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May 6, 2024

The American Association of University Professors condemned the militaristic response to student activism.

The recent raid on pro-Palestinian encampments on U.S. college campuses and arrests of over 2,400 students by police have drawn sharp criticism from various sides in the United States.

"We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the heavy-handed, militaristic response to student activism that we are seeing across the country," said a recent statement by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

Too many cowardly university leaders are responding to largely peaceful, outdoor protests by inviting law enforcement in riot gear to campus and condoning violent arrests, said the statement, which was signed by over 50 chapters at various universities

According to the latest tally by The Associated Press, over 2,400 protesters have been arrested since April 17 on over 45 U.S. campuses nationwide.

The Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), an academic publication, said it is "horrified and angered to learn of the assault and arrests," noting that "police violence against peaceful protesters on college campuses has become an alarming trend in the last two weeks."

"We denounce police brutality and the militarization of campuses sanctioned by institutional leaders," said MERIP in a recent statement.

In particular, the police in New York City have made over 450 arrests of pro-Palestinian protesters on college campuses since April 17.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who is seen as the face of the crackdown on student protests, defended the arrests by stressing the role of outside agitators and the need to end the threat to academic life.

"We condemn the use of militarized police force against students in the strongest possible terms and affirm their right to assemble peacefully," said Ana Maria Archila, a director of the New York Working Families Party, in a recent post on social media.

The text reads, "Increasingly professors are subject to violence that differs very little from what the State is applying on students. I think we must realize that our lot is solidarity with students," Danielle Carr, UCLA professor.

"This is a shameful day in our city's history, and one that will not be forgotten," said Archila, referring to the crackdowns on students at Columbia University and City College of New York protesting the mass killing in Gaza.

There are no outside agitators in the fight against injustice and everybody with a conscience and a heart for the people has a right and a responsibility to join the fight and to stop injustice, said Carl Dix, a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, in a rally on Saturday.

These recent interferences and threats are part of an ongoing partisan, political attack intended to dismantle U.S. higher education and make its institutions beholden only to corporate, political and private interests, warned the AAUP's statement.

The AAUP called on institutional leaders to reinstate student organizations shut down in recent months for political activity, drop charges against peaceful protesters, keep armed law enforcement off campuses, and uphold fundamental freedoms for students and faculty.

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