FAS Dean Hoppi Hoekstra Takes Victory Lap After Peaceful End to Harvard Yard Camp | news

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Hobie E. Hoekstra criticized interim university president Alan M. for his handling of the pro-Palestinian camp. Garber praised ’76 and called for “real and meaningful dialogue” in his first public statement on the nearly three-week occupation. Harvard Yard ended Tuesday morning.

Hoekstra’s email, which appeared to be written as much for donors as for students, allowed Garber to take a victory lap as he announced that his handling of the camp had allowed it to end “peacefully and without police action.” Such resolution is “nothing assured”.

As part of the agreement to end the camp, Hoekstra and Garber promised to meet with members of Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine, the group that organized the camp, to discuss their thoughts on Israel and the war in Gaza.

Hoekstra wrote that he wanted to have a conversation with Garber about “academic matters related to the protracted conflict in the Middle East.”

Like Garber, who lamented the “sad consequences of the ongoing war,” Hoekstra does not directly address the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, only the “humanitarian crisis.”

“We began the spring semester with a commitment to dialogue and strengthening the bonds that bind us together as a community,” he wrote. “With these events, that commitment has become even deeper.”

HOOP members indicated in an Instagram post announcing the end of the camp that they wanted to discuss the possibility of creating a center for Palestine studies with Hoekstra and Garber. Harvard leadership has given no indication that it is ready to move forward with HOOP’s concrete demands.

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Despite protests from the university hall where Hoekstra and other FAS executives live, Hoekstra has not commented publicly on the 20-day demonstration. He spoke briefly about the camp at last week’s FAS meeting, though he was joined by Interim Provost John F. Manning invited ’82 to deliver a very important report.

Hoekstra’s email followed an earlier email from Garber that laid out the terms he and the protesters agreed to end the yard occupation.

HOOP agreed to end their sit-out early Tuesday in exchange for the reinstatement of students on involuntary leave and talks with the university’s top governing body, the Harvard Corporation, about scholarship disclosure and waivers.

At other schools in Boston — including Northeastern University, Emerson College and MIT — pro-Palestinian camps have faced police crackdowns, resulting in more than 200 arrests across the city.

Harvard’s negotiated resolution is more closely aligned with responses from Northwestern University and Brown University, where protesters removed their encampments after reaching agreements with university administrators.

The terms of the camp’s negotiated settlement, however, were similar to the initial offer Garber made to HOOP members last week. While it still represents a compromise, it’s unclear whether the deal will cause a backlash from teachers and donors who have urged Garber not to accede to protesters’ demands.

Hoekstra praised the Harvard staff, who “worked around the clock” during the camp to make its resolution “possible.” He specifically acknowledged the staff who worked to “ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in the yard” and thanked teachers for their “insight, advice and support”.

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“These events took place in front of University Hall, the historic home of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences,” he wrote. “On behalf of FAS, I express my sincere and lasting gratitude to them.”

—Staff writer Tilly R. Robinson can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on X @dillirobin.

—Staff writer Neil H. Shah can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on X @neilhshah15.

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