Photo courtesy of PSC UNH

Release: UNH Palestine Solidarity Encampment: Exposing UNH Admin’s Lies and Brutal Assault on Students Protesting Genocide in Palestine

Palestine Solidarity Coalition at the University of New Hampshire


On Wednesday, May 1, 2024, the UNH Palestine Solidarity Coalition held a permitted May Day Event on Thompson Hall Lawn which garnered the support of around 200 students and community members. It included speeches, music, teach-ins, an ongoing community art project, an ongoing Refaat Alareer Memorial Library and chants. 

The goal of the event was to demand the UNH administration divest from weapon manufacturers and companies that are involved with the apartheid Israeli regime and occupation of Palestine, defend the First Amendment rights of students taking part in Pro-Palestine activism and the Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and Jewish students who have been targeted as a result, and declare their support for an immediate permanent ceasefire and an end to the ongoing genocide in Palestine. 

As of April 2024, according to the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, 42,510 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in the past six months alone. The United Nations experts with the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner have declared a scholasticide since all universities in Gaza have been destroyed and of those killed by Israel, 5,479 were students, 261 were teachers, and 95 were university professors

Students and community members are ashamed of our university’s complicity in the genocide. In response to the UNH administration’s refusal to divest and declare their support for an immediate permanent ceasefire, the UNH Palestine Solidarity Coalition announced their encampment in solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle against genocide, demanding UNH divests its $474 million endowment. Upon launching the encampment, students and community members formed a circle around it to protect the campers from brutal violence of militarized police. 

Undercover Chief of UNH Campus Police Paul Dean immediately assaulted the students setting up tents, shoving them to the ground and attempting to remove the equipment. Kenneth Holmes, Senior Vice Provost for Student Life, immediately requested the UNH Campus Police, the Durham Police, and the New Hampshire State Police to come in large numbers and with riot gear. He refused to engage with the students, refused to negotiate, and stood back, proudly hiding behind the door of the UNH Campus Police cruiser, and watched as the State and local police officers jointly moved towards the encampment circle. Students were brutally assaulted as they were shoved to the ground, attacked with

Pepper Ball Weaponry, beaten with poles, and charged at by officers. After dismantling the encampment, the police officers pushed remaining protestors onto Main Street to be able to make further arrests for obstructing traffic. 


  • The statement that police action was only intended against “outside agitators”, not against students, is incorrect. 11 out of the 13 arrested were students, the other two include the mother of an alumnus and another community member. We reject the notion that wider community members can’t participate in campus events or be on campus. But this is a student-led movement and framing it as contrary is an insult to our organizers
  • All arrested have been issued “criminal trespassing” charges for being on their own university campus and public property, and “disorderly conduct” for protesting genocide
  • The UNH Student Code of Conduct has no rule against setting up tents or camping on campus lawn, and the permit did not ban all types of tents. Conflating erecting tents for Palestine with violence is a fascist, racist, classist, and unacceptable lie being used to excuse police brutality and raise false charges against students. According to the UNH administration, “It [permit] explicitly said that they’re not permitted to have any tents with signs” [3]. Our tents did not have any signs on them
  • One of the students arrested has a hearing disability and could not hear the muffled “warnings” given by the UNH PD. After arrest they were denied batteries for their hearing device, and were placed in solitary confinement for declaring their disability and requesting medical accommodations, and told that “they can’t be deaf since they speak so loudly”. 
  • Another student was arrested on the false premise that they assaulted Chief Paul Dean and had to spend the night in jail. Chief Paul Dean was undercover and brutally assaulted a different student right when the encampment was announced. After the arrival of State Police, Chief Dean pointed them to arrest said student, which they misinterpreted and detained a different student. This student was brutally arrested despite screaming “you got the wrong guy”, and asking for the reason for arrest. 
  • Another arrested student was denied access to their medications at the Strafford County Jail. They were told that “unless without it they need an ambulance, they don’t need their medication”. Despite pleas for expedited bail release procedure in order to get access to the medication, the student was released last
  • Undercover Chief Dean personally assaulted at least two of the protestors. Several protestors were hit with Pepper Bullets, choked and dragged, and were injured as a result.
  • Several students and a community member were arrested for simply standing on the campus lawn. Others were first pushed onto Main Street and then arrested for obstructing traffic.
  • PD also performed unlawful searches in the presence of legal observers, without search warrants. 
  • Legal observers and students asking for the name and badge number of police officers were ignored and pushed away. Students attempting to document the police brutality were prevented from filming. 
  • Theft of private property. After the encampment was cleared, Chief Dean said that all seized property from the encampment will be held onto by police to be returned to their owners [3]. Multiple calls and emails to the station the next day were left on voicemail or unanswered. Personal visits to the station and attempts to recover the equipment from the station dumpsters were in vain. The equipment included students’ personal possessions, backpacks, medications and study materials. Police seem to have lied about the ability to recover the items. 
  • Counter-protesters yelled unspeakable racial and homophobic slurs at the pro-Palestine protestors, their supporters, and people of color. Despite this, they were not engaged by the police. 
  • They celebrated police brutality against their peers and posed for photos with the U.S. flag while students were being brutally arrested in the background. 
  • Counter Protestors launched fireworks while heavily-armed riot police was assaulting and brutally arresting students, which could have triggered the police into shooting students.

UNH has demonstrated that it would rather engage in brutal fascist violence against its own students than divest from genocide. 

On this day and for the past 75 years in Occupied Palestine, there has been no justice. The UNH administration and the police are directly responsible for the violence against students and their actions are a reflection of their deeply racist, fascist values which we are protesting. 

We witnessed one arm of the larger US settler-colonial empire silencing internal dissent as we protested another arm of the US settler-colonial empire committing genocide in Palestine. The cooperation between the white supremacist counter-protestors and the police mirrors the Zionist settler and IOF raids in the West Bank. 

We reject UNH’s attempt to portray itself as “neutral” while allying with fascist forces against its students protesting genocide. 


  • We call on the police chief of UNH PD, Paul Dean, to resign. He initially instigated protestors who had every right to peacefully protest at our public university and assaulted a number of students. Then he authorized and directed UNH PD and militarized state troopers in riot gear to brutalize unarmed students. 
  • We call on Senior Vice Provost for student life, Kenneth Holmes, to resign, as he stood next to police vehicles and watched officers assault students. Not only did he
  • refuse to negotiate or compromise on the demands of PSC, he ignored the pleas of students who faced imminent danger from the police presence. As students, we do not feel safe with an administrator who makes such decisions about student life and who condones and is directly complicit in the use of disproportionate force against students, faculty, and community members. 
  • We call on the president of UNH, James Dean, to resign, as he oversees the university, and allowed for students to be injured and attacked under his watch. We refuse to allow him to simply retire on good terms, and emphasize that he must be held responsible for his negligence. 
  • We continue to call on UNH to divest from all companies and weapons manufacturers complicit in the genocide of the Palestinian people. 
  • We call on UNH and the state to drop the absurd charges they have placed on a number of students and community members. 
  • We demand an apology from the UNH administration after allowing dozens of militarized officers onto campus and jeopardizing the safety of hundreds of students.
  • We demand a supportive statement and investigation into the actions of the counter-protestors who were chanting racist and homophobic slurs, and launching fireworks to trigger heavily-armed PD to shoot pro-Palestine students even as they were already being brutalized.