Friday, February 20, 2009

UPDATE: Occupants Suspended, Non-NYU Students Considered Trespassers


From the outset, the University made clear to the protesters that they were violating the University rules and engaging in improper activity. Nonetheless, we offered to sit down and have a dialogue with the students if they left the cafeteria; the students rejected our offer of a dialogue.

Yesterday afternoon, the University directed the protesters to leave the building, telling them that the building closes at 1:00 a.m., and after that they would be considered trespassers and would have to bear the consequences.

A number of students left during the night. This morning the University summarily suspended the remaining students. Any non-NYU students will be turned over to the police for arrest as trespassers; we will notify their schools of the participation in improper activity. Any students who refuse to identify themselves will be assumed to be non-NYU students.

Despite the protesters’ stated principles that the protest was to be non-destructive and non-violent, the protesters broke the lock on a balcony door despite specific warnings to stay off the balcony, and protesters injured an NYU security officer during a tussle last night. These actions dishonor NYU’s commitment to free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate, and legitimate forms of protest. We have some information on the students involved in those activities; they will be summarily suspended as well.

In an effort to bring this episode to a conclusion, last night the University gave the students an opportunity to sign an agreement stating that discipline charges stemming from the protest would be held in abeyance, but would be fully activated if there were any further disciplinary charges during their time at NYU; this would not apply to those students identified in breaking the lock or injuring the officer. One student signed the agreement.

Others who were in the room who have not signed the agreement will continue to have an opportunity to do so for a short while; after that, we will pursue discipline against any of the others. We have some information on who was in the room and will pursue those students, but we urge all the protesters, as self-described people of conscience who wish to demonstrate the courage of their convictions, to either come forward to sign the agreement or acknowledge their role in the protest and make themselves available for discipline.

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