Pro-Palestinian students, staff and faculty spent nearly a week encamped at City College before an NYPD sweep arrested nearly 200 people and dismantled the camp. (PHOTO/Luca GoldMansour)

This story was reported in collaboration with THE CITY.

MANHATTAN — In a series of town hall meetings with students, faculty and staff last week, City College President Vincent Boudreau attempted to quell anger and frustration about his decision to deploy the NYPD to break up a pro-Palestinian encampment on April 30, after campus police proved “inadequate” in his telling.

The encampment began on April 25, with CUNY students, faculty and alumni camping out and calling for the public university system to divest from Israel amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

Boudreau, a political scientist specializing in the politics of social movements, was arrested at least five times while pushing for the university to divest from South Africa as a grad student at Cornell University in the 1980’s. He was one of hundreds of students there arrested over the course of several months in demonstrations that included sit-ins and the erection of a “shanty town” where students camped out for 65 days.

But last week he told faculty members Tuesday that he stood by the move to clear the encampment, adding that he wished he’d done so sooner. The remarks were made at a previously unreported online town hall meeting with faculty that was viewed by THE CITY. Boudreau spoke to students at a similar online town hall Wednesday afternoon, which was also observed by THE CITY.

“Allowing the site to harden. That’s my one regret,” he said. “If what you’re implying is that we have to allow demonstrators free run of the campus…I reject that.”