'Difficult decision.' UConn president addresses arrests of students and encampment teardown

On Tuesday morning, UConn police cleared the encampment on the Storrs campus that many students had been camped in since April 26.

Rose Shannon

May 1, 2024, 9:15 PM

Updated 20 days ago


The University of Connecticut's president says it was a difficult decision to arrest two dozen students after campus police cleared a pro-Palestinian encampment Tuesday.
In a letter sent to the university community Wednesday, President Radenka Maric wrote she "wished arrests could have been avoided, we are grateful for the largely calm response and hope that this paves the way for constructive dialogue on very serious issues facing the global community in which we all live."
On Tuesday morning, UConn police cleared the encampment on the Storrs campus that many students had been camped in since April 26. A group called the UConn Divest Coalition has demanded the school divest its endowment from Israeli companies.
School officials say the encampment was not registered and did not follow the university's policies and processes.
Officials say the administration informed the group of their expectations, which included maintaining the safety, health and community standards of those who had gathered and other community members who may have been impacted by the encampment.
Officials say on Sunday night, those at the encampment ignore the school's guidelines and pitched tents. The group at the encampment were given noticed and the opportunity to comply with the school specific policies.
On Tuesday, after the school's warnings were issued and ignored, the group was asked to voluntarily disperse so the tents could be cleared.
Those who did not leave were arrested. In total, UConn police arrested 25 people.
Maric described the day as a "difficult day for the university that followed many weeks of enduring the stress of the conflict in Israel and Gaza."
A university spokesperson confirmed 24 are students and one is a former student.
All were charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.
In the letter, Maric wrote, "we encourage students to freely assemble at the Dove Tower or elsewhere on campus to express their views. In doing so, however, University policies and practices for such gatherings should be observed, which are in place in support of all members of our community and our mission of education and research. As a community, we need to consider how we can best support and facilitate constructive engagement and dialogue on campus. This is an opportunity for us to embrace the diverse points of views that enrich our academic community."
The school will be holding graduation ceremonies this weekend.

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