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Pro-Palestinian protesters arrested at Stony Brook University

Students were warned they could face arrest if they did not leave the Staller Steps of the university by 11 p.m.

Kevin Vesey, Caroline Flynn and Thema Ponton

May 1, 2024, 10:05 AM

Updated 25 days ago

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Police started taking pro-Palestinian protesters into custody at Stony Brook University around midnight. The standoff happened late Wednesday into Thursday after a deadline that was set earlier by school administrators had passed.
Suffolk County police, state police and Stony Brook police were brought onto campus as students were warned that they would face arrest if they did not disperse the Staller Steps by 11 p.m.
Some student protesters remained defiant and stayed in the same place they have been since Tuesday morning.
Dozens of other students, who previously were at the Staller Steps, moved further away to avoid arrest or further disciplinary action before the 11 p.m. deadline. Once some officers left the scene, several students returned to the protest at the Staller Steps.
Some students also were seen running into the library and shutting the door and yelling at police as of midnight.
The top demand for students is financial transparency from Stony Brook University. They say they want to know exactly where their tuition dollars are going.
Another demand is divestment from corporations that contribute or profit from Israeli military operations, something that Rick Gatteau, vice president of student affairs at Stony Brook University, said was communicated to the students would not be happening.
Gatteau said the school is encouraging free speech and peaceful demonstrations but explained that while the Staller steps where they're currently organized is public, it's a spot for gatherings and events. Because of its popularity, there's a reservation system.
The end of the semester is Friday, and the space is booked solid in the coming days. Several Jewish associations are holding a block party Thursday, according to Camryn Farahmanpour, a senior on campus who is involved with Chabad for Students. She said they have no plans to relocate indoors.
While Farahmanpour said protests at college campuses around the country have made her concerned, she feels safe for now at Stony Brook University. Adding that the administration, she feels, has handled protests well, constantly communicating student rights and consequences for not obeying peaceful protest rules.
At least three students been given interim suspensions so far.
A letter sent to protesters also said that the university president is willing to meet with student leaders as early as 5 p.m. Thursday.


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