MEDFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - Pro-Palestinian protestors remained gathered at an encampment at Tufts University Wednesday, one day after university officials said they would be issuing a no trespass order related to the demonstration. 

While police moved in to clear encampments on campuses across the country and after Tufts officials noted what they described as efforts to “escalate” the Tufts encampment, one protester told 7NEWS they won’t be leaving. 

“All eyes are on Gaza,” the protester said. “We will not back down.”

Another protester said morale has been high.

“It’s been good,” the protester said. “It’s been a good form of solidarity. But I think it’s important that everybody keeps their focus on Palestine and not on the student protests.”

“It starts small,” the protester continued. “I think Tufts kind of sees itself as a small, insignificant part. But if we take the first step, I think it will be super important moving forward.”

Tufts protestors started their encampment amid a larger wave of protests on April 7. Tents were taken down for a short period of time but then reemerged on April 22.

On Tuesday, Tufts’ president and other leaders said the encampment was growing, prompting new safety concerns. Among other things, officials said protesters brought in additional demonstrators who are not affiliated with the school. 

Tufts Hillel said there are some 1,500 Jewish students on campus. 

Speaking Wednesday, Tufts Chabad Co-President Ilana Smaletz said she does not feel safe. 

“I don’t like the idea that they just get to camp out there,” Smaletz said. “I think it’s one of the colleges that have had camps for the longest and it’s insane.”

Officials said demonstrators have been harassing staff as they try to clean up campus ahead of commencement ceremonies on May 19. 

Tufts officials said protesters also took and painted furniture that the university rented for an event. Officials said protesters later refused to return the furniture to the company that owns it.

“The protesters have refused our offers and have continued to escalate matters by expanding the encampment,” campus officials said. “We continue to do everything within reason to avoid the confrontations seen at other universities. But the encampment needs to end, and Commencement setup needs to begin.”

Protesters at Tufts have said they want the university to divest from any companies doing business with Israel amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

School officials said they have held meetings with the protesters to find common ground, but they have not been able to come to an agreement.

With the no trespass order now looming, officials said students who do not vacate the encampment space “will be subject to the Community Standards processes which may result in suspension or other sanctions.” 

For seniors, officials said sanctions could also include being barred from participating in senior week events or Commencement. 

“It is our strong desire that it does not come to this, and the protesters choose to leave voluntarily,” officials said.

Tufts was not allowing outside journalists on campus Wednesday. But the campus’ student newspaper, The Tufts Daily, said there were no major confrontations overnight.

Outside Tufts, other Boston-area encampments remained at MIT and Harvard University Wednesday. Two additional encampments at Emerson College and Northeastern University were cleared by police over the past week.

In an update Wednesday afternoon, Tufts Executive Director of Media Relations Patrick Collins said university President Sunil Kumar met with protest leaders earlier in the day “in the spirit of exploring every path possible for a peaceful and voluntary resolution and a successful Commencement for our graduates and their loved ones.”

“We have no further updates at this time,” Collins said.

This is a developing story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest updates.

(Copyright (c) 2024 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox