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Live Updates: ‘Gaza Solidarity Encampment’ at Princeton

Blue tarps in the rain on a dark lawn in front of a building illuminated at night.
A rain night at the sit-in on Cannon Green.
Calvin Grover / The Daily Princetonian

See previous coverage of days one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eightnine, and ten.

This story is breaking and will be updated as additional information becomes available.


More than ten days have passed since the start of the “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on Princeton's campus. The ongoing demonstration, which resettled on Cannon Green after a brief occupation of Clio Hall on Monday, has officially been at its 'new' location longer than at its original site in McCosh Courtyard.

The Daily Princetonian has reported a drop-off numbers in the past several days. Forecasts of rain in the coming week, as well as impending deadlines for undergraduates, threaten to further deter participation. Concern about the lack of shelter from bad weather on Cannon Green was among original concerns expressed by organizers, upon the protest's relocation.

Protesters issued warnings threatening immediate arrest — May 8, 1:22 a.m.

Around 11:20 p.m., Department of Public Safety (PSAFE) officers issued three written “Warning and No Trespass Notice[s]” to protesters threatening them with immediate arrest in response to the attempted construction of a tarp structure to shelter some of the students currently participating in a hunger strike

At night, a PSAFE officer in a black and orange uniform interacts with a marshal with orange hair.
A PSAFE officer interacts with a marshal after a warning was issued to dismantle a structure on Cannon Green.
Calvin Grover / The Daily Princetonian

Less than an hour after PSAFE handed out the notices, protesters entered into a discussion with officers on site about the meaning of the warning. PSAFE officers were unable to provide clarity to protesters on what exactly constitutes a structure or at whom the warnings were targeted. Protesters asked, for instance, if they would be permitted to shelter under tarps placed over tables or boxes; PSAFE did not answer these questions directly.


At one point, a protester expressed concern about the encampment’s ability to provide shelter for hunger strikers without risking arrest overnight. One officer asked if they could “hunger strike in their dorm room.”

As the PSAFE officers conversed with protesters over acceptable structures, students were seen walking past the sit-in. Several stopped to watch, with many students returning from Prospect Street, where ten out of eleven eating clubs are hosting parties to celebrate Dean's Date.

Officers informed protesters that someone from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) would meet with them in the morning to clarify what types of structures are permitted under University policy.

The warning reads, “You have engaged in conduct on Princeton University property that violates University rules and regulations, poses a threat to the safety and property of others, and disrupts the regular operations of the University; such conduct includes participating in an encampment and/or disrupting a University event.”

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The warning continued, “For this reason, you are receiving the following warning and No Trespass Notice:  Your access to the grounds of Princeton University and other areas ordinarily open to the public is hereby restricted. If you continue to engage in the prohibited conduct referenced above, you will be considered a Defiant Trespasser under New Jersey criminal law (N.J.S.A. 2C:18-3) and subject to immediate arrest. You are also subject to a bar from University property and discipline under applicable University policy.”

ODUS policy prohibits camping in “vehicles, tents, or other structures,” as well as sleeping outside. 

Nine PSAFE officers are currently posted around Cannon Green with around 45 protesters present at the site. The weather tonight is relatively warm, though rain is expected in the morning, prompting the construction of the tent-like structure that led to the issuance of arrest warnings.

Step Sing draws a crowd of 200 — May 7, 8:37 p.m.

At 7:00 p.m., the Tigers United Step Sing, hosted by a group of Jewish students, drew a crowd of about 200 people. The event, which was opened by Chabad Student Board president Ellie Naider ’25, featured Jewish prayers such as Oseh Shalom, the United States and Israel national anthems, and various popular American and Israeli songs. Lyrics were displayed on a large karaoke screen in the U-Store Courtyard. 

Following the anthems, Naider spoke to the crowd. 

“There is no doubt that these past few months have consisted of a mix of complex emotions for Jewish students on campuses everywhere,” she said. “What is especially concerning to me is that many will try to diminish the current experience of Jewish students — rolling their eyes that we are dramatic, and that we can't possibly be experiencing antisemitism at this level,” she continued.

Max Meyer ’27 also delivered a speech to the crowd. 

“Let us stand shoulder to shoulder in the quest for the decisive defeat of hatred, and let us do so in a way where we look forward,” he said. 

“Jews of our generation seem to be living through dystopian times that we never thought possible in the United States,” Meyer said. “The unabashed antisemitism and anti-Americanism inherent in standing with terror, with Hamas, with Hezbollah, and the Houthis must be called out without equivocation.”

Following these speeches, the karaoke began. Songs included Count on Me by Bruno Mars, Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond, and Am Yisrael Chai by Eyal Golan.

A gathering of people gather around a large Gothic arch, with a man draped in an Israel flag closest to the camera. Multicolored balloons shaped like stars are strung above the scene.
Ryan Konarska / The Daily Princetonian

In a statement to the ‘Prince,’ Naider wrote, “We emailed the university with the idea and they gave us permission to book the steps for a step sing.” 

“We are very grateful to them,” she added.

In regards to the screen, Naider wrote, “As we were putting together the song list, we realized some people don’t know all of the lyrics, so we got a screen!”

An Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Dean’s Date celebration screening of Wall-E was scheduled for 8:00 p.m., also in the U-Store courtyard. According to a 7:52 p.m. email, this event was moved to Campus Club. 

In a statement to the ‘Prince,’ USG Social Chair Enzo Kho wrote, “We are aware of the Step Sing happening right now in the U-Store courtyard and other activities taking place in the area. Because of it, we decided to move the programs we have from 8 p.m. onwards to Campus Club to ensure that the activities could continue successfully.”

Post Dean’s Date rally for Rafah draws large crowds — May 7, 6:30 p.m.

An “ALL OUT FOR RAFAH” rally drew more than 350 students, faculty, staff, as well as a significant crowd of community members, to the lawn in front of Nassau Hall in the hours after Dean’s Date. The crowd first stopped in front of FitzRandolph Gate, where some of the students arrested at McCosh courtyard on April 25 and Clio Hall on April 29 were waiting. Three of them — Khari Franklin ’24, Aditi Rao GS, and Christian Silva, a student at the Princeton Theological Seminary — gave speeches from outside the gates.

“There is no equivalency between you here, who are fighting for truth and justice, and those people who are trying to keep you scared, who are trying to keep you complacent,” Franklin said. “We are not afraid.”

The rally then moved to the steps of Nassau Hall, where students currently participating in a hunger strike also spoke. The strike has been ongoing since Friday, with participants demanding a meeting from the University and the dropping of legal and disciplinary charges against arrested students. President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 met with a group of students on Tuesday morning regarding the sit-in’s demands, including divestment from Israel. According to multiple students present at the meeting, Eisgruber did not agree to any of their demands.

“[Eisgruber] said there wasn’t consensus on this issue,” said David Chmielewski ’24, one of the strikers, referring to an email Eisgruber sent to the student body on Tuesday morning regarding the meeting. “This looks a lot like consensus to me.”

Other speakers also criticized Eisgruber’s response.

“My last words to him as he walked out of that room yesterday were that this will be his legacy, that he stood by and supported a genocide. This will be what he is remembered for,” Brandi Bushman GS said.

After nearly two hours, the rally moved back to Cannon Green for speeches from Rabbi Alissa Wise, a founder of the group Rabbis for Ceasefire, as well as several students.

A ring of people stand in a circle. In the center, a Palestinian flag waves.
Ryan Konarska / The Daily Princetonian

Wise spoke about being arrested by Israeli police after attempting to bring food to Gaza through the Erez crossing with a group of other rabbis.

“I went to the West Bank, everybody was asking me about the student encampments,” Wise said. “And I felt that, as I was walking down that road [to Gaza] that I had at my back all of you.”

Despite seemingly stalled negotiations with the University, those who spoke at the rally seemed undeterred. 

“We will not leave for reunions and we will not back down from your intimidation,” Bryce Springfield ’25 said in a speech on Cannon Green.

Public Safety removes tarp sheltering protesters on fifth day of hunger strike — May 7, 11:16 a.m.

At 11:16 a.m., University Facilities employees removed a tarp on the southeast corner of Cannon Green that organizers said was sheltering 14 student hunger strikers, now on day five of their strike. Department of Public Safety (PSAFE) officers oversaw the removal, which came after a brief conversation between officers and protesters.

Princeton Israeli Apartheid Divest (PIAD) posted a video on Instagram showing the tarp’s removal. 

PIAD posted another video that shows University Director of Operations Kinamo Lomon telling protesters to remove the tarp. In the video, an organizer told Lomon that hunger strikes are sheltering under it. Lomon responded, “If it doesn’t rain, right, which it hasn’t done all day, is there still a need for the canopy?” 

After PSAFE officers at the scene declined to comment, University spokesperson Jennifer Morrill referred the ‘Prince’ to University policy on structures.

Morrill also pointed the ‘Prince’ to an earlier statement from Sunday, May 5 that the University offered protesters the ability to shelter in the tent in McCosh courtyard.

Approximately two dozen people remained at the sit-in at approximately noon. Today looks to be a warm and sunny day, with a high of 80 degrees.

Future of encampment uncertain as academic year nears close — May 7, 3:45 a.m.

Over a week has now passed since the occupation of Clio Hall and the subsequent moving of the encampment to Cannon Green from the McCosh Courtyard.

The most significant action since the occupation has been a hunger strike that began four days ago, in which 15 undergraduates continue to participate. Scattered rain and variable temperatures have defined recent days at the sit-in, leading to the construction of a tent-like tarp structure to shield from rainy weather, high winds, and bright sun. Hunger strikers say PSAFE has taken issue with these structures, with an Instagram post from Princeton Israel Apartheid Divest stating that the University “is doing nothing to protect these students who have been forced to brave heavy rain and cold temperatures as the University refuses to allow them tents for their peaceful protest.”

On Monday morning, a group of students, faculty, alumni, and postdocs met with University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83, Dean of the Graduate School Rodney Priestley, and Dean of the School of Public and International Affairs Amaney Jamal on Monday at 11:30 a.m. to discuss the demands of the ongoing sit-in and hunger strikers. Students claimed that the meeting was unproductive, while University spokesperson Jennifer Morrill claimed that University officials present were “receptive” to the protesters’ demands of academic collaboration with Palestinian institutions and the creation of new Palestinian affinity spaces on campus. 

It does not appear that administrators have been receptive to the protesters’ other demands for divestment from and academic and cultural boycott of Israel. Hunger strikers have also demanded complete amnesty for the 15 student protesters who have been arrested since the sit-in began. According to Morrill, Eisgruber emphasized “the need for accountability for isolated incidents in which University rules and laws were broken, such as the brief takeover of Clio Hall on April 29” in the meeting.

At a town hall around 6 p.m. on Monday, an organizer announced that the camp would move towards more collective decision-making, including daily votes about whether to keep the sit-in going. In the same town hall, organizers also floated the idea of boycotting certain University events and announced more concrete plans for a rally on Tuesday evening. 

In keeping with the Dean’s Date eve tradition of collective outdoor screams, including the “Holder Howl” and “Whitman Wail,” the sit-in hosted their own “Cannon Green Scream” at midnight, which they advertised on student listservs. The scene was livelier compared to recent evenings at the sit-in, and around 100 people were present. The scream lasted about a minute, followed by familiar chants of “Free Palestine.”

The encampment has been especially empty at night, with fewer than 10 people present as of time of publication. Today is Dean’s Date, Princeton’s universal deadline for written coursework. Students will soon begin to leave campus in greater numbers as summer approaches, making the long-term future of the sit-in uncertain.

Outside of the sit-in, statements from student groups have continued to trickle in via email and social media in recent days. Muslim Engineers for Social Impact and Justice, the Association of Black Women, and Princeton Filipino Community have all issued statements in solidarity with Palestine and student protesters. On Monday, members of BodyHype Dance Company posted a message in support of student protesters — including Khari Franklin ’24, a member of the group and one of 13 students arrested a week prior at the Clio Hall occupation.

Protesters have also remained active on social media. On Sunday, Princeton Israeli Apartheid Divest posted a video on Instagram of children in northern Gaza, holding signs that said “Thank you Rutgers and thank you Princeton University students.”

Although reunions are set to begin in just over two weeks, there does not appear to be any major petition to boycott the annual bash thus far.

Another rainy morning begins at the encampment — May 5, 6:45 a.m.

The sun rises, obscured by clouds, on another quiet, misty morning at the sit-in. Few students are present, matched in numbers by PSAFE officers posted along the perimeter of Cannon Green. While conditions are currently dry, tarps and umbrellas dot the lawn, put in place to protect chairs and other belongings from the last night's rain.

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