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Johns Hopkins threatens academic discipline, police action as pro-Palestinian encampment continues

Johns Hopkins threaten academic discipline, police action as pro-Palestinian encampment continues
Johns Hopkins threaten academic discipline, police action as pro-Palestinian encampment continues 02:09

BALTIMORE -- Demonstrators camped overnight on the Johns Hopkins University campus to show solidarity with Gaza, but the Baltimore university says it is ready to take action if any students violate its rules.

Security is monitoring "the beach" area on Hopkins' Homewood campus along Charles Street where several tents are set up behind the university's signage wall.  

Those encamped at the university say about 100 Hopkins students and faculty are involved, but the university said the students who stay after hours could face disciplinary action.

Johns Hopkins said it reached an agreement with the pro-Palestinian protests that if they dispersed, they could protest on campus from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

However, the group that organized the protest, "Hopkins Justice Collective," told WJZ that no agreement has been reached despite an opposing statement from Johns Hopkins. 

They are demanding the university cut ties completely with Israel as the Hamas war continues and the death toll in Gaza rises. 

Hopkins is also being pressured to cut ties with Tel-Aviv University in Israel, where a two-year Master of Arts program partnership was established in recent years.    

The university said it does not want people to camp overnight because it is worried about the health and safety of its community, citing confrontations and arrests being made at pro-Palestinian encampments on campuses across the nation. 

"Encampments draw in people unaffiliated with the university who may not have the best interests of our community at heart," the university said in a statement Tuesday night. "Protesters who conceal their identities through face coverings and pseudonyms dramatically impair the university's capacity to maintain the safety of our community members, and as we have seen at allied protests across the country, circumstances like these have led to confrontation and escalation."

However, the campers said everyone encamped Tuesday night was affiliated with the university. 

The university said they remain prepared for peaceful protest during allotted hours, but students who break this rule will face disciplinary action. 

"We have been clear that the consequences of violating our policies and creating unsafe conditions include academic discipline, which is determined by University officials, and trespass, which is handled by local law enforcement," the university said in a statement. 

Colleges differ in approach to encampments

Universities have differed in their approach on how to clear out encampments as commencement ceremonies near. Some institutions are continuing negotiations, while others are turning to force and ultimatums that have resulted in clashes with police.

Dozens of people were arrested Monday during protests at universities in Texas, Utah and Virginia. 

Police on Tuesday entered the Manhattan campus of Columbia University, where the encampments began, to clear tents and a building the protesters were occupying. 

Violence broke out this past weekend at UCLA in California where pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel groups breached a physical barrier. More than 100 protesters were arrested last week on the campus of Columbia University in New York City, where the encampment demonstrations began.

Northwestern University near Chicago said it reached an agreement with students and faculty representing the majority of protesters. It allows peaceful demonstrations through the end of spring classes, but only one aid tent may remain mounted.

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