West.

Netanyahu has faced criticism from across the world — including from the U.S. government — for Israel's actions in Gaza, where local officials say more than 34,000 people have been killed and aid groups say a famine may be looming.

But he has shown no signs of slowing or abandoning his stated war goals of eradicating Hamas and liberating the remaining Israeli hostages taken on Oct. 7 last year.

USC protest has ended for the night and campus remains closed

The protest at the University of Southern California, where at least 93 people were arrested according to police, has ended for the night.

The campus is closed and only students and staff with proper ID will be admitted, the school said.

"The protest on the UPC [University Park Campus] has ended. However, the campus remains closed until further notice. Students, faculty, staff, and people with business on campus may enter with proper identification," the USC Department of Public Safety said in a statement.

Earlier, LAPD said patrols would continue on campus through tomorrow.

Protests at Emerson College in Boston

Max Butterworth

Henry De Groot / DSA Working Mass
Henry De Groot / DSA Working Mass

There was a large police presence at a protest near Emerson College in Boston in the early hours of this morning, as seen in these images shared by Working Mass, the labor outlet the of the Democratic Socialists of America in Massachusetts.

Sister of slain Kent State protester condemns calls for 'militarized police responses'

The sister of one of four people killed by the National Guard at Kent State University in Ohio in a notorious incident during the Vietnam War today condemned calls by some Republicans for the military to be called in to quell campus protests.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, was asked today at Columbia University about calls for the military to be used. “If this is not contained quickly, and if these threats and intimidation are not stopped, there is an appropriate time for the National Guard," he said.

No governor has yet called for the National Guard for the student protests.

Laurel Krause, the sister of 19-year-old Allison Krause, who was fatally shot at Kent State on May 4, 1970, called on universities to support the rights of students to protest.

“In 1970 failures of Kent State University leadership enabled the massacre which left ‘Four Dead in Ohio,’” Krause said in a statement, referring to lyrics in the famous Neil Young song “Ohio.”

“Our institutions must learn from these past mistakes to not use militarized responses against unarmed, peaceful student protesters by calling in the National Guard, bringing in State Troopers or deploying Police in riot gear,” Krause added.

Columbia University has not asked for the National Guard to deal with protests there, and denied claims on social media that it had threatened to do so. The New York Police Department arrested over 100 people clearing a protest encampment at the Manhattan university last week.

Columbia's vice president of communications called the claim that there were threats to bring in the National Guard “baseless.”

“Let me be clear, that is untrue and an unsubstantiated claim,” he said today.

Over 30 people were arrested today at the University of Texas at Austin as police in riot helmets and with batons dispersed protesters on that campus.

Some faculty members of UT Austin said they would not teach tomorrow because of the school’s “militarized response.”

“We have witnessed police punching a female student, knocking over a legal observer, dragging a student over a chain link fence, and violently arresting students simply for standing at the front of the crowd,” the faculty members wrote in the letter.

The Texas Department of Public Safety, whose officers responded to the demonstrations, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the letter.

How the Columbia protests sparked campus demonstrations across the country

It just added fuel to the fire.

The decision by Columbia University’s president, Nemat “Minouche” Shafik, to call in the New York Police Department to clear pro-Palestinian protesters from the campus last week appears to have sparked the spate of increasingly strident demonstrations that have erupted at universities in New York City and across the country in recent days, students and faculty members said.

Since Thursday, when police arrested 108 Columbia University demonstrators, similar protests have erupted on campuses across the country.

The encampment at Columbia sprung up April 17, the day Shafik was grilled about on-campus antisemitism by the Republican-led House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Shafik faced questions about her handling of antisemitism on campus after Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7 alongside two members of Columbia’s Board of Trustees and the head of its antisemitism task force. The next day, Shafik had police clear the encampment; more than 100 protesters were arrested.

Read the full story here.

93 arrested at University of Southern California, police say

The Los Angeles Police Department said late tonight that 93 people were arrested at today’s protest at the University of Southern California.

There were no injuries, the LAPD said on X. The arrests were for trespassing.

“Patrols will remain in the area through tomorrow,” the department said.

Group outside Travis County Jail in Austin chants ‘let them out’

NBC News

AUSTIN, Texas — Around 150 people outside the Travis County Jail in Austin chanted “let them out” and “free Palestine” tonight after more than 30 people were arrested in demonstrations at the University of Texas at Austin.

At least 34 people were arrested at the demonstration at the university earlier today, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

University President Jay Hartzell said that a group tried to “occupy” part of the campus in protest over the war in Gaza, broke university policies and refused multiple requests to leave.

The demonstrators outside the jail tonight beat on a drum and chanted, “All charges have got to go.”

UT Austin faculty condemn leadership, say they won’t teach tomorrow

Meriam Bouarrouj

A letter that says it is from “concerned UT Austin faculty” condemned university leaders and said faculty members won’t work tomorrow because of the school’s “militarized response” to a student event.

“No business as usual tomorrow. No classes. No grading. No work. No assignments,” the letter read. It was not clear from the letter how many faculty members planned to participate.

A university spokesperson said the administration had seen the statement but would not comment on it.

Several professors shared the letter today on social media. It called out President Jay Hartzell and other administrators for allowing police on the campus and turning it into a “militarized zone” in response to a planned “Public University for Gaza” event on the school’s main lawn.

The planned event featured no threat of violence, no disruption to classes and no intimidation of the campus community, the letter noted.

“We are deeply concerned about our students’ well-being and safety,” the letter read. “We have witnessed police punching a female student, knocking over a legal observer, dragging a student over a chain link fence, and violently arresting students simply for standing at the front of the crowd.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the letter.

Students at University of Michigan encampment vow to stay

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Around 120 people gathered to hear speeches at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor today condemning the war in Gaza, while those at an encampment there vowed to stay until their demands are met.

Those at the encampment in support of Gaza say they want the university to “divest,” a demand also made at other colleges that they not support entities that could be linked to the war and sometimes not to invest in Israel.

The university says it shields decisions about investments from outside pressure.

“Regarding the calls for divestment, the university has had a policy in place for nearly 20 years that shields the university’s investments from political pressures,” a spokesperson has said.

“Much of the money invested through the university’s endowment, for example, is donor funding given to provide long-term financial support for designated purposes,” the spokesperson said.

Derek Peterson, an African history professor, today saluted the protesters.

“The insults to humanity that’s going on in Gaza today requires action and not simple passive response," he said.

‘Our University will not be occupied,' UT Austin president says

The president of the University of Texas at Austin called today “a challenging day” but said protesters will not be allowed to break the school's rules and policies.

“Our University will not be occupied,” President Jay Hartzell said.

“The protesters tried to deliver on their stated intent to occupy campus. People not affiliated with UT joined them, and many ignored University officials’ continual pleas for restraint and to immediately disperse,” Hartzell wrote.

Image: Students At UT Austin Hold Protest Supporting Gaza israel hamas conflict riot gear state troopers police
Law enforcement officers keep watch at a protest of the war in Gaza at the University of Texas at Austin on Wednesday. Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Protesters against the war in Gaza have attempted to set up encampments at universities all over the country to show their opposition for the conflict.

Hartzell said the university respects free speech but will take all necessary steps to ensure it can continue to operate without interruption.

At least 34 arrests made at UT Austin, Texas police say

As of 9 p.m. local time, there have been 34 arrests at the University of Texas at Austin after demonstrations opposing the war in Gaza, the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

Around 50 arrested at USC, police say

Los Angeles police said around 50 people have been arrested so far at the University of Southern California after protesters refused to leave the central campus, NBC Los Angeles reported.

police arrest lapd police student riot gear
LAPD officers make an arrest at the USC campus on Wednesday. NBC Los Angeles

The demonstration earlier prompted the school's provost to restrict access to the University Park campus after he said "their actions have escalated to include acts of vandalism, defacing campus buildings and structures, as well as physical confrontation that threatens the safety of our officers and campus community."

Police moved in at around 6 p.m. PT after warnings were issued that those who remained would be subject to arrest.

Police detaining protesters at USC campus

Police at the University of Southern California began detaining demonstrators in plastic hand restraints after a group of Gaza war protesters refused to leave.

Officers took demonstrators one by one to police vans, video from NBC Los Angeles at the scene showed. Others stood by and watched from around the area.

After being warned to leave or face arrest, a group of demonstrators locked arms in a circle and chanted that they wanted USC to disclose its investments and divest from entities associated with war.

The arrests appeared to be orderly and peaceful.

Jewish Federation of Los Angeles calls campus protests alarming

A Jewish group in Los Angeles today called the tone of protests on campus against the war in Gaza alarming and said it was concerned about antisemitism.

The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles issued the statement on the day a demonstration on the campus of the University of Southern California, which is in Los Angeles, devolved into vandalism and confrontations, according to the university.

“While we believe in peaceful civic discourse, these protests have escalated to the point of creating a dangerous climate for Jews on campus,” the Jewish Federation said in a statement.

According to authorities in Gaza, more than 30,000 people have been killed in the enclave in Israel's response to Hamas terrorist attacks on Oct. 7, which killed about 1,200 people.

USC deans permitted to move classes online

Madeline Morrison

The provost of the University of Southern California has allowed academic deans to move classes online for the rest of the week, the university said in a statement.

Instructors also have the option to continue to teach in person, the statement said.

Police have moved onto the campus and given orders for protesters to disperse or face arrest, and some protesters have been detained.

Protesters enter intersection near USC as police prepare to move on campus demonstration

A group of protesters have moved into an intersection near the University of Southern in California, where the LAPD was preparing to move on other protesters.

Aerial video from NBC Los Angeles showed some cars doing U-turns and going back the way they came after the group stood in the T-shaped intersection with signs.

Princeton threatens arrest, expulsion for students in encampments

Yasmeen Persaud

Yasmeen Persaud and Rudy Chinchilla

University officials today warned Princeton students that they will be arrested and barred from the New Jersey campus if they participate in encampments or engage in other “unlawful disruptive conduct."

In an email to students, Vice President for Campus Life W. Rochelle Calhoun reiterated the school’s support for freedom of expression but said officials would step in when protests disrupt operations or create “unsafe” situations.

“In addition to disrupting University operations, some types of protest actions (including occupying or blocking access to buildings, establishing outdoor encampments and sleeping in any campus outdoor space) are inherently unsafe for both those involved and for bystanders, and they increase the potential for escalation and confrontation,” Calhoun wrote.

That conduct is prohibited, and it runs counter to the university’s mission and legal obligation to provide a safe environment for students and employees, she continued, adding that the school will “act promptly in order to address it.”

“Any individual involved in an encampment, occupation, or other unlawful disruptive conduct who refuses to stop after a warning will be arrested and immediately barred from campus,” she said. “For students, such exclusion from campus would jeopardize their ability to complete the semester.”

Potential disciplinary action includes suspension, delay of diploma or expulsion, she added.  

Police seen moving in on protest at USC

Police detained at least one protester on the campus of the University of Southern California as they moved in to clear demonstrators from the center of campus.

Officers with helmets on moved into the area at around 5:37 p.m. PT after USC Police Chief Lauretta Hill warned people to leave Alumni Park, saying that it was private property and that they had 10 minutes to leave or face arrest.

A group linked arms and formed a circle, chanting “disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest.” Another person wrote a jail support phone number on their arms expecting to be arrested, video from NBC Los Angeles showed.

Officers with riot helmets and batons detained a protester outside the school’s public affairs building, and a crowd chanted, “Let her go!"

Earlier today, USC Provost Andrew Guzman said that protesters refused orders to move to a “compliant location” and that the campus would be closed and visitors would be restricted.

“Their actions have escalated to include acts of vandalism, defacing campus buildings and structures, as well as physical confrontation that threatens the safety of our officers and campus community,” Guzman, who is also USC’s senior vice president for academic affairs, said in a letter to the campus.

Many of the demonstrators appeared not to be connected to USC, he wrote. At one point, a chanting crowd surrounded a police vehicle, video showed. Other video showed security removing a tent.

Throughout the afternoon, USC said there was “still significant activity at the center of the UPC campus due to a demonstration” and urged people to avoid it.

LAPD will clear USC, make arrests if people stay, campus police say

Protesters refusing to leave the center of the USC campus in University Park will be arrested, the university security department warned moments ago.

"The Los Angeles Police Department is clearing the center of the UPC campus. If you are in the center of campus, please leave; LAPD will be arresting people who don’t disperse," the USC Department of Public Safety said on X at around 5:50 p.m. PT.

USC police chief threatens charges to those who remain in park

The chief of USC's Department of Public Safety told demonstrators who have been at the campus’ Alumni Park they face criminal trespass charges if they do not leave.

“This is private property,” Chief Lauretta Hill warned demonstrators after protests over the Gaza war that USC said devolved into acts of vandalism and confrontations.

“You have 10 minutes to leave the park,” Hill said, using a megaphone. She said those who refused to leave would be subject to criminal trespass.

Harvard ‘monitoring’ encampment on Harvard Yard

NBC News

Harvard is monitoring a pro-Palestinian encampment that was set up in the center of campus, a university spokesperson said today.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and are prioritizing the safety and security of the campus community,” spokesperson Jason Newton said in a statement.

Video posted to social media showed a large group of people waving Palestinian flags, setting up tents and chanting pro-Palestinian messages on Harvard Yard, a grassy area that constitutes the school’s historic center.

‘I just can’t stop thinking about the kids in Gaza,’ UT protester and mom says

UT Austin graduate Meg Halpin was at today’s demonstration for a reason that was personal in a way, even though the war in Gaza is half a world away.

“I just can’t stop thinking about the kids in Gaza. I’m a mom, too,” Halpin told NBC News. “So thinking about what those families have been going through."

Halpin said she is proud of the students for demonstrating.

“I think it’s really beautiful to see students showing up just to take a stand for those people and against what’s happening to those families in Gaza,” she said.

More than 30,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to health authorities there, since Israel launched its war against Hamas in response to Hamas terrorist attacks that killed more than 1,300 in Israel in October.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights yesterday cited authorities in Gaza as saying 14,685 of those killed have been children.

Biden meets Abigail Edan, 4-year-old American held hostage by Hamas

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Biden met Wednesday with Abigail Edan, the 4-year-old American girl who was held hostage in Gaza for several weeks at the start of the war.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said the White House meeting with Abigail and her family was “a reminder of the work still to do” to win the release of dozens of people Hamas took captive in its Oct. 7 attack on Israel and are still believed to be in captivity in Gaza.

Abigail, who has dual Israeli-U.S. citizenship, was taken hostage after her parents were killed in the attack, and she was released nearly seven weeks later. She was the first U.S. hostage freed by Hamas as part of a deal with Israel to exchange hostages for Palestinian prisoners early in the war. Abigail turned 4 in captivity.

“It was also a reminder in getting to see her that there are still Americans and others being held hostage by Hamas,” said Sullivan, who attended Biden’s meeting with the Abigail and her family. “And we’re working day in, day out to ensure all of them also are able to get safely home to their loved ones.”

Hamas today released a recorded video of an Israeli American it still holds. Sullivan said U.S. law enforcement officials are assessing the video but declined to comment further.