When two anti-Israel progressive Dartmouth College students were arrested last weekend, they claimed the college administration’s accusations that they had made violent threats were a smear.
In fact, the statement issued by the two students specifically violated the school’s policy on violent threats, as evidenced by the fact they edited the document after their arrest to soften the language.
Early Saturday morning, Dartmouth students Roan Wade and Kevin Engel, who were camping outside of college President Sian Leah Beilock’s residence, were arrested on misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing. The two are student leaders of the far-left Sunrise Movement. They had issued a document listing a series of demands, including that Dartmouth act against “Israeli apartheid by divesting the College’s endowment from all organizations that are complicit in apartheid and its apparatuses.”
The demands, which they called the “Dartmouth New Deal,” also include paying reparations to Native Americans, going carbon neutral, and cutting ties with the military-industrial complex.
“We are taking action now, but we will escalate. You have until the first day of the winter term to publicly address our demands and outline a plan to meet them. If you fail to do so, we will escalate and take further action,” they wrote.
The threat to “escalate” and “take further action” violated Dartmouth’s rules against threats, and as a result, the Hanover police were called.
“(T)he situation changed when two students … threatened in writing to ‘escalate and take further action,’ including ‘physical action,’ if their demands were not met,’” Beilock wrote.
In an open letter published in The Dartmouth, Wade and Engel denied they made any threats.
“The administration’s accusation that the demonstrators threatened violence is a lie. Beilock cited a decontextualized sentence from the Dartmouth New Deal as justification for the arrests,” they wrote.
However, the Sunrise Movement at Dartmouth’s own document showed it was edited two days after the arrests to soften the objectionable language.
“Sunrise is committed to nonviolent direct action, such as hosting vigils, sit-ins, and rallies. In this context, to escalate and take further action means that the organization will host larger events and mobilize a greater number of people in order to achieve the demands listed in the Dartmouth New Deal. (Edited October 30 at 2:40 p.m.)”
The incident comes as progressives organize anti-Israel marches, often featuring antisemitic rhetoric, on many of America’s most elite college campuses. The protests come in the wake of the Hamas terror attack on Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, in which more than 1,400 people were murdered, and Hamas terrorists took hundreds more hostage.
The Dartmouth New Deal urges the university to embrace the views of the so-called “Palestine Solidarity Coalition, or PSC. The organization, of which Wade is a member, blames all of the Hamas violence targeting Jews on Israel.
“The root cause of this violence is apartheid, the institutionalized system of oppression and domination by one ethnic group over another,” the Coalition wrote. “Israel today is an apartheid state, designed to deny Indigenous Palestinians their democratic representation and civil rights.”
Wade did not respond to a request for comment.
Wade’s position on Israel is similar to Dartmouth Associate Sociology Professor Casey Stockstill, one of hundreds of sociology professors who signed an open letter in response to Hamas’ deadly terror attacks. Stockstill and fellow academics wrote of the need to “contextualize” the murders, kidnappings, and beheadings committed by Hamas terrorists “in the context of 75 years of settler colonial occupation and European empire,” the letter stated.
Dartmouth has a history of antisemitism. In the 1940s, as European Jews were fleeing the horrors of the Nazi regime, then-President Ernest Hopkins told the New York Post the school had a policy of turning away Jewish students.
“We cut the quotas more on our Jewish applicants than we do the basis of applications from Anglo-Saxons,” Hopkins said. “I think if you were to let Dartmouth become predominantly Jewish, it would lose its attraction for the Jews … Dartmouth is a Christian college founded for the Christianization of its students.”