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Encampment on SUNY Purchase Campus Raided by Local Police

Updated: May 10

By: Barbara Kay, Jennifer Ward, and Thomas Dachik


Six "The Purchase Phoenix" reporters were live on the scene and witnessed these events.


At 10 p.m. the University Police Department (UPD) approached students peacefully protesting in the quad on the Purchase College campus. “If you don’t leave now, you’re subject to arrest,” said UPD Chief Dayton Tucker.


Protestors gather as UPD makes arrests. (Photo by: Barbara Kay)



The protesters, most members of the political group Raise the Consciousness (RTC), began to form a human barricade by linking arms. At 10:20 p.m., dozens of police officers stormed the quad and attempted to break the barricade by charging at the protestors who were sitting on the ground, repeatedly asking aloud, “What are the charges?” 


“We will not be leaving,” posted RTC on their Instagram story during the police raid. “We believe in the power of our numbers and will not move.” 


Students were dragged to the ground and arrested and pulled away from the circle. 


“People united, we’ll never be divided,” they chanted as officers and troops continued to move their way in.


As two officers took one student away, they shoved another in their path, knocking them all down. Two other officers joined and proceeded to arrest both of the students on the ground.


Police officers arrest a student. (Photo by: Barbara Kay.)


Some students who weren’t arrested, or when released, were sent to the local hospitals due to breathing issues after UPD kneeled on students’ necks during the arrests, protestors say.


“They are brutalizing and kneeling on necks,” posted RTC. “All students defend your fellow comrades now.”


Patricia Bice, vice president of student affairs, was at the scene, and released a statement to the student body, at 9:15 p.m., affirming that the protests were peaceful.


“The students are peacefully protesting, as is their right,” Bice stated, “as long as they follow guidelines and rules set by SUNY.”


She has not released a statement after the raid.

Signs stating "Divest from genocide," "From the River to the Sea Palestine will be free," and "Never again means never again for anyone" hang in the quad. (Photo by: Thomas Dachik.)


Protestors believed the catalyst for the swarm of officers was due to the fact that “quiet hours” begin at 10 p.m., and although the protestors were abiding by these terms, officers still brutalized protestors.


By approximately 11 p.m. over 50 students had been arrested, including at least four professors, and brought to numerous police stations across Westchester County.


Samuel Galloway, an assistant professor of political science, stood still in front of protestors when UPD approached them. “You arrested all the protestors, can you please be done,” they said with one hand up. An officer grabbed Galloway’s hand and proceeded to drag them to the ground and arrest them. 


Crowds began to regather as the fire alarms went off in all dorm buildings– Central, Crossroads, Far Side, Outback, and Wayback– and students created another barricade. Students lined the hill overlooking the quad and the area around.


Two signs stating, "Genocide doesn't equal self-defense" and "Free Palestine" were posted in the quad. (Photo by: Thomas Dachik.)


At approximately 11:20 p.m., New York State state troopers began to come down the stairs to the quad, carrying batons. Protestors ran in the opposite direction as other officers tossed the remains of the encampment in the back of a pickup truck.


From 11:20 p.m. to 11:40 p.m., a standoff began between UPD and NYS state troopers, and protestors as they stood on opposite ends of the quad. Protestors continued to chant while UPD and NYS state troopers stood silently in a line. 


By 11:45 p.m., UPD and NYS state troopers had turned around and left the quad. Protestors walked after them cheering as UPD and NYS state troopers drove away. 


UPD and state troopers driving away. (Photo by: Barbara Kay.)


UPD did not respond to comment in a timely manner. 


Updates to follow. 


© The Purchase Phoenix


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Want to clarify- Wayback did not go off and was providing masks to those going in and out of the building

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