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70 arrests on campus of State University of New York at Purchase, NY.

By BY Peter Katz, Westfair Business Journal

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    Purchase, NY ( — Uniformed police officers during the night broke up a demonstration of students on the campus of Purchase College, SUNY, part of the State University of New York. Campus, Westchester County and New York State police had earlier established their presence on campus but remained away from the area where the students were demonstrating to show support of Palestinians in Gaza. The college administration on Friday morning said, “Students were allowed to protest peacefully, which they did for several hours, as long as they followed SUNY’s rules for the maintenance of order and the student code of conduct. Outsiders/non-students were turned away from campus although it is believed that several snuck back on to join the protest. At 10 p.m., once campus quiet hours started, protestors were given multiple opportunities to disperse peacefully as ordered more than 10 times by the .campus police and other local police forces who were on the scene to assist. Those who didn’t disperse after multiple warnings of consequences, were arrested for trespass violations, most without incident. Protestors were brought to local precincts for processing as the University Police Department couldn’t hold that many individuals. Students will also be going through the student code of conduct process. As the investigation continues, a few individuals may face additional charges. There were approximately 70 individuals arrested including students and faculty members.” About 10 officers could be seen on a recorded video moving in on a protestors who had been sitting in a circle. At least one of the protestors shouted for police to “get off of me” and another could be heard shouting “what the f*** are you doing?” Earlier, on Thursday, a group of about 20 students established a short-lived tent city on the Purchase campus. The students were emulating the pro-Palestinian tent encampments on other college campuses in the U.S., but on a much smaller scale. A hand-lettered sign said, “We are a peaceful encampment.” Another sign instructed protestors not to talk with police, the media or outside agitators. It warned against using “substances” and provided guidelines for proper decorum that included no expressions of racism, homophobia or antisemitism. Students expressed support for the Palestinians in the current Middle East conflict, just as had been done at other college campuses. However, when asked by school officials to dismantle the tent encampment the students complied, unlike what has happened at many other campuses. Their protesting continued into the night in a peaceful fashion, with many of the students sitting on blankets on a section of lawn. Some of the students said they would continue the protest until the college meets their demands, including disclosure of any investments benefitting Israel and ending those investments. The SUNY Purchase campus was closed to people not affiliated with the college. People arriving at the campus were told that a visitor pass was needed to enter.

SUNY Purchase on Thursday had said, “A group of about 50 outside non-students were turned away from campus without incident. The students are peacefully protesting, as is their right, as long as they follow the campus rules of order and student code of conduct. We are committed to maintaining that right and the safety of the entire campus so that all members are free to learn, work and live without disruption or bias.” Thursday saw a second day of student protests on the campus of SUNY New Paltz in New Paltz, New York. More than 200 students had set up a tent encampment and expressed support for the Palestinians and against Israel’s policies. They also urged SUNY to cancel any contracts with companies doing business with Israel. A group of students set up a few tents at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie , New York, earlier this week and by Wednesday the encampment had grown to about 20 tents. “As long as the demonstration remains peaceful and does not disrupt the learning environment, the college does not plan to remove the tents,” Vassar’s President Elizabeth H. Bradley said. “The tents are currently set up in a way that allows access to the library and other buildings. This is particularly important as we head into the study period and final exams. For so many in our community, these are profoundly difficult times. I remain committed to what unites us, especially our shared mission of learning and seeking a better collective future. May we be patient, compassionate, and understanding of one another–knowing that our differences help make us whole.”

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Peter Katz

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

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