27 students arrested at protest

Today at 11:30 p.m. police arrested 27 students for unlawful trespassing and escorted them out of the western wing of Waterman.

Students had been in Waterman since the afternoon to protest the budget cuts and layoffs.

After organizing a sit in at the Davis Center, the student activist group, Students Stand Up (SSU) led a crowd of protesters down to the Waterman building.

According to SGA Vice President Kate Ash, seven student activists from the crowd entered the President’s Wing and demanded to join the meeting between her, University President Daniel Mark Fogel and other administrators.

Fogel did agree to discuss the budget situation with them, and he explained that the cuts are final, but that they plan to reinvest $2.5 million in the University, she said.

They will be conducting evaluations of all the colleges, and allocating based on the findings. There may also be possible re-hiring, Ash said.

However the meeting was not the end of the protest.

The President’s Wing of Waterman closes at five, and when the seven students refused to leave, they were arrested for unlawful trespassing.

The rest of the protesters remained in the main atrium of waterman to continue the protest.

As the clock approached 10 p,m., Police warned the protesters that any students who refused to leave by 10 — when the Waterman Building closes — would be arrested.

Although most of the protesters left, 27 remained and affirmed that they were willing to get arrested.

When, by 10 p.m., the crowd had not shifted, police began the paper work to have the students arrested. By 11 they had begun escorting the students out one by one.

The arrested students received cheering from the crowd as they were released by police from the side entrance of waterman.

According to the Gary Margolis, Chief of Police, all the students were charged with unlawful trespassing and received a court summons.

The charge carries a maximum of sixty days in prison, but arrested protester, Kris Kretsch, said that an officer inside told him that the students were more likely to receive a fine and some community service due to the peaceful nature of the protest.

Margolis did point out, however, that one student already was in jail. Ben Fiorillo had been one of the seven to get arrested in the afternoon and he returned later that night.

According to another protester, Avery Pitman, Fiorillo was arrested this afternoon and came back to show his support at night. He was arrested a second time and brought to jail, she said.

Margolis added that the protest was peaceful; the students were cooperative and that in the end this was not between students and police.

The crowd of the protesters outside was diverse, ranging from passionate participants to indifferent spectators.

One student said that he was upset because of the lack of information being provided to students. “People would be more willing to accept [the cuts] if they knew more.”