Axios Boston

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It's Friday. Get your green, black and gold gear ready for a playoffs-heavy weekend.

Today's weather: Sunny in the mid-50s.

ğŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to Axios Boston members Mary Curran and Mary Courtney O'Sullivan!

🏈 Situational awareness: The Patriots selected quarterback Drake Maye in the NFL draft last night.

  • Pats leadership said the North Carolina graduate can elevate his teammates.
  • Thus begins the Mayo/Maye era in Foxboro.

Today's newsletter is 857 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Campus protests escalate

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/Getty Images

Throngs of undergrads continued to erect encampments to protest the Gaza war after over 100 people were arrested at Emerson College early Thursday morning.

Why it matters: University administrators are juggling students' free speech rights with concerns from Jewish students and alumni that some demonstrations against Israel's war policies have crossed the line into antisemitism.

State of play: Four Boston police officers reported being hurt in the Emerson clash while clearing protestors camped out by Boston Common.

  • The encampment had been up since Sunday night.
  • Classes were canceled yesterday at Emerson.

Across the river in Harvard Yard, demonstrators set up a camp Wednesday to protest the suspension of a pro-Palestinian student group.

  • They want Harvard to end any investments in Israel.
  • Police have not stepped in to evacuate the camp, but Harvard Yard is currently off limits to the public.

Another encampment popped up at Northeastern University yesterday morning, with students huddling on tarps and in tents in what they're calling a "liberated zone" on Centennial Common.

Brandeis University, meanwhile, is inviting students seeking refuge from the anti-Israel climate on college campuses to transfer to the traditionally Jewish school by extending its transfer deadline to the end of May.

The big picture: U.S. colleges have become flashpoints for pro-Palestinian protests since the Israel-Hamas war began last October.

  • Colleges across the country broke up demonstrations this week, sparking First Amendment concerns.
  • "We are concerned that campuses and law enforcement nationwide are increasingly cracking down on political expression, rushing in police to arrest protestors and authorizing aggressive treatment," ACLU of Massachusetts executive director Carol Rose said in a statement.

What we're watching: Graduation day at area schools is approaching, and administrators will have to make a call about in-person or virtual ceremonies if the protests continue.

2. 🥅 Messi is coming

The Inter Miami forward during a match this month. Photo: Doug Murray/Getty Images.

Soccer superstar Lionel Messi's Inter Miami play the New England Revolution tomorrow night at 7:30pm in Foxborough at Gillette Stadium.

Why it matters: New England fans might get their first chance to see soccer's top player in action.

  • Messi's appearance could also set an attendance record for the Revs.

Over 60,000 tickets have already been sold for the 65,000-seat stadium.

The intrigue: Fans won't know if Messi is even playing until about an hour before the game starts.

  • Gillette's AstroTurf field poses greater injury risk for players, and sometimes top talent sits out games on turf.

You can watch from home with the MLS season pass from Apple TV+.

3. BTMU: Shots fired on I-93

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A road rage incident led to a gunshot hitting a truck on I-93 near Braintree Wednesday. (WCVB)

Most Massachusetts voters blame the president and Congress for the immigration crisis, not Gov. Maura Healey or the migrants themselves, according to a new Suffolk University poll. (Globe)

4. 🚉 Tracking the T

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The MBTA subway lines had a mixed week.

The Red and Orange lines met the baseline for expected service in the era of slow zones and ongoing repairs.

  • The Blue Line saw a spike in speed restrictions last week that carried over into delays this week, according to data analyzed by Transit Matters.

Grade: C

Animated series of red exclamation points in red circles over a red stripe that increase and decrease in size one after the other.
Graphic: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🚨 Alerts: Get ready for a Red Line nightmare starting Wednesday, when trains will shut down and be replaced by buses between Park Street and JFK/UMass through May 9.

  • Service between JFK/UMass and Ashmont will also be closed at 8:30pm each night Wednesday through May 9.
  • The Orange Line gets shut down between Forest Hills and Ruggles this weekend.
  • And the Blue Line is still shut down between Airport and Wonderland until Monday.

5. 📆 Weekender

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Friday

📚 Read My Lips, a woman- and disability-owned pop-up bookstore, heads to Lamplighter Brewing Co. in Cambridge, 6pm-9pm.

🍻 The Envoy Hotel in the Seaport hosts a rooftop social for locals in their 20s and 30s, 7:30pm-11:30pm.

Saturday

🐐 JetBlue will host a goat petting zoo on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in honor of the soccer GOAT, Lionel Messi, 10am-1:30pm.

  • Bad pun aside, the airline and Revs sponsor is offering prizes to visitors, including a pair of tickets to Saturday night's match against Inter Miami.

🥫 Challenge your taste buds and your sanity at Harpoon Brewery's Sauce Party. It'll be two days of hot sauce madness with a wing eating contest, spicy pizza eating contest, and more for just $10.

📚 Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day, when shops like the Harvard Bookstore, Brookline Booksmith, Porter Square Books and Trident Books run special promotions.

🇯🇵 The Japan Festival returns to Boston Common with a tea ceremony, origami making and cosplay-posing primer, 11am-5pm.

  • The festival also runs Sunday, 11am-5pm

Sunday

🌈 The Big Queer Food Fest, hosted by acclaimed chef Tiffani Faison, is bringing LGBTQ+ chefs and breweries to High Street Place for tastings and discussions, 5pm-8pm.

Price: $50.

Deehan wonders how many cheap tents from Amazon are being delivered to college dorms this week.

Steph will bring back the pizza guide on Monday.

This newsletter was edited by Kristen Hinman and copy edited by James Farrell.