Police arrest anti-Israel activists on Emory campus, including faculty members

Turman Hall at Emory University in Atlanta, also the Charles and Peggy Evans Anatomy Building. Credit: Daniel Mayer via Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS) — Gregory L. Fenves, president of Emory University in Atlanta, released a statement on April 26 about campus protests the day before that resulted in 28 arrests, placing the blame on outside agitators for a demonstration that ended in violence.

Professor Noëlle McAfee, chair of the philosophy department, was one of three faculty members arrested on April 25. She describes herself as “a critical theorist working in the tradition of the Frankfurt School, drawing on feminist philosophy, psychoanalysis and political theory.”

Fenves told the New York Post, “I am saddened by what took place at Emory. To watch these highly organized, outside protestors (sic) arrive on campus in vans, construct an encampment, and overtake the Quad just days after it was vandalized with hateful and threatening messages was deeply disturbing.”

The demonstrators’ actions led to police utilizing tasers and pepperballs.

In an interview with Atlanta’s 11Alive, McAfee disagreed with the university president’s statement, stating that to “say they were outside agitators” was “false.” She conceded that “there were perhaps some students here from other universities” but countered that the students she had spoken with “are Emory students that I’ve known for years.”

The feminist critical theorist academic said, “I think the outside agitators were the Atlanta police and the Georgia state troopers. They were the agitators.”

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp released a statement on April 25 saying he was “thankful for state and local law enforcement, which responded swiftly to Emory University’s call for support and restored order on campus.”

Kemp warned that “those who choose to make the unwise decision to use our college campuses to intimidate, make threats, promote violence, or in any other way break the law will be met with the full force of the law and brought to justice.”

The school “will not tolerate vandalism, violence or any attempt to disrupt our campus through the construction of encampments,” said Fenves. “These actions are counter to our values, and they disrupt the core purpose of the university and its educational and research missions.”