Protest this afternoon
November 11, 2023
Dear Brandeis Community,
This afternoon, a protest occurred on Brandeis’ campus. Brandeis has made it clear that language that is intended to threaten or harass is a violation of campus policy, and that we will not allow individuals who are not affiliated with Brandeis to congregate on campus so we may focus our resources on making sure that our students, faculty, and staff can assemble together safely. The demonstration proceeded without interruption until protesters - including individuals unaffiliated with Brandeis - began using threatening language that has been explicitly described as hate speech; including “From the river to the sea” and “intifada, intifada.” After that occurred, an administrator warned the speakers that if they continued to use that language the demonstration would be dispersed. These chants continued.
As a result, University police made four announcements that the demonstrators needed to leave. Demonstrators did not disperse, and a speaker urged them to remain. As some protesters refused to leave, six individuals were arrested. Criminal charges include assault and battery on a police officer, disorderly conduct, and trespassing. A seventh individual was arrested for trespassing earlier in the afternoon.
We are a university dedicated to ensuring free speech as outlined in Brandeis’ Principles of Free Speech and Free Expression, which states that the university “may restrict expression… that constitutes a genuine threat or harassment.” To promote such free exchange, we must not and do not condone hate, the incitement of violence, threats or harassment.
We know that this is a tense, complicated, and stressful time at Brandeis and colleges across the country. We support open dialogue about the difficult issues involved in the war between Israel and Hamas. But today’s demonstration did not encourage thoughtful dialogue - instead it created an atmosphere of intimidation, which is antithetical to a learning environment. In the days to come, we will be sharing opportunities for our community members to reflect and engage respectfully with one another.
Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
Vice President for Student Affairs