Town hall in response to 118 arrests

Boston Police Officers line up outside of the Emerson College Little Building on Thursday. Photo by Jack Reiber.

By Emily Martinez

Monday morning Emerson College held a community-wide town hall in the Semel Theater. After a faculty assembly, 69% of faculty voted to host a meeting in response to the campus climate after the arrest of 118 protestors on April 25.

Deion Hawkins, assistant professor of communication studies, was the moderator of the event with support from Mneesha Gillman, founder and director of the Emerson Prison Initiative.

Amina Adeyola, a student and member of Student Justice for Palestine was the first person to give her remarks. “Disclose financial entities, divest from such entities, drop charges on students, organizers and activists, and denounce Israel’s genocide and call for an end ceasefire in Gaza,” said Adeyola.

Students and members affiliated with the Student Government Association, Student Accessibility Unit, Student Justice for Palestine Organization, Residential Assistants, Graduate and Undergraduate Students, Student Ambassadors, were all able to give a statement.

Due to a 200 person capacity in the Semeal Theater, the college was able to provide a zoom link. Rooms around campus were made available for those who were not able to enter the theater.

Students who were not in attendance could send their comments through email or in the chat box on Zoom before it was disabled. Faculty were then able to read them outloud or hold on to them for further discussion.

Jay Bernhardt, President of Emerson College was in the room taking notes as students and faculty shared their thoughts.

An agenda was established prior to the meeting but was quickly adjusted when moderator Hawkins realized some students were passing the 2 minute limit to talk. An extra hour was reserved for continued conversation and was used.

The floor then opened up around noon for faculty, non upper administration and staff to as well share their thoughts and voices.

Emerson College’s Student Justice in Palestine hosted a meeting in the 2B alley after the townhall to discuss their next steps. Some Arrestees will begin their court day hearings today in Boston or Roxbury Courts today, April 30 and will continue tomorrow.