Updated May 14, 2024 - News

Harvard pro-Palestinian protesters voluntarily dismantle encampment

Harvard Medical School faculty member, Dr. Lara Jirmanus speaks for the Harvard Out of Palestine coalition which held a press conference outside Harvard Yard.

Harvard Medical School faculty member, Dr. Lara Jirmanus speaks for the Harvard Out of Palestine coalition which held a press conference outside Harvard Yard. Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The last Boston-area pro-Palestinian encampment came down Tuesday in Harvard Yard.

Why it matters: Unlike the other tents at nearby colleges, the Harvard encampment ended without a raid or arrests — just a resolve to continue protesting in other ways.

Catch up fast: The Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine (HOOP) coalition Tuesday announced it would end its encampment after nearly three weeks.

  • The group said in a statement "the utility of this tactic has passed, and we have decided to regroup and carry out this protracted struggle through other means."

Between the lines: The end of the spring semester was always considered an unofficial deadline that would reveal whether the protests would outlast finals and commencement and whether college officials would yield to demands to cut financial and research ties to the Israeli government.

State of play: HOOP organizers and university president Alan Garber negotiated a peaceful end to the protests on a few conditions.

  • The administration agreed to retract suspensions and hold meetings with organizers about disclosure and divestments, per HOOP's statement.
  • The administration agreed to start reinstating at least 22 students from involuntary leaves of absence, the Harvard Crimson reported.
  • Harvard agreed to expedite administrative board cases for more than 60 students facing charges for participating in the encampment with "precedents of leniency for similar actions in the past," per the Crimson.

What they're saying: "There will continue to be deep disagreements and strongly felt emotions as we experience pain and distress over events in the wider world," Garber wrote, per an email sent Tuesday.

  • "Now more than ever, it is crucial to do what we do at our best, creating conditions for true dialogue, modeling ways to build understanding, empathy, and trust, and pursuing constructive change anchored in the rights and responsibilities we share."

The group Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine called the agreement a victory for the student protesters.

  • "They have demonstrated how to hold our University accountable to the people who make it run," the group wrote in a statement.
  • "Yet their victory is bittersweet, as our tax and endowment dollars continue to fund genocide in Gaza."
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Boston.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Boston stories

No stories could be found

Bostonpostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Boston.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more