Protesters Arrested At SUNY Purchase May Not Be Disciplined

Following a meeting between students and school leaders, dozens of protesters arrested at a Westchester college will not face disciplinary consequences if they follow certain conditions. 

Purchase College.

Purchase College.

Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

The meeting resulted from arrests made during pro-Palestine protests at Purchase College on Thursday night, May 2 after protesters refused to leave campus once quiet hours began, according to the school's Assistant Director of Public Relations Betsy Aldredge. 

In total, around 70 students and faculty were taken into custody and brought to local precincts for processing. 

Several days after the arrests, on Monday night, May 6, Purchase College President Milagros Peña held a meeting with students and faculty to discuss issues related to the protests. 

According to a statement given by Peña on Tuesday, May 7, those arrested on Thursday will not face disciplinary consequences provided they do not commit further actions that go against the student code of conduct or local, state, and campus policies.

If those arrested do commit more actions against these policies within two weeks, their violations will be reinstated in full and disciplined, according to Aldredge. 

In addition, Peña, students, and faculty agreed on the following terms during the meeting:

  • A committee of students will be formed to meet with the relevant board to discuss ethical investing at Purchase;
  • An independent entity will perform a full review of the events leading up to the arrests on Thursday night;
  • The college will commit to being transparent about the companies it engages in business with;
  • Peña will give remarks recognizing the loss of innocent lives and how the college can further the cause of peace.

At no point during the meeting did the college agree to divest from Israel or take Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions action, Peña added. 

"We reaffirm that everyone on this campus has the right to work and learn in a safe environment, free from discrimination and harassment," Peña wrote on Tuesday, adding, " Our commitment is to provide an equitable educational environment, as per our legal, moral, and ethical duty, and I will continue to partner with all in the campus community who share this commitment." 

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