November 17, 2023
Inside Brown University’s Sit-In for Palestine
By Peter Lucas
After occupying University Hall, all 20 protesters with Jews for Ceasefire Now were arrested and charged with trespassing. “These are kids. And this was a perfect example of a nonviolent civil disobedience.”
On November 8, a student in a white T-shirt walked through the green behind Brown University’s main administration building, her hands cuffed behind her back. Around her were three police officers holding her elbows, in front were the university’s main gates lit up with flashing police lights, and on either side of her were hundreds of students singing. She was singing too.
As a member of the recently formed student group at Brown “Jews for Ceasefire Now,” she joined 19 other members of the organization to hold a sit-in at University Hall, refusing to leave until Brown President Christina Paxson promised to divest the school’s endowment from “companies that enable war crimes in Gaza.” Five hours after the sit-in began, and 45 minutes after the building’s operating hours ended, the protesters were arrested.
As the crowd sang a Jewish hymn, the officers walked the girl through the gates and to a transport van. Then they came back, re-entered the building, and 10 minutes later, emerged with another student in a white T-shirt.