UPDATE: 13 people arrested during protest outside NMSU

Dave Burge and Luisa Barrios

30 minutes ago

UPDATE: EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Thirteen people were arrested at New Mexico State University following a protest at a university building on Thursday evening, May 9, the university confirmed in a statement late Thursday evening.

News 22/Noticia 22 NMSU Journalism and Media Studies reported that the incident occurred during a pro-Palestinian protest.

The university said in a statement that the protesters face various charges.

The university said the protest took place in Hadley Hall, which closed at 5 p.m

The protesters were repeatedly asked to leave the building and just before 6 p.m. the group was told they would face arrest if they did not leave, the university said in a statement sent to KTSM.

Thirteen people were “arrested” by NMSU police and face various charges, including criminal trespass, resisting/obstructing an officer, assault on a peace officer and criminal damage to property, according to NMSU.

KTSM obtained mugshots of 11 of the 13 people arrested and facing charges.

Hadley Hall has been evacuated and will be open for business Friday, the university said.

In an update released Friday morning, May 10, university officials also said a large window on the west side of the building was broken during the protest. The outside of the building was also damaged by graffiti in several places, university officials said.

The university also said it still plans to hold commencement ceremonies.

In a video captured by KRWG News 22/Noticias 22, an NMSU student-run news program, a person is seen being taken into custody after participating in a “sit-in” in the lobby of Hadley Hall.

Additionally, Las Cruces Police were called by NMSU Police to assist with the incident.

Here is a full statement from NMSU Interim President Monica Torres:

“I would like to inform our community about some events that took place late yesterday. At around 4:15 in the afternoon, a group of pro-Palestinian protesters, including students and others, entered the NMSU administration building, Hadley Hall, and resubmitted their list of demands. Approximately 30 minutes later, the group was informed that the building would be closed for business at 5:00 p.m. and that they would need to vacate the building at that time. After 5 p.m., the group folded arms, chanted and sang, began live-streaming their activities and used social media to call for others to join them in the building. For about an hour, the university communicated with the protesters and others who had worked closely with the group to encourage them to leave the building. During this process, an observer was identified as entering the building along with protesters wearing a high-visibility vest and was permitted to remain inside and document the events. At 5:55 p.m., protesters were told they had ten minutes to leave the building or face arrest and trespassing charges. At this point, some of the protesters chose to leave the building while others remained. NMSU police arrested 13 people on various charges including criminal trespass, criminal trespass, resisting/obstructing an officer, assault on a peace officer and criminal damage to property. A large window on the west side of the building was broken in the incident. The outside of the building was also covered in graffiti in several places overnight. Importantly, Hadley Hall has been cleared and cleaned and is open for business today.

“Similar to other universities across the country, over the past two weeks we have seen students, faculty and community members participate in Palestinian solidarity demonstrations on our campus. We have said from the beginning that people in the United States have a constitutional right to peacefully protest. However, people have no right to interfere with university operations, damage property, or spit on or hit police officers.

“Various university leaders had met with protesters almost daily since April 29 to promote open dialogue, ensure all voices were heard and to defuse tensions. Our commitment is always to the safety of our community and our campus. We will continue to take the necessary steps to fulfill this commitment.

“It is unfortunate that yesterday’s events occurred, especially during NMSU’s inaugural season when we celebrate the successes of our students throughout the NMSU system. For many of this year’s graduates, it will be their first time attending the graduation ceremony since their high school graduation in 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic. These students have worked so hard and we have worked to give them the start they deserve. Each of our ceremonies will take place as planned in honor of our students.”