Carol Rose, Executive Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, released the following in response to Boston police arrests of Emerson College demonstrators:  
“Protest is a central part of Boston’s history, including political expression and activism at local colleges and universities. From large demonstrations against the Vietnam War to ongoing demonstrations related to the conflict in Israel and Palestine, such student advocacy plays an essential role in academic communities and our democracy.  
“Last night’s police response to demonstrations at Emerson College risked the safety and well-being of all in the area. While authorities may enforce reasonable restrictions to ensure access to public ways and to avoid disruption to school activities and services, we are concerned that campuses and law enforcement nationwide are increasingly cracking down on political expression, rushing in police to arrest protestors and authorizing aggressive treatment.  
“There is a distinction between removing encampments to ensure safe access to a public right of way and using physical violence against students engaging in peaceful expression. City and campus officials should take great care to distinguish between the two; if the alley is considered a public way for purposes of Boston’s anti-tent ordinance, then it is also a public way for purposes of free speech. Students and other Boston residents should be able to voice their support for Palestine or Israel without fear of becoming a target of the Boston Police Department. 
“Such forceful clampdowns on protest have serious implications for free speech rights on every issue. Let’s be clear: It’s an election year with so much at stake for freedom, justice, and our democracy itself. Especially now, colleges and universities have a responsibility to shore up their commitment to free speech, open debate, and peaceful dissent.”