Arrested students led a group advocating ‘anticapitalist’ policies, condemning Israel as ‘apartheid state’
Two Dartmouth student protestors arrested during a sit-in on school property in October have been charged with criminal misdemeanor counts of trespassing.
Undergraduates Roan Wade and Kevin Engel told The Dartmouth, the school’s student newspaper, that they are not guilty and intend to fight the charges, the paper reported Friday.
Wade told the paper there has been an “unprecedented crackdown on student activism” related to the Israel-Hamas war and climate activism.
“Not only do we have the right to protest … we also have a right to that space [as Dartmouth students],” Engel told the paper.
Dartmouth President Sian Beilock wrote in an email statement to the college community following the Oct. 28 arrests that the two students had protested peacefully at first, but “the situation changed when [they] … threatened in writing to ‘escalate and take further action,’ including ‘physical action,’ if their demands were not met,” The Dartmouth reported at the time.
In an interview, both protestors said they supported the “Dartmouth New Deal,” a policy statement authored by student climate activist group Sunrise Dartmouth and presented at the group’s Oct.27 “Climate Justice Rally,” according to the paper.
Sunrise Dartmouth’s objectives include “elect[ing] & pressur[ing] local and national representatives in support of pro-climate and pro-social justice legislations, to win a Green New Deal, to build anti-capitalist, circular, and community-driven economies locally through mutual aid to reduce our environmental impact and provide material resources for working class people,” according to its website.
It also defines Israel as an “apartheid state” and names apartheid as the “root cause” of the Israel-Hamas conflict, according to the website.
Wade serves as “hub coordinator” of the group and Engel is secretary.
Sunrise Dartmouth posted on Instagram Nov. 9 a call to “Drop the Charges” against both students and announced a “coordinated phone zap…to flood the phone lines of administrators.”
The Hanover, N.H. police department had arrested both protestors on Oct. 28 outside their tent encampment in front of the college’s Parkhurst Hall, an administrative building.
They were arrested for violating local law as well as two campus policies on trespassing.
The Ivy League college also placed them on academic probation at an administrative hearing Nov. 10, during which the college found they had violated its policies regarding “encampment, obeying College officials and obstructing the College’s normal operations,” according to The Dartmouth.