Alyssa Chang, Contributing Photographer

As protesters demanding that Yale divest from military weapons manufacturers continue to camp on Beinecke Plaza, University President Peter Salovey sent an email to Yale community members on Sunday afternoon stressing that Yale will pursue disciplinary action “according to its policies” in response to student violations of campus safety policies.

The email specified that setting up structures, ignoring instructions of university officials and remaining in campus spaces past open hours — which, for Sundays, conclude on the Plaza at 11 p.m., according to the Yale College Undergraduate Regulations — are among the punishable offenses. The message marks the first time that Salovey has spoken publicly on the protests.

Organizers of the encampment posted a response to Salovey’s email on Instagram, writing “DISCLOSE YALE’S INVESTMENTS IN MILITARY WEAPONS MANUFACTURERS & THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES MUST HAVE A PUBLIC, OPEN, AND TRANSPARENT MEETING WITH STUDENTS”

Salovey last made a statement about Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza on Dec. 7, 2023 — nearly five months ago. The message — titled “Against Hatred” — outlined new campus safety, free expression and community support initiatives. 

On April 14, the University issued an unsigned statement acknowledging the ongoing student hunger strike, noting that police were investigating a threatening statement made at a hunger strike event and supporting the “right to peaceful protest.” On April 17, Vice President for University Life Kimberly Goff-Crews sent an email to students describing Yale’s policies on free expression and on how to request and use outdoor spaces on campus.

Last night, Hannah Peck, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, and Andrew Forsyth, Associate Dean and Chief of Staff, told protesters through a megaphone that they had until 11:30 p.m. to remove their belongings and vacate the Plaza or risk being subjected to disciplinary action. 

Salovey wrote in Sunday’s email that although many students have been protesting and counter-protesting peacefully, there have been accounts of aggressive behavior such as intimidation, harassment and the removal of the American flag from Beinecke Plaza’s flagpole. The Yale Police Department is investigating these reports, Salovey added.

“I think it is important for folks to understand that Dean Peck was offering students a chance to leave without any discipline,” Yale College Dean Pericles Lewis wrote to the News. “Unfortunately they did not take that opportunity and now we have received complaints of more serious infractions, which we are investigating.”

Encampment organizers and Chief of Yale Police & Associate Director of Public Safety Anthony Campbell ’95 DIV ’09 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Salovey acknowledged in his email the strong dissent aimed toward Yale’s Wednesday announcement that the University would not divest from military weapons manufacturers. He encouraged community members who disagree with the decision to write to the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility — a group of students, alumni, faculty and staff tasked with recommending investment-related policy to Yale’s Board of Trustees — and to attend the committee’s open meetings, noting that “there are available pathways to continue this discussion with openness and civility.”

In the email — titled “Our commitment to campus safety, peaceful assembly, and civil discourse” — Salovey emphasized the University’s support for free speech but wrote that the administration is also “focused intently on campus safety and maintaining university operations.”

At Columbia University, where a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” has sat on the University’s South Lawn for five days, around 100 pro-Palestine student protestors were arrested on Thursday and later suspended.

Sarah Cook and Nathaniel Rosenberg contributed reporting.

This is a developing story that the News will continue to cover.

JOSIE REICH
Josie Reich covers Admissions, Financial Aid & Alumni for the News. Originally from Washington, DC, she is a sophomore in Davenport College majoring in American Studies.