Pro-Palestine protesters erect new encampment on Cross Campus



Samad Hakani, Photography Editor

On Sunday afternoon, following a pro-Palestine rally that saw around 1,000 protesters marching through downtown New Haven and the Yale campus, around 250 pro-divestment protesters set up a new encampment with around 40 tents on Cross Campus. 

It is the second encampment to appear on campus in just over a week, following a three-night encampment on Beinecke Plaza that ended with the arrest of 44 student protesters and a nine-hour blockage of the intersection of College and Grove streets on April 22. 

The encampment, which protesters called a “liberated zone,” was erected at 3:30 p.m., with protesters blocking off the western and eastern ends of Cross Campus while others set up tents on the lawn. According to Yale Police Chief Anthony Campbell, this violated University policies regarding the use of outdoor spaces, postering and chalking, the use of amplified sound and the recently created policy on the placement of structures on campus spaces.

Organizers announced a set of community guidelines that all individuals within the zone must follow, including “being committed to Palestinian liberation and fighting for freedom for all oppressed people,” as well as a zero-tolerance policy for any form of discrimination in the space. 

Throughout the day, marshals at designated entrances to the encampment asked pedestrians if they agreed to the community guidelines before allowing them to pass through Cross Campus. Pedestrians who did not agree to the guidelines were turned away. 

In an email obtained by the News, a University spokesperson wrote that, “Since the protests began, the University and the Yale Police Department have worked to reduce the likelihood of confrontations and arrests.”

Earlier on Sunday, Campbell told the News that he doubted YPD officers would make arrests on Sunday night. As of 1:08 a.m. on Monday, no arrests have been made in relation to the encampment on Cross Campus.

Yale College Dean Pericles Lewis, in a letter he delivered in person to protest marshals, wrote that, “Students who continue to occupy Cross Campus without regard for University policies risk University discipline and arrest or re-arrest.” Lewis added that University “discipline could include suspension.”

In the letter, Lewis characterized the encampment as “the exclusion of students from using parts of Cross Campus, a public space, unless they declare political agreement with the protesters.” 

Just after midnight, protesters moved the tents to the perimeter of the Cross Campus lawn out of consideration for “long-term sustainability,” as one organizer announced over a megaphone. The pedestrian walkways leading to Sterling Memorial Library and College Street are now clear. 

The divestment protests and encampments at Yale echo growing numbers of protests on university campuses nationwide calling for disclosure of and divestment from holdings in military weapons manufacturing in relation to Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. 

Sunday’s new encampment is also a continuation of a week of smaller-scale protests on Cross Campus following a transition in protesters’ leadership, in which protesters have continued to gather during the day and stay overnight on the lawn. 

— Yolanda Wang, Staff Reporter

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12:20 a.m.:

“We are going to move the tents a little bit, just thinking about long-term sustainability,” an organizer announced over a megaphone. 

Protesters are now rearranging the tents into a ring on the perimeter of the Cross Campus lawn, clearing the walkways leading to Sterling Memorial Library. About 60 people remain outside on the lawn, though there may be more inside tents.

— Yolanda Wang, Staff Reporter

9:47 p.m.:

Protesters have begun to sit in a circle on Cross Campus.  The protesters are chanting “Up up with liberation, down down with occupation” and “down, down with genocide, free, free, free Palestine.” 

An organizer, who spoke through a megaphone, reiterated the community guidelines to be in the “liberated zone.” Some of the students who were arrested on Monday, April 22, also spoke condemning the University’s response to the protests.

— Adam Walker, University Editor  

8:43 p.m.:

At 8:35 p.m., Yale College Dean Pericles Lewis personally handed a letter to student marshals requesting that protesters abide by the University’s policies regarding the use of campus spaces.

“Students who continue to occupy Cross Campus without regard for university policies risk University discipline and arrest or re-arrest,” Lewis wrote in the letter that the News obtained. “Discipline could include suspension.”

Lewis wrote to protesters that their demonstration “impedes” the ability of other students to study for finals. He also referred to concerns from students over “chants” and “the exclusion of students from using parts of Cross Campus, a public space, unless they declare political agreement with the protesters.”

— Yolanda Wang, Staff Reporter, and Adam Walker, University Editor 

8:35 p.m.:

Protesters with Wesleyan University’s Students for Justice in Palestine set up an encampment at Wesleyan at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Wesleyan affiliates attended the mass protest in downtown New Haven earlier this afternoon. The protest, organized by the Connecticut Palestine Solidarity Coalition, rallied about 1,000 protesters.

Pro-Palestine protesters have mounted several encampments, both long- and short-lived, in universities across the country, including at the University of North Carolina, Columbia University and Florida State University

— Laura Ospina, City Editor

8:09 p.m.:

Rabbi Jason Rubenstein, Jewish Chaplain at Yale, and Uri Cohen, executive director of the Slifka Center, denounced the “liberated zone” on Cross Campus in an email message to members of the Jewish community at Yale. The email criticized the encampment for allegedly closing off access to pedestrians who do not “share their political views.” 

Protesters’ community guidelines include committing to “Palestinian liberation and fighting for freedom for all oppressed people” and a no-tolerance policy for any forms of discrimination, including anti-semitism, Islamophobia and racism. 

A protest marshal, who requested anonymity for safety concerns, said that if pedestrians chose not to support the community guidelines, marshals offered to escort them to the other side of Cross Campus. The News witnessed at least two of these escorts. 

“All of us together are confronting the shocking reality that a group of Yale students has declared the center of Yale off-limits to those who do not share their political views – particularly since their intent and effect is to rid parts of Yale of Zionist Jews, among others,” wrote Rubenstein and Cohen. “This is, and ought to be, a concern for every member of our community, regardless of politics or theology regarding Israel or the current war.”

Rubenstein and Cohen wrote that they had shared their criticisms of the occupied zone with the administration and encouraged members of the Jewish community to gather at Slifka Center this evening and in the coming days. 

– Laura Ospina, City Editor

7:59 p.m.:

A Yale Public Safety drone resumed flying over Grace Hopper College, close to the encampment. The drone has been airborne for at least 22 minutes. A Yale Public Safety officer confirmed that the drone belonged to Public Safety and attributed the earlier landing of the drone to a battery recharge. 

— Laura Ospina, City Editor, and Yolanda Wang, Staff Reporter

7:37 p.m.:

Yale’s chapter of Faculty for Justice in Palestine wrote a letter addressed to Yale President Peter Salovey, Provost Scott Strobel, Dean of Yale College Pericles Lewis, and Vice President for University Life Kimberly Goff-Crews in support of student protesters who built an encampment on Cross Campus. The letter urges Yale administrators to “meet the students’ demands and take a leadership position in the inevitable divestment from genocide.” 

The letter also asks administrators to “commit to amnesty for all students exercising their right to protest.” The authors “implore Yale administrators not to repeat the mistakes of … other university presidents who believe that having their students arrested and punished produces more ‘safety’ than divesting from weapons manufacturers.” 

— Asuka Koda, Staff Reporter, and Adam Walker, University Editor 

6:41 p.m.:

“Students who continue to occupy Cross Campus risk university discipline, including suspension, and arrest or re-arrest,” Dean of Yale College Pericles Lewis wrote to the News. 

— Yurii Stasiuk, Print Managing Editor, and Sarah Cook, University Editor 

6:31 p.m.:

Chisato Kimura LAW ’25, a protester, told the News that protesters occupied Cross Campus to “call attention to the genocide in Gaza” and “call for Yale to divest from genocide.”

When the News asked Kimura whether any protesters intended to be arrested, Kimura said that any decisions to arrest protesters would be on the part of Yale administrators.

“As the Yale [Police Department] has made clear, it’s in Yale’s hands,” Kimura said. “Yale administration can decide what they’re going to do, if they’re going to listen to the students and community members who are calling for Yale to divest. It’s all up to the administration whether or not they want to come to the table in good faith and disclose.”

— Yolanda Wang, Staff Reporter

6:28 p.m.:

Yale Police Chief Campbell, after meeting with Yale administrators whom he did not name, told the News that he doubts his officers will make arrests tonight. 

Campbell said that Yale “higher-ups” plan to meet later today and tomorrow in order to decide what to do next. According to him, the University will send out an all-school email clarifying the rules about tents, banners, the blocking of paths and amplification devices, “all of which are being violated right now,” he said.

— Khuan-Yu Hall, City Editor

6:21 p.m.:

A protester with a megaphone encouraged the crowd to sleep overnight on Cross Campus and to come speak to them if they planned to spend the night. They offered blankets, masks and pillows to protesters. 

— Laura Ospina, City Editor

6:15 p.m.:

Yale Security guards are stationed at the Phelps Gate and Harkness Tower Gate entrances to Old Campus. A security guard at Phelps Gate told the News that they were stationed there because of the ongoing protest on Cross Campus and “to make sure that they don’t set up tents here.”

Jane Park, Arts Editor

6:04 p.m.:

A drone had been flying over Grace Hopper College, close to the encampment on Cross Campus, for about 15 minutes. A Yale Public Safety officer confirmed to the News that the drone belongs to Public Safety. 

As of 6:04 p.m., the Public Safety officers have landed the drone between 451 College St. and Leigh Hall, where at least four officers are stationed.

— Yolanda Wang, Staff Reporter

5:49 p.m.:

A student leader announced that protestors plan to build an olive tree, and invited attendees to join in the construction of the tree. A bundle of large sticks and cardboard is located in the center of the “liberated zone.” 

Protesters have begun to chalk the sidewalks of Cross Campus with messages such as “FREE GAZA” and “DIVEST YALE.”

— Natasha Khazzam, Investigations Editor, and Laura Ospina, City Editor

5:44 p.m.:

Limited foot traffic through Cross Campus has resumed. Marshals at either side of the zone ask pedestrians if they agree to the “community guidelines of the liberated zone” before granting them entrance into the space.

“Anyone who agrees to the community guidelines, which are that we’re committed to Palestinian liberation and fighting for freedom for all oppressed people and that we’re occupying the space to push for Yale to disclose, divest and reinvest in the New Haven community,” Chisato Kimura LAW ’25, a protester, told the News. “Anyone who agrees to those terms is welcome to pass through, to be here, to enter.”

Kimura reiterated other guidelines such as a zero-tolerance policy for any form of discrimination in the zone.

Previously, no pedestrians were able to pass through Cross Campus due to the line of protesters that has since disbanded. 

— Laura Ospina, City Editor, and Yolanda Wang, Staff Reporter

5:40 p.m.: 

There are currently seven Yale Police officers and three cars stationed on the Rose Walk. Police officers were stationed near the entrances to Beinecke Plaza since the initial encampment was removed on April 22.

There are also three Yale security officers stationed on the WLH side of Cross Campus.

— Nora Moses, Staff Reporter

5:19 p.m.:

Supporters previously sitting in a line protecting the tents are now moving within the zone and gathering on Cross Campus. Music plays as people picnic and chat on the lawn.

– Laura Ospina, City Editor

5:12 p.m.:

Organizers invited people on both sides of Cross Campus to enter the “liberated zone.” Before protesters could enter the lawn, organizers announced community guidelines that included being “committed to Palestinian liberation and fighting for freedom for all oppressed people.”

“We are occupying this space to push Yale to disclose, divest and reinvest in the New Haven community,” the organizer on the Sterling side said. 

Other guidelines include “taking care of this space, which includes keeping it clean,” “taking care of ourselves and each other” and “not tolerating any form of discrimination, including anti-semitism, Islamophobia, transphobia, homophobia or racism.”  

After reading out the guidelines with protesters repeating, the organizer asked the crowd if they could “agree to joining us in these agreements.” The group shouted yes and cheered in agreement. 

Protesters proceeded to walk onto the Cross Campus lawn. 

—Lily Belle Poling and Nora Moses, Staff Reporters, and Adam Walker, University Editor

5:03 p.m.:

An organizer on the Sterling side of Cross Campus led the protesters in singing the Bob Marley song, “Three Little Birds.” Another organizer then led protesters in a call and response of “If I Had a Hammer” by Pete Seeger. 

—Lily Belle Poling, Staff Reporter

4:59 p.m.:

Four protesters are painting a sign that reads “GLOBALIZE THE INTIFADA” inside the “liberated zone.” At least two others are writing signs with messages such as “JAIL SUPPORT,” indicating where protesters can receive support from organizers and marshals in the event that they are arrested.

Aly Moosa ’25, a protester, told the News that organizers currently do not have a list of sanctioned chants or messages. During last week’s protests under previous leadership, organizers provided the News with a list of sanctioned messaging. 

Moosa emphasized that organizers are currently seeking to “center Palestinian voices,” including New Haven community members, and promote free expression within the zone.

“We want community members to be part of this liberated zone, and we’re going to invite them to come in after reading a set of community guidelines that we’re all abiding by,” Moosa said.

— Yolanda Wang, Staff Reporter, and Laura Ospina, City Editor

4:59 p.m.:

Right before heading into a meeting with Yale senior leadership, who will decide how to proceed with the protest, Campbell told the News that he is “realistically, looking for something like the response on Friday. We are always focused on safety.”

When protesters erected the encampment on Beinecke Plaza on Friday, a number of police officers gathered around it but did not make any arrests. After failed negotiations between the University administrators and protest organizers over the weekend, Yale Police cleared the Beinecke encampment Monday morning and arrested 48 protesters. 

— Khuan-Yu Hall, City Editor

4:58 p.m.:

Three News reporters remain on Cross Campus, but three others have left and are reporting from the side of the protest. A reporter from the New Haven Independent has also left the area between the tents, which marshals are calling a “liberated zone.” 

Organizers previously asked reporters to leave the encampment because they wanted to “make sure everyone is here because they believe in divestment and they believe in Palestinian liberation,” an organizer who requested anonymity due to safety concerns told the News.

The News will continue to cover the events inside and around Cross Campus.

— Nathaniel Rosenberg, City Editor

4:50 p.m.:

A protester who earlier tied a small flag to the top of the north Cross Campus Bass entrance has taken it down and is now tying a larger flag there.

Khuan-Yu Hall, City Editor

4:47 p.m.:

On the two sides of Cross Campus, next to Grace Hopper College and Sterling Memorial Library, rows of protesters are sitting in front of the lawn’s tents. 

Protesters are chanting, “Ain’t no power like the power of the people because the power of the people don’t stop.” An organizer encouraged the crowd to “make enough noise” so that administrators at their office on Grove and Temple could hear them chanting “disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest.”

— Lily Belle Poling, Staff Reporter

4:41 p.m.:

Protesters have started to string up banners from two lamps at the sides of Cross Campus. Messages such as “YALE, reinvest in NEW HAVEN” and “JEWS FOR CEASEFIRE” are painted on the banners.

A protester has climbed on top of the north entrance of Bass Library. He is tying a large Palestinian flag to the roof of the entrance.

— Yolanda Wang, Staff Reporter

4:25 p.m.:

A marshal, who asked to remain anonymous out of safety concerns, has requested that all reporters from the News leave the “liberated zone.” 

“We want to make sure everyone is [in the liberated zone] because they believe in divestment, and they believe in Palestinian liberation,” the marshal said. “We want to make sure everyone here feels safe and supported and that can only happen if all of the people inside are participants.”

A reporter from the New Haven Independent was also asked to leave. 

— Yolanda Wang, Staff Reporters, and Laura Ospina and Nathaniel Rosenberg, City Editors

4:17 p.m. 

At least 250 protesters gathered between Grace Hopper College and William L. Harkness Hall are singing, “We shall not be moved.”

A Palestinian flag hangs from the north entrance to Bass Library. 

— Lily Belle Poling, Staff Reporter, and Laura Ospina, City Editor

4:02 p.m.:

Yale Police Chief Anthony Campbell is currently spectating the protests near the north entrance of Bass Library. Campbell told the News that he did not know whether there would be arrests and that any decision to arrest would come from “senior leadership” at the University, but did not specify which administrators. 

Campbell added that he currently did not see any violence that would provoke immediate arrest.

“Our plans for now are to just sit tight,” Campbell said.

There are currently around 12 Yale Police officers around Alexander Walk. There are no New Haven Police officers on campus at this moment.

— Nathaniel Rosenberg, City Editor, and Yolanda Wang, Staff Reporter

3:57 p.m.:

Marshals have begun to pass out water bottles to protesters. Other protesters are currently moving pillows, sleeping bags and other overnight supplies into the tents. Protesters in the lines blocking off Cross Campus have sat down.

Organizers are chanting slogans such as, “From the belly of the beast, hands off the Middle East,” and, “Biden, Biden, you can’t hide, you’re committing genocide,” while others play along on drums. 

— Yolanda Wang, Staff Reporter

3:30 p.m.:

At around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, immediately following a large pro-Palestine rally that marched through downtown New Haven and Yale, around 250 pro-divestment protesters began to pitch an encampment of about 40 tents on the Cross Campus green. 

Other protesters locked arms and formed lines at the upper and lower ends of the lawn, blocking the entrance to the green. 

The encampment is part of continued protests on Cross Campus and comes almost a week after a previous encampment on Beinecke Plaza, erected on Friday, April 19, was cleared by Yale Police on Monday. Then, YPD also arrested 44 students for trespassing.

Earlier this afternoon, the Connecticut Palestine Solidarity Coalition rallied about 1,000 protesters in support of an end to the siege of Gaza, U.S. divestment from military funds to Israel and an end to “repression” of student protests nationwide. Chanting “ceasefire now” and, “Biden, Biden, how many kids did you kill today?” the protesters marched through the streets of New Haven, blocking off traffic. 

Kelsey Harrison, a graduate student from Columbia University who spoke at the rally, said she was one of the more than 100 protesters arrested by New York Police on April 18. She denounced the criminalization of student activists across the country. Affiliates from at least 10 universities — including Yale, the University of Connecticut, Southern Connecticut State University and Columbia — attended the protest. 

— Yolanda Wang and Lily Belle Poling, Staff Reporters, and Laura Ospina, City Editor

Update, 8:00 p.m.: This article has been updated to remove specific identifiers of protesters for security reasons.


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