Tulane University has denounced a rally that was held without the school’s permission or approval and developed into a serious brawl that ended with three students being assaulted.
Video of the incident shows police and what appears to be school administrators trying to calm the competing crowds of protesters, who at times come to blows. The pro-Palestinian protesters also carry banners that read, “From the River to the Sea Palestine Will Be Free,” which many have interpreted and understood to mean a call for the end of Israel’s existence as a state.
“This rally was not approved or sanctioned by Tulane,” the statement from University President Michael A. Fitts read. “There were approximately 40 plainclothes and uniformed New Orleans, Tulane, Loyola and State Police officers, including mounted police, who made arrests.”
Fitts called the protest “deeply distressing” as the protest “intentionally” took place on a public sidewalk outside the university, over which the school has no jurisdiction. He also insisted that “many” of the protesters at the rally were not affiliated with Tulane.
“Everyone who committed an illegal act on this day will be held accountable for their actions,” Fitts promised.
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“Tulane has always found strength in our unity,” he continued. “We must now lean on our common humanity and the Tulane spirit to find a path forward during these challenging times. Symbols and acts of hatred, anti-Semitism, deliberate provocation and preying upon the fears of others are not part of who we are.”
The university also arrested a suspect in connection with anti-Semitic vandalism to a building near the campus, and the school expects that more arrests could occur as a result of an investigation into the protest, which includes a review of video evidence.
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Fitts insisted that the campus itself remains secure – a growing concern over the past two weeks as universities across the country continue to see massive demonstrations in support of the Palestinian people mixed in with antisemitic incidents.
“To be clear: We condemn and are outraged by today’s violence and the hateful language and rhetoric we heard,” Fitts wrote, noting that the protests had started peacefully before devolving into “a dark day for our community.”
The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) national chapter celebrated the October 7 attack as “a historic win for Palestinian resistance” and urged chapters across the country to take action.
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The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law urged colleges to investigate their SJP chapters, accusing the groups of “glorifying terrorism.”
Jewish students at New York City’s Cooper Union, a private college on the edge of the East Village, locked the doors of the school’s library, where they were studying as pro-Palestinian protesters banged on the door and shouted, “Free Palestine!”
New York city police claimed Thursday that they found “no direct threat” to the Jewish students and downplayed the severity of the disruption, saying that they had found “no damage” either, but the NYPD agreed to keep uniformed officers on the campus for the day following the incident.
At George Washington University, a student projected messages on the wall of the school library claiming that “tuition is funding genocide in Gaza” and declaring, “Glory to our martyrs.” A Jewish student on campus told “The Ingraham Angle” that she is “not surprised” to see such messages on campus, calling it “absolute antisemitism.”
Fox News Digital’s Greg Wehner and Bailee Hill contributed to this report.
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