Dozens of students were arrested at Brown University on Monday after they staged a sit-in demanding the school divest “its endowment from Israeli military occupation” amid the war in Gaza.
Forty-one students were arrested after the Brown Divest Coalition organized a sit-in at University Hall that began Monday morning. The students were charged with “willful trespass within school buildings” by Brown’s Department of Public Safety, according to the school.
“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 school said in a statement.
University President Christina H. Paxson went to the sit-in to engage with protesters in their demands. She later penned a letter, reported by The Boston Globe, telling students their demands would not be met and how to suggest a new divestment proposal in a way that would be considered.
“Brown University’s endowment is almost entirely invested through external specialist investment managers, all with the highest level of ethics and all whom we believe share the values of the Brown community. This includes the rejection of violence,” Brown spokesman Brian Clark told The Globe.
Students were told if they did not leave by 6 p.m. they would be arrested, with the school citing concerns about the fire code and university policy for protesting.
“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 fully expects to recommend more significant criminal misdemeanor charges for any future incidents after the Dec. 11 sit-in. Students continue to have the ability to hold protests and demonstrations, provided they abide by the University’s codes of conduct,” the university said.
The previous sit-in in November had similar demands such as divestment and a call for the university to support a cease-fire.
The Hill has reached out to the Brown Divest Coalition for comment.