Dozens of students were arrested on Monday at Brown University after staging a sit-in demanding that the school divest “its endowment from Israeli military occupation” in the midst of the Gaza war.
The Brown Divest Coalition planned a sit-in at University Hall on Monday morning, and 41 students were detained. According to the school, the students were charged with “willful trespass within school buildings” by Brown’s Department of Public Safety.
“The disruption to secure buildings is not acceptable, and the University is prepared to escalate the level of criminal charges for future incidents of students occupying secure buildings,” the university stated in a statement.
University President Christina H. Paxson attended the sit-in to discuss the protesters’ requests. She later wrote a letter, which was revealed by The Boston Globe, in which she told students that their demands would not be granted and how to make a fresh divestment proposal that would be reviewed.
“Brown University’s endowment is almost entirely invested through external specialist investment managers, all of whom we believe share the values of the Brown community and who have the highest level of ethics.” This includes a stance against violence,” Brown spokesman Brian Clark told The Globe.
Students were told they would be arrested if they did not leave by 6 p.m., with the school claiming worries about the fire code and university policy as reasons for the protest.
“Given that this is the second prominent incident in recent weeks of students trespassing in a secure, non-residential building after operating hours,” the university says, “the University fully expects to recommend more serious criminal misdemeanor charges for any future incidents following the December 11 sit-in.”
Students can continue to hold rallies and demonstrations as long as they follow the University’s norms of conduct,” the university declared.
The previous November sit-in featured identical objectives, including divestment and a request for the institution to support a cease-fire.
The Brown Divest Coalition has been contacted for comment by The Hill.