Green Party Leader Arrested In Pro-Palestine Campus Protests

Presidential candidate for the Green Party, Jill Stein, found herself among 100 detainees over the weekend at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, amid rising campus tensions over the Israel-Gaza conflict. Stein, 73, participated in a protest demanding the university divest from corporations like Boeing, accused by protesters of contributing to violence in Gaza. Stein was arrested during the demonstration along with a pair of her top campaign staffers.

The protests at Washington University are part of a broader wave of campus anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian activism sweeping the nation. Stein’s arrest comes as universities nationwide face balancing free speech with campus safety. The university stated that the protests had escalated to a point where they were “causing a significant disruption.” Stein’s arrest is part of a theme that is becoming more common to the national protests — outside agitators not part of a campus community coming in to cause disruptions and capture publicity for political causes.

According to a statement from Washington University, the assembly violated university policies by establishing a campsite on campus grounds, prompting the administration to take action. “We are firmly committed to free expression and allow ample opportunity for voices to be heard on our campus,” the school stated. It went on to caution the public that it would take “swift action” to enforce its policies in order to protect students and employees.

In response to the arrest, the Stein campaign reiterated their support for the student protests, advocating for peaceful assembly and civil liberties. “The Stein campaign supports the demands of the students and their peaceful protest and assembly on campus. Student protest for peace and civil liberties has always represented the best part of our collective moral conscience,” her campaign manager Jason Call told reporters.

The First Amendment is fundamental to American freedom and requires that a politically tolerant society permits peaceable assembly and the freedom to engage in legal speech. Meanwhile, the nation’s colleges are also required to provide a safe and secure environment for its students and staff to study, work and live. The country will do well this election year to remember that free expression does not require peaceful citizens to tolerate violence and threats.