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Live Updates from the Purchase College Encampment

Updated: May 10

By: Barbara Kay, Jennifer Ward, Arlenis Marmolejos, Thomas Dachik, and Natalie Tulloch


An encampment is being held on the quad between Outback and Dining Hall on campus.


Students set up encampments outside the Dining Hall and Outback. (Photo by: Natalie Tulloch.)


At around 5:10 p.m., members of the political group Raise the Consciousness (RTC) planned an “encampment” in response to Purchase Colleges’ lack of response, they say, to the occupation of Palestine by Israel. 


According to the Austin American-Statesmen, an “encampment” is a demonstration set up by a group of people in protest. This is similar to the protests going on at Columbia University where their pro-Palestine encampment was raided by the New York State Police Department (NYPD).


Approximately a minute after RTC was set up, the UPD pulled onto the grass and approached the protestors. UPD demanded that they “put [their] tents down.” 


Tents were turned into mats for those encamping to sit on, as it’s against the student code of conduct. 


"We are committed to maintaining that right and the safety of the entire campus so that all members are free to learn, work, and live without disruption or bias. Please make sure to have your ID with you when coming on campus or leaving," wrote Patricia Bice, the vice president for student affairs in an email sent out to the school at 9:15 p.m.


She continued, "As we understand that free speech activities may be distressing to those who are in opposition to the protestors, please note that counseling is available to support those who need it."


“If you don’t leave, you will be trespassing and placed under arrest,” one officer warned. Others demanded protestors and others in the vicinity for their IDs. 


Protestors had on bandanas, masks, and a Palestinain flag. One protestor– who said he was not a student– showed up with a Lowe’s bucket filled with bricks and was escorted off campus. 


UPD proceeded to inform students if they were not students currently enrolled with their More Card, or student IDs, they had to leave campus. At approximately 5:55 p.m., UPD announced that the campus would be shut down. 


Loop services are currently not running, and there is an over-hour line to get onto campus. Students without More Cards will not be allowed on campus at this time. Guests will also not be able to enter campus as well.


“I waited on Anderson Hill for [half an hour],” said Sydnee Fouse a senior communications major. “I [couldn’t] even turn in, I [had] to go down and then get in the line [onto campus].” 


According to News 12, 50 non-students were escorted off of the campus.


Protestors were chanting “Free Free Free Palestine,” “SUNY Purchase you can’t hide you’re funding genocide,” and “UPD KKK.”


Other students felt differently than those encamping. Niko Sanni, a senior communications major, said the protesters were “theatrical.” 


“You should be able to talk about it. You should be able to engage in discourse,” said Sanni. “At least tell what the person is asking, ‘What are you here protesting for?’ Instead, you get all clammed up.”


UPD declined to comment. 


“The fact that we have to protest is crazy and stupid,” said Rosie Pastrana, a sociology major who was observing, and supporting, the encampment. “To me, I feel sad we have to do this in the first place.”


There was also a drone– whose owner has not been identified– hovering over the Central dorm, and a helicopter flying around campus.


Students have established a security team and advised their fellow protestors to “move as a group.”


“We’re here to say something and have our demands met,” said the student leader of the encampment’s security, referring to their demand for SUNY Purchase to divest from Israel. 


Updates to follow.


RTC's list of agreements and demands. (Photo by: Natalie Tulloch.)


© The Purchase Phoenix, 2024


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