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Update on Campus Protest Encampment

May 3, 2024

The message below was sent on Friday, May 3, 2024.

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:
This is an update to yesterday’s message about the student protest encampment.
Yesterday morning, members of College leadership notified encampment representatives of the need to move tents to a new location near Senior Row that would allow for College use of Merion Green. This requirement was shared with a firm deadline –- to be completed by the end of the day yesterday because of the need to prepare the space today. 
As of 8:00 a.m. this morning, more than 35 tents remained on Merion Green. We will not escalate the situation nor put our staff or students at risk by physically removing the tents immediately, but disciplinary procedures have been launched for student leaders of the encampment.  
We recognize the deep concern of the student protestors for the devastation in Palestine. Many places, times, and manners allow for self-expression at Bryn Mawr, all of which are well within our policies and guidelines. By offering students who wished to continue the encampment an alternative, nearby location, we worked to preserve the right to protest while allowing the College to prepare for important College events, including Commencement. Unfortunately, many participants opted not to relocate, choosing instead to retain an encampment on Merion Green.
In yesterday’s message, we reiterated our position on the two demands presented last week. Since then, the protestors have sent us new demands. We are committed to keeping the channels of communication open, but we will not respond to or negotiate demands. If the goal of the protest is to make a meaningful, lasting difference in the Middle East, we will engage with students, faculty, and staff to find pathways to support change beyond the campus and to find ways to engage the campus directly around education and respectful debate.
Many community members have reported feeling harassed and intimidated by the posters and pervasive rhetoric from the encampment. This would be unacceptable anywhere, but it is particularly troubling at Bryn Mawr, where students have committed to the ideals of mutual respect and concern for other members of our College community. We remind those who wish to express their views in a public forum to consider the impact of their speech and actions. Inflaming and escalating tensions is counterproductive to meaningful and respectful dialogue. We continue to remind each other that anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, antisemitic, and other forms of harassment and hate do not belong on our campus. We are continuing to address these reports. 
Kim Cassidy
Karlene Burrell-McRae
Undergraduate College Dean
Tomiko Jenkins
Dean of Students

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