Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

‘Popular University Encampment’ continues into third day, college calls for security presence

Hannah Nguyen
Windwalker Security staff stand in the alley after the College emailed the community Tuesday evening announcing their presence.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Updated on April 24 at 10:47 a.m.

The Emerson Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)’s “Popular University Encampment” in 2 Boylston Alley entered its third day, with more events scheduled.

Despite concerns over potential arrests Monday night, no arrests were made. The Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) told the Beacon that the college is working closely with the Boston Police Department (BPD) to monitor the encampments, but did not comment on whether or not ECPD will issue any arrests under the guidance of the college.

Early in the afternoon, ECPD officers occasionally walked through the alleyway but did not engage with protesters. 

Beginning at noon on Tuesday, students had a study hall session in the alleyway where they did work or spent time in community with one another. At around 1:35 p.m., Khury Petersen-Smith, a strategist for political movements, spoke about the power of protests such as the current encampment.

“There is a power in your hands,” Petersen-Smith said. “If you have been here and you’ve felt powerful, and you feel powerful right now, I urge you to hold onto that feeling.”

Petersen-Smith said he spoke at the encampment because he had heard about it from Emerson connections. He plans to speak on other Boston campuses soon, mainly Tufts, where he is an alum. 

Day three’s events included the Emerson Poetry Project’s open mic showcase, a discussion about Palestine and foreign policy led by a professor, Asian Students in Alliance (ASIA)’s origami-making workshop, and protest and marshal training sessions.

At 4:16 p.m., an Emerson Staff Union member led a safety training session that guided protesters on how to prevent doxing or the distribution of unwanted personal information and data tracking.

At 6:42 p.m., the college sent an email to the community that said that they asked Windwalker Security staff to be present at the 2 Boylston Place alley beginning this evening so that “the Emerson community, members of the public, and our neighbors can have safe and consistent access to the alley, as required by law.”

“Windwalker Security staff, who regularly provide security at our building entrances, are on-site to escort and assist individuals who are navigating the alley and will also provide a continuous security presence,” the email read.

At around 7 p.m., students engaged in marshal training led by Emerson SJP and Emerson College Student Union. The training prepared volunteers to serve as guides, witnesses, and protectors during active protests. 

At around 9:12 p.m., Emerson SJP led an emergency rally where students spoke out about their feelings about Gaza and their experience talking about it at the college as well as their concerns about tuition.

At around 11:44 p.m., at least two ECPD officers were seen walking through the alley but did not approach protesters. Minutes later, they eventually exited through the dining hall entrance. 

At around 12 a.m., SJP announced in an Instagram story post that meals from food donations will be distributed to community members as requested. Those interested in being provided with meals were invited to fill out a Google Form available on SJP’s Instagram page. 

The effort was made to combat food waste and provide food support for community members.

Students continued forming human barricades later into the night. No arrests were made as of 10:47 a.m. on Wednesday. 

Beacon staff Merritt Hughes, DJ Mara, and Sam Shipman contributed to this report.

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About the Contributor
Hannah Nguyen
Hannah Nguyen, Editor-in-Chief
Hannah Nguyen (she/her) is a junior journalism major from North Wales, Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in publications like The Boston Globe, North Penn Now and AsAmNews. Outside of writing, she enjoys thrifting and painting her nails. (see: https://linktr.ee/hannahcnguyen)

Comments (1)

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  • M

    Mitchell / Apr 25, 2024 at 12:30 am

    Why is the Beacon engaging in self-censorship and obscuring the faces of the protesters? If the protesters are so proud and committed to their cause, why the need to hide their identity? Is the so-called independent press choosing sides?