Ellie Park, Photography Editor

On Tuesday morning, organizers of last week’s encampment posted on Instagram the text of what they say are their communications with Dean of Yale College Pericles Lewis on the night of Sunday, April 21. The News has obtained screenshots of the texts quoted by organizers, and previously reported on these negotiations, which fell apart on the 21st while over 250 protesters set up camp on Beinecke Plaza.

The screenshots show negotiations breaking down over the question of whether the University would disclose its investments, a demand protesters had been calling for throughout the encampment on Beinecke Plaza and that Yale did not meet. 

In a post on the Occupy Yale Instagram titled “RELEASING THE RECEIPTS” organizers wrote that they were publishing this information to “reaffirm our commitment to transparency.”

Unlike on Instagram, where organizers wrote their post as if it was a direct conversation between them and Lewis, all texts obtained by the News show organizers negotiating through a Yale administrator — who the News was not able to identify — who responded with Lewis’ messages.

The first screenshot, timestamped at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, shows Lewis offering a meeting with two trustees to five protesters if the organizers got the crowd to disband by 11:00 p.m. on Sunday and not erect other encampments. One of the trustees would have been Catherine Bond Hill GRD ’85, who chairs the Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility, which recommends investment policy to the Corporation.

According to the posts, the encampment organizers countered, asking Lewis for the University to disclose all of Yale’s investments. Currently, around 0.3 percent of Yale’s investments are publicly available. Organizers also asked for an “open, transparent and public” meeting with trustees and amnesty from all Yale disciplinary action for participating in the encampment. The organizers also told Lewis that while they could announce the terms of an agreement, they “cannot enforce” whether students would end the encampment.

Sometime between 8:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., Lewis responded with another offer, where administrators did not agree to disclose Yale’s investments, citing “a number of legal and contractual obligations.” Lewis again offered a “transparent” meeting but reiterated only five people could attend. He also offered amnesty from disciplinary action for all who had been protesting peacefully and left the plaza by midnight Sunday but included a caveat for a number of behaviors, including violence and harassment. 

Lewis wrote to the News on Sunday the 21st and Monday the 22nd, confirming most of the details of the negotiations, including his offer of a meeting with trustees and amnesty for peaceful protesters who left the plaza before midnight.

Organizers responded by reiterating their demand for Yale to disclose its investments, and Lewis again responded by offering a meeting with trustees on “the ethical principles” underlying Yale’s investment strategy, but did not agree to disclosure. 

Lewis also offered to give organizers annual reports from the investment office on asset allocations, which organizers confirmed were already publicly available. He wrote that this was the protesters’ “final opportunity” to end the encampment and that they needed to respond by 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 21. 

Organizers wrote in their Instagram post that after this message, negotiations continued in person from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. before breaking down. Organizers wrote that a request for multiple meetings with trustees was rejected, which the News could not independently verify.

“I am told that most students wanted to accept the trustee’s offer but some of the leaders felt it was better to have people arrested,” Lewis wrote to the News on the 21st. Organizers disputed the claim at the time, saying they had negotiated in good faith. 

On Monday, April 22, Yale police arrested 48 protesters, including 44 students, on Beinecke Plaza.

Last Tuesday, organizers of the original Occupy Beinecke coalition announced on Instagram that they were handing off leadership to a “broader coalition” of organizers who renamed the group Occupy Yale.

Sarah Cook contributed reporting.

Nathaniel Rosenberg is City Editor for the News. He previously served as Audience Editor, where he managed the News's newsletter content, covered cops and courts and housing and homelessness for the City Desk. Originally from Silver Spring, MD, he is a junior in Morse College majoring in history.