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

Students occupy 2B alley, demand college to divest from Israel and call for ceasefire in Gaza

The rally is also an act of solidarity for the 108 individuals arrested at Columbia University on Thursday.
Students+occupy+2B+alley+at+Emerson+College+in+tent+encampment
Hannah Nguyen
Students set up six tents in the 2B alleyway on Sunday in an effort to occupy the space until the college responds to Emerson College Students’ Union’s and Emerson Students for Justice in Palestine’s seven proposals. (Hannah Nguyen/Beacon Staff)

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

Updated on April 22 at 12:09 a.m.

Nearly 100 pro-Palestine protesters gathered Sunday evening to set up tents in the 2 Boylston alleyway, committing to occupy the space until the college responds to Emerson College Students’ Union’s and Emerson Students for Justice in Palestine’s seven proposals.

Most prominently, the students were calling for the college to respond to the specific proposals demanding the college to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and to “disclose all financial ties to Zionist entities and to divest entirely from said entities,” according to an SJP Instagram post.

The encampments came after the pro-Palestine protest encampments at Columbia University on Thursday, where more than 100 students were arrested by New York police. Columbia students have continued to protest days after the arrests. Students who came to protest in the 2B alleyway were standing in solidarity with the Columbia students who were arrested and to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, in addition to their demands for the college.

Encampments across Boston have also been developing in addition to the one at Emerson, including at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University.

At 11:46 p.m, nearly six hours after the encampments began, President Jay Bernhardt released a statement to the Emerson community regarding the protest.

“Boylston Place Alley is not solely owned by Emerson College, has a public right-of-way requirement to access non-Emerson buildings, including the State Transportation Center, and is a fire alley that is under the jurisdiction of the Boston Police Department,” the email said.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m., students came together in the alleyway to discuss the March 22 arrests where 13 students were arrested during a pro-Palestine protest outside President Jay Bernhardt’s inauguration ceremony in the Cutler Majestic Theatre and Bernhardt’s meeting on April 16 with the 12 Emerson students who were arrested.

During chants and speeches, students then began setting up tents and distributing food, water, and blankets to prepare for the campout.

Boston Police Department arrived at the scene at the beginning of the encampments, where several Emerson College Police Department officers stood outside the alleyway. While BPD parked a van outside the alleyway for possible arrests, no immediate arrests were made. It is currently unknown if the college or a third-party called BPD.

“Emerson officials are on site and are working with the Boston Police Department to closely monitor the situation, ensure safe passage through the alley, maintain campus operations, and support all members of the Emerson community,” the college said in the email statement.

Ahead of the protest, students set aside bail money in anticipation of possible arrests.

Around 8:30 p.m., students then created barricades in front of the alleyway arches and by the 2B residence building and the dining hall.

At around 9 p.m., students began writing messages like “Free Gaza,” “Divest Now,” and “We Keep Us Safe” with chalk throughout the alleyway.

At around 11 p.m., students actively began preparing for potential arrests as a result of alleged noise complaints by sharing a lawyer’s contact information and informing students on how to respond to police if arrests were to occur. No arrests have been made as of 11:51 p.m.

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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)

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