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Dartmouth President Sian Leah Beilock Is Censured by Faculty Over Protest Actions

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Dartmouth College voted on Monday to censure the university’s president, Sian Leah Beilock, over her decision to summon the police to remove a pro-Palestinian encampment on campus, calling her action harmful to the community and disruptive to the university’s educational mission.

The censure motion was adopted by a vote of 183 to 163, according to Justin Anderson, a spokesman for Dartmouth. The close vote illustrated the division on campus over Dr. Beilock’s decision on May 1, just hours after the encampment had been erected on the college green. At the meeting on Monday, Dr. Beilock defended the move, saying that she believed there was a reasonable and credible threat of violence.

Eighty-nine people were arrested as the police moved in, including two faculty members. Annelise Orleck, a labor historian, was knocked to the ground as she tried to grab her phone from a police officer.

Dr. Orleck, who once served as head of Jewish studies at Dartmouth, said on Monday that she was gratified at the vote. “I’m hoping that she and perhaps anyone who follows her and maybe presidents on other campuses hesitate for a second before they bring down violence on peaceful student protesters.”

Monday’s vote was believed to be the first censure vote against a president of Dartmouth in its 255-year history. In a similar move last week, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University passed a vote of no confidence in its president, Nemat Shafik, by a wider margin, over her handling of pro-Palestinian protesters there. A vote of no confidence is regarded as more serious than a censure vote.

Dr. Beilock, who joined Dartmouth last June, is a cognitive scientist who previously served as the president of Barnard College.

In a statement, Dartmouth pointed out that more than 200 faculty members had signed a petition supporting Dr. Beilock, adding that “results of the vote reflects the deeply divided feelings across the nation and around the world about the Israel-Hamas war.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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