LIVE UPDATES: Day 2 of Harvard Yard Encampment


Editor’s note: This page reflects the news from the pro-Palestine encampment in Harvard Yard on Thursday, April 25. For the latest news on the encampment, follow our updates for Friday, April 26.

Editor’s note, April 26, 2024: A portion of the live blog discussing an encounter between a counter-protester and a mother and young child at the Harvard Yard encampment has been removed based on additional reporting.

— Miles J. Herszenhorn, Managing Editor

— J. Sellers Hill, President



Yard Encampment Day 2

Yard Encampment Day 2

Harvard Yard Encampment Gif

Harvard Yard Encampment Gif

The encampment in Harvard Yard mounted by pro-Palestine student organizers entered its second day on Thursday, as dozens of activists bore the cold to sleep overnight in more than 30 tents pitched in front of the John Harvard statue.

Though Harvard officials remained mostly silent on Wednesday as organizers began the demonstration, it is unclear how much longer the University’s administration, led by interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76, can afford to lay low as students remain in the Yard.

Dean of Students Thomas Dunne publicly addressed the protests in an email to students on Thursday afternoon — the first College administrator to do so — warning protesters that the encampment violated Harvard’s rules against erecting tents or tables in the Yard, which has been closed to non-Harvard affiliates since Sunday.

“Interference with the academic mission or business functions of the University will not be tolerated,” Dunne wrote, adding that violations could lead to disciplinary action.

Just past 4 p.m., Dunne and other administrators arrived at the encampment, where they began photographing the Harvard IDs of demonstrators.

Organizers said Wednesday that they intend to remain in the encampment until Harvard meets their demands, which include the University disclosing and divesting from its institutional and financial ties to Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and the war in Gaza. Harvard has repeatedly rebuffed calls to boycott Israel.

Organizers also demanded that Harvard commit to dropping disciplinary measures against students engaged in pro-Palestine activism following the College’s decision to suspend the Palestine Solidarity Committee on Monday.

The encampment at Harvard comes amid a surge of similar demonstrations at college campuses nationwide, with many leading to widespread arrests of students. Though the demonstrations Wednesday remained peaceful, Garber said he would not rule out calling in police if campus protests threatened to become violent in a Monday interview.


The ongoing demonstration poses an unprecedented challenge for Garber, who remains under close scrutiny amid allegations of antisemitism on Harvard’s campus.

National ire has largely focused on Columbia University President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik, who has faced calls to resign over her handling of an encampment at Columbia resulting in the arrests of over 100 students last week. Still, Garber — who was subpoenaed by House Republicans in February amid the ongoing congressional investigation into Harvard — could easily be thrust back into congressional crosshairs for any perceived misstep.

Harvard spokesperson Jason A. Newton wrote that the University is “closely monitoring the situation and are prioritizing the safety and security of the campus community” in a Wednesday statement.

Lack of Overnight Police Presence — 2:51 a.m.

Most protesters are asleep in their tents, with only about a dozen still milling about as the temperature hovers a few degrees above freezing.

The Yard is now relatively empty of police presence, save one lone cruiser that briefly drives by the demonstration and another parked by the Science Center gate. No Harvard University Police presence is stationed immediately by the encampment — a sharp contrast from the around-the-clock visibility by law enforcement last night.

Sprinklers have begun going off in parts of Harvard Yard, as part of regularly scheduled nightly watering, though the main encampment has remained thus far unaffected.

As the water begins to subside, a handful of brightly vested protesters begin to pick up waste along the paths surrounding the encampment and on the steps to University Hall. Vested protesters resume their patrol around the encampment.

Protesters Begin Light Display — 9:40 p.m.

Organizers have set up a small light projector, which is projecting phrases onto the John Harvard statue and University Hall.

Phrases include “Free Gaza,” “Divest Harvard,” “Harvard Liberation Zone,” and “Gaza 4 eva.” Protesters cheer and clap as each phrase is projected.


HOOP Posts ‘Community Guidelines’ — 9:18 p.m.

HOOP announced guidelines for the encampment in an Instagram post Thursday evening.

The post outlines 15 guidelines that protesters participating in the encampment have “democratically decided to uphold,” citing safety reasons — including guidelines around protesting nonviolently, resolving conflicts, and speaking to authority figures via designated liaisons.

“We are committed to nonviolent direct action. We will not damage property or resist arrest,” the guidelines state.

“We will not engage with counter-protestors,” the guidelines further state.

Campers Prepare for Nightfall — 7:50 p.m.

As night falls and temperatures drop, organizers begin stringing tarps in between tents in the encampment, often stapling them to a rope hung between trees.

Organizers asked campers to move their tents if they want to and began getting supplies, including blankets, ready for the night. Temperatures are forecasted to drop to 34 degrees Fahrenheit at the lowest.

While organizers prepare the camp, they called protesters over to a mental health workshop in the Yard.

Sun Sets on Day 2 of Harvard Encampment — 6:35 p.m.

As the sun sets, the encampment looks like a celebration.

In another patch of grass near the camps, protesters began working on “liberation crafts”, including a large painting to observe the period of the counting of the Omer, a Jewish holiday of self reflection.

Organizers for the protest asked participants to imagine significant numbers — including those related to the death toll in Gaza and the money invested by Harvard into Israeli-tied organizations — and to paint that number in shapes and lines in the colors of Palestine, conveying the magnitude of the numbers.

Around the encampment, more students and faculty continue to join, bringing their children in strollers.

Pressley Urges ‘No Academic Repercussions’ for Pro-Palestine Protesters — 6:27 p.m.

In a statement issued Thursday evening, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) urged “university administrators to ensure that there are no academic repercussions for peaceful student protestors,” hours after administrators began photographing protester IDs in Harvard Yard and police confronted demonstrators across the Boston area.

“I am grateful to students nationwide and across the Massachusetts 7th — at Emerson, Northeastern, MIT, Tufts, Boston University, Harvard, and more — who are raising their voices,” Pressley wrote. “We cannot lose sight of the horrific injustices that Palestinians in Gaza are facing and I am proud to stand in solidarity with peaceful protestors.”

Pressley’s statement comes in the wake of uncertainty around ongoing protests. At Harvard, Dean of Students Tom Dunne warned that ongoing encampments could result in “disciplinary actions,” while students at Emerson, Yale, and Columbia have faced arrests.

‘Come Take Our IDs’ — 4:51 p.m.

Protesters began rallying near University Hall at the front of the encampment, following the arrival of administrators to check and photograph Harvard University IDs.

“You want to Ad Board us now? Come take our IDs,” one organizer shouted.

“The dean of students come on up. You can take all of our IDs,” they said.

Demonstrators rallied near University Hall, holding up their IDs in an act that appeared to mock the administrators that had just left the encampment.

“Thank you for coming out. We’ll be here all the fucking time,” another organizer shouted.


The chanting and brief rallying comes after a Thursday afternoon email hours before from Dunne, who warned of “disciplinary consequences” for protesters at the encampment.

Protesters then gathered for a group keffiyeh photo in front of the encampment, chanting “shut it down.”

More Harvard Faculty Members Arrive — 4:43 p.m.

More Harvard faculty members have arrived at the encampment, including Harvard Government professor Steven Levitsky, Harvard Chan School of Public Health Professor Mary Basset, and History professors Alison Frank Johnson, Vincent Brown, and Arunabh Ghosh.


Harvard Kennedy School Professor Khalil G. Muhammad — a HKS professor of history, race, and public policy — visited the encampment to see the protests for himself.

“Given the exaggerated and denigrating national remarks about student protests here at Harvard and elsewhere, I wanted to make sure that I could see for myself precisely the peaceful nature of the students who are protesting an unjust war happening in Gaza right now,” he said.

So far, he has found the student protests “inspiring.”

It is “inspiring to see young people standing up for their principles to participate in the oldest traditions that are at the heart of liberal democracy, which is the right of assembly and freedom of speech.” Muhammad said.

“This is exactly what we hope to encourage students when we ask them to be responsible stewards in the world we live in,” he added.

Following the abrupt arrival of administrators 20 minutes earlier, protesters continue to rally and chant with drums in the encampment.

City Hall Protest Canceled — 4:26 p.m.

A planned Thursday afternoon protest at Cambridge City Hall in support of pro-Palestinian encampments at universities in the Boston area was cancelled at the last minute, as organizers instructed supporters to move into Boston itself.

While an Instagram post by the Boston branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, a leftist group, originally instructed protesters to move to Northeastern, organizers at City Hall told those present to instead go to police precincts where students arrested at Emerson are being detained.

Still, approximately 30 protesters have congregated in front of Cambridge City Hall, where chants have started. Some protestors are also holding up signs facing cars on Mass. Ave.

“This wasn’t a wasted event. We saw the community support,” said Jean-Luc Pierite, a visiting scholar at MIT who helped direct those who arrived at City Hall. “The local situation is that the support has spread.”

“Everyone is willing to show up for Palestine,” he added.


Administrators Begin Photographing Harvard IDs — 4:10 p.m.

At least five Harvard administrators, including Dunne, arrived at the encampment Thursday afternoon and began checking and photographing participants’ Harvard University IDs.

Dunne, who spoke with two administrators and a security marshal, declined to comment on administrators’ presence at the encampment.

Shortly after, protesters began encircling the encampment site, chanting “Garber, Garber, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide” and “Shut it down” to drums.

The decision to take down students’ IDs is an indication that the College might proceed with disciplinary action against the students in camping out in Harvard Yard.

Press Denied Access To Harvard Yard — 3:55 p.m.

A handful of news reporters and photographers — including those from Al Jazeera, the National Press, the Middle East Forum, and Viory Video News Agency — have congregated outside the Johnston Gates after being denied entrance into Harvard Yard, which is only open to ID holders until Friday.

Several photographers were seen taking photos of the encampment through the bars of the gates, and reporters from publications interviewed HOOP’s media liaisons and Harvard affiliates outside. None of the three AJA interviews at Harvard were livestreamed, according to the AJA correspondent.

Dexter Van Zile, an editor for the Middle East Forum, said he was at Harvard both Wednesday and Thursday to “get a sense of what’s going on at the encampment.”

“While I am unhappy that I can’t get into Harvard Yard, I think the Corporation is fully within its rights to limit access to the property because they own the property,” he said.

Van Zile added that while he had not been able to talk to any protesters, he wanted to investigate where the funding for the encampment came from.

Security officers briefly opened the door to let a FedEx truck into the yard, clearing groups of dozens of tourists and reporters.

Palestine Teach-In Begins — 3:17 p.m.

An organizer on a megaphone announced the first official programming of the day, a “Palestine 101” teach-in in the Yard.

Around 30 protesters gathered for the teach-in — led by Nasir Almasri, a fellow at the Kennedy School and a PhD student at MIT — to the side of the encampment.

HKS Human Rights Caucus Demands PSC Reinstatement— 3:10 p.m.

The Human Rights Caucus at the Harvard Kennedy School called on Harvard to reinstate the Palestine Solidarity Committee in a statement posted to Medium on Thursday afternoon.

“The University’s decision fundamentally disregards its own purported commitment to freedom of speech,” the organization wrote. “We affirm student activists’ right to engage in civil disobedience.”

The Human Rights Caucus praised the PSC’s role in the ongoing encampment, writing that “their peaceful and principled activism in and around Harvard Yard is deserving of both praise and protection.”


The organization alleged that Harvard deliberately changed university rules to prevent “students from exercising their voice on Palestine,” and demanded that the University prevent police from “taking action” against protesters.

In a statement sent to Harvard affiliates Thursday, Dean of Students Thomas Dunne said that “disruption or interference that hinders members of our community from performing their normal duties” would lead to disciplinary consequences.

Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine Issue Statement in Solidarity With Harvard Encampment — 2:47 p.m.

Harvard Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine issued a statement Thursday afternoon detailing 30 faculty members’ participation and support of the encampment activities.

On Wednesday, Vijay Iyer, professor of Music and African and African American Studies, read a statement from HFSJP praising the encampment and alleging the University has attempted to “silence, punish, and threaten students, faculty, and staff who have dared to protest.”

Malak Rafla, assistant professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, also called on Harvard to disclose its investments and accompanied campers Wednesday night.

“Why won’t Harvard Management Company disclose its investments?” he said. “Why is there a double standard when it comes to protecting Palestinian lives?”

Jim Recht, a lecturer on psychiatry at HMS, said that “students are the teachers today.”

“Encampments across the country teach us how to hold power to account as University administrators and elected officials fail to follow the will of the public, to value all lives equally,” he added.

Dean Dunne Says Encampment Could Lead To ‘Disciplinary Consequences’ — 2:16 p.m.

Dean of Students Tom Dunne addressed the establishment of encampments on college campuses across the country, including in Harvard Yard, in an email to Harvard College affiliates Thursday afternoon.

“On our own campus, yesterday, a group of affiliates gathered in the Yard to protest and to set up tents,” Dunne wrote. “As posted on the gates to the Yard, erecting structures, tents, and tables without authorization is a violation of rules.”

Dunne also wrote that protests that interfere with “the academic mission or business functions of the University will not be tolerated.”

“Disruption or interference that hinder members of our community from performing their normal duties and activities will be regarded as an unacceptable obstruction of the essential processes of the University and will lead to disciplinary consequences as outlined in existing policies and procedures,” Dunne added.

Tents Move To Avoid Sprinklers — 1:05 p.m.

Protestors have begun moving tents to adjacent patches of grass closer to Harvard Hall for logistical reasons, presumably to avoid the sprinklers that sprayed the encampment last night. Volunteers arrived carrying additional tenting supplies and have begun to set up more tents in the two patches of grass now occupied by the encampment.

Meetings End and Chants Resume — 12:40 p.m.

Protestors dispersed from their meeting that began more than an hour ago. Protestors resumed pro-Palestinian chants shortly after.

Dean Khurana briefly stopped at the encampment to talk to organizers nearby before leaving the Yard through Johnston Gate.

Throughout the morning, several volunteers have stopped by to donate food and other supplies, including a folding table.

Morning Meetings — 11:14 a.m.


Around 11 a.m. in the morning, an organizer announced that the group would hold morning meetings to discuss the day ahead.

Protesters at the encampment briefly rallied in a small group for the first time since quiet hours — which lasted from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. last night — chanting “free, free Palestine,” and “from the river to the sea.”

They then gathered to discuss plans to move the tents away from the sprinklers. The sprinkler system in Harvard Yard went off intermittently early Thursday morning, and the Palestine Solidarity Committee said some tents had been flooded in an Instagram post Thursday. Organizers said an arts installation further down the Yard was not flooded overnight.

John Harvard Draped in Palestinian Flag — 10:32 a.m.

A protester climbed the John Harvard statue and laid a Palestinian flag across the statue to cheers from the encampment.


Breakfast Begins — 9:30 a.m.

Protesters have slowly begun to emerge from tents, conversing around a table laid with a breakfast spread, including Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and clementines. The encampment and Harvard Yard at large remain quiet as students head into the first day of Reading Period ahead of finals period.

Earlier, people were let into Harvard Yard to attend prayers at Memorial Church, even if they did not have a Harvard University ID, per multiple attendees. The University has restricted access to the Yard to only HUID holders since Sunday in anticipation of a protest or encampment like the one currently stationed before the John Harvard statue.

HUPD officers and maintenance staff at Massachusetts Hall — where several top University officials work — declined to comment on or said they did not know whether interim Harvard President Alan M. Garber ’76 was inside.


Supplies Replenished — 8:15 a.m.

Monitors on the next shift have arrived and traded off yellow and pink vests. They have been watching over the encampment all night, alongside multiple Harvard University Police cars.

Wake-ups across the encampment have been slow. More organizers from outside Harvard Yard have arrived on site with hot coffee and more Amazon packages of supplies in preparation for the day ahead.

Khurana Speaks With Organizers — 7:58 a.m.

As sunlight crept over more tents, Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana came out from his office in University Hall to walk the perimeter of the encampment.

Khurana, who also made an appearance earlier Thursday morning, has spoken with Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine organizers, Harvard police officers, and other University staff.

He declined to comment on whether the College was in talks with organizers about leaving Harvard Yard.

Raising the Flag — 7:07 a.m.


Outside University Hall, University facilities staff raised the American flag over a keffiyeh-draped John Harvard.

Protesters Begin to Wake — 6:35 a.m.

It’s been a quiet and cold night in the Yard. At least four Harvard University Police cars have spent the night patrolling. Gates to the Yard remain closed to non-affiliates. Protesters have abided by Dean of Students Thomas Dunne’s request to honor quiet hours from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

After the sunrise, the campus is seeing more signs of life. Harvard staff have begun arriving through Johnston Gate, and the first protesters to wake up have left their tents for the start of day two of the encampment.

—Staff writers Michelle N. Amponsah, Xinni (Sunshine) Chen, Sally E. Edwards, Elyse C. Goncalves, Miles J. Herszenhorn, S. Mac Healey, Matan H. Josephy, Joyce E. Kim, Cam E. Kettles, Asusa M. Lippit, William C. Mao, Madeline E. Proctor, Tilly R. Robinson, Emily T. Schwartz, Elias J. Schisgall, Dhruv T. Patel, Tilly R. Robinson, Saketh Sundar, Cam N. Srivastava, Aran Sonnad-Joshi, Claire Yuan, and Sheerea X. Yu contributed reporting.