SUNY Purchase faculty and students want disciplinary action against protesters dropped

Students, faculty and administrators discussed how to restore calm and trust on campus in a meeting Monday afternoon.

Ben Nandy

May 6, 2024, 9:35 PM

Updated 14 days ago


SUNY Purchase professors and students who were arrested when police broke up their pro-Palestinian protest are telling college leaders they want any disciplinary action against student-protesters reversed.
Professor Andrew Salomon, the SUNY Purchase faculty's presiding officer, told News 12 Monday that students and professors were looking forward to meeting with administrators to help de-escalate tension on campus that arose after the May 2 police raid on the encampment outside the dining hall.
About 70 students and faculty were arrested.
College administrators said police warned them several times to disperse, and then broke up the encampment to enforce campus 'quiet hours,' which begin each night at 10 p.m.
Salomon said in a phone interview that student life is returning to normal, but "the mood is unsettled and the mood is tense."
"We don't understand why police were called in that situation," he said. "We view that as excessive and we condemn the decision to use the police in that instance."
Students, faculty and administrators were discussing how to restore calm and trust on campus in a meeting Monday afternoon.
Salomon said their main goals are to de-escalate tension, to achieve amnesty for student-protesters from any disciplinary action by the college, and for administrators to give a full, transparent accounting of all the decisions they made the evening of May 2.
Based on a meeting with students Monday morning, Salomon said the students seemed willing to chat with college leaders.
"They see everybody at Purchase as part of the same community," he said, "and they are open to having a conversation with everybody."
Numerous students – some who protested and others who were elsewhere on campus – said administrators should know how this has affected everyday students.
"I think now it's just carrying over into being distraught," student James Anderson said. "Very distraught with the president, specifically."
"Just seeing people being handled in that way was very tough," recounted student Sarah Johnson, "especially on my campus where I'm supposed to feel safe, so it was a little difficult."
In a letter Friday to SUNY Purchase President Milagros Peña, Salomon called on Peña to take "corrective action," which may include resignations.
Peña put a note stating that the campus's "Great Lawn" has been designated a free speech zone, and that any future protests must end by 10 p.m.

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