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SUNY Purchase Encampment Deconstructed by UPD Following Chaotic Night

Updated: May 10

By Barbara Kay, Jennifer Ward, Thomas Dachik, Belle Martinelli, Arlenis Marmolejos and Sophia Pallozzi.

10 reporters for The Phoenix were present during the events. 

The encampment on the Quad on May 4. On May 5, the encampment was deconstructed by UPD (Photo by Thomas Dachik) 

This morning, UPD (University Police Department) deconstructed the encampment after the mayhem that ensued last night where protestors feared the use of a long-range acoustic device (LRAD) by police and the closure of The Stood, which was shut down earlier in the evening due to “safety concerns,” according to UPD Chief Dayton Tucker. 

“You must think about what you are doing, you cannot think reckless in these moments,” Professor Sam Galloway, who was arrested Thursday night, said yesterday, addressing the protesters. “You must be disciplined and organized and think together. Now is the time for organization and discipline, not giving into panic and rumors.” 

At 9:17 a.m. this morning UPD officers arrived at the encampment on the Quad and asked students for their ID’s, according to Shaka McGlotten, chair of the gender studies department. When McGlotten asked why, UPD said they wanted to confirm that those in attendance were in fact students. 

"I was also asked for my ID, as were other faculty," McGlotten said. "Ironically, I was asked for my ID by the same officer who arrested me. I mentioned it, but he didn't seem to recognize me," they continued.

Not long after, UPD officers began to disassemble the encampment, grabbing tents, tarps, and supplies, and carrying them off in trucks. 

At 7:40 p.m. last night, May 4, UPD arrived at the Stood and informed student workers that they had orders to close the Stood. 

The Stood was open as a de-escalation space for student protesters, who needed to use the bathroom, grab food or water, or needed a safe space to sit and decompress. The encampment was still ongoing at this time. 

At 7:40 UPD arrived at the Stood to shut it down for “safety concerns,” according to Chief Tucker. The Stood was being used as a de-escalation room. (Photo by Belle Martinelli)

When asked by a Purchase Phoenix reporter, Tucker informed the reporter that it was because of “safety concerns” and the order came from an office other than the administration or UPD. 

Tucker declined to comment further. 

When asked by a protester, Bice said the order was from the administration.

Bice also wrote via email to Phoenix reporters, the Stood was closed due to “credible security reasons.” Bice also wrote the closing of the Stood was an ongoing investigation, and declined to comment further. 

Stood General Programming Coordinator, Bernardo Manzolillo, was informed that the Stood was closed due to “safety concerns” but according to Manzolillo they would not give any elaboration. 

“[The Stood] was our safe place, we’re having a really hard time and [the Stood] was really important to keep open,” said Manzolillo. “The school and Patty Bice is not allowing us to do so, and won’t explain why.”

“How is a safe place unsafe? It’s only our peers and we’re protecting each other,” he continued. 

UPD proceeded to change the locks to the Stood, no longer allowing students to enter the student run building.

At approximately 9:30 p.m., leading student protesters returned from a meeting with the PSGA. The PSGA Student Senate voted to pass a resolution, once it reached 200 student signatures, to end SUNY Purchase’s complicity in genocide through the implementation of a boycott and divestment plan in solidarity with Palestinian human rights and Palestine’s liberation, as stated in their resolution. 

“I want you guys to just congratulate yourself, without you being here, without you showing support for the Palestinian people, this would not have been passed,” said a protester, reading the resolution to the entire encampment. “This would not have been able to get the signatures we need for resolution and to be implemented within the Purchase government, so thank you guys so much. This is absolutely amazing.”

According to the PSGA, the petition needed 200 signatures minimum to officially pass the PSGA resolution. It got over 500 within the first half hour. 

The petition is still open and currently has over 1,300 signatures from current students and faculty. 

At 10:08 p.m. Bice was approached by student protestors and asked about the enclosure of the Stood. Bice responded that it was an administration decision.

Patricia Bice, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, speaking to protestors and Professor Sam Galloway, who was present as a “faculty observer–” as stated a sign attached to their chest– and who was arrested during the raid on May 2 (Photo by Sophia Pallozi)

A protester said to Bice before she walked away, “A lot would be better with the school if you would start giving answers.”

Around 1 a.m., a UPD officer was seen walking past the encampment with an LRAD machine. An LRAD, long range acoustic device, is a military grade ear damaging device, used by police as a non-traditional method of crowd control and dispersal. 

A UPD officer carrying an LRAD brand speaker. Protesters initially believed this was the model that when used, could result in permanent hearing damage. After protesters fled the encampment, they were informed that this was in fact a less powerful model that would not do significant damage and returned to the encampment (Photo by Sophia Pallozi) 

“If Patty leaves, be on guard,” protesters were saying, insinuating that if Bice was present, the LRAD would not be used. 

After the LRAD was spotted by a protester who began to shout, student protesters began fearfully running out of the Quad, and to surrounding buildings, filling up Outback and Wayback lobbies.

Protesters fleeing the encampment (Photo Sophia Pallozi) 

Once students realized the device was a different model, they returned to the Quad. While running back past the UPD car parked out front of Outback, students reported the police officer in the car was laughing while students around panicked. 

Officer Matthew Alto smiling during the police raid on May 2 (Photo by John Makes)

“Now that everyone is calmer,” said a protester with a megaphone, “earplugs are being passed around just in case. “I made [the officer] leave with [the speaker]. There’s no reason to panic. If that changes, I’ll be keeping an eye out.” 

Galloway was speaking to students, trying to calm them down, as they returned to the encampment. 

“Please convey this to your peers, they’re getting needlessly panicked. Please, all of you. Please, it’s just a speaker,” he told protesters, gathered around him. “LRAD is a brand, it stands for long range acoustic device, some are equipped with an air blast function which can do damage to your ears, this one appears to not have that function.”

“It appears that it’s okay, the cop is a doofus who didn’t know what he was talking about,” Galloway continued. “Cops also lie. But you know, don’t attribute to malice what can be accounted for by incompetence.” 

When asked by The Purchase Phoenix reporters, Bice wrote the LRAD was brought for “amplification” purposes only, in case they needed to share safety information. 

The encampment continued throughout the night and, as previously stated, was taken down by UPD officers which resulted in the protesters leaving. 

“We don’t want to be prosecuted,” a leading protester said, “We don’t want to face violations.”

© The Purchase Phoenix, 2024



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