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Students from U of R gather as the institution suggests probable sanctions due to on-campus demonstrations



Rochester, New York – During a demonstration in Genesee Valley Park on Thursday night, a few University of Rochester students who had been asking for a cease-fire in Gaza and were now facing the possibility of punishment spoke up.

“Drop all of these suspensions,” said Laith Awad Mohamed, organizer of Students for Justice in Palestine. “Come sit at the table and discuss with your students. Hear them out, and offer them a true listening ear.”

School officials stated on Thursday in response to the ongoing protests and demonstrations, stating that while they respect students’ freedom to express themselves, anyone who disobeys behavior codes faces suspension.

Community residents and students organized the rally on Thursday night in response to the university’s statement, arguing that suspension was an extreme measure that should not have been implemented given the peaceful nature of the campsite.

“Suspension in the university guidelines is one of the latest and most difficult things to reach,” Awad Mohamed said. “It has to be something very extreme, and what we did was a peaceful sit-in.”

According to international students, this can affect their visas.

“There’s nothing wrong with trying to stand against murder,” one student protester said. “They’re jeopardizing my future because of that.”

An encampment is still present on campus this week following two sit-ins at Wallis Hall last week.

“She assured us that every single student who was there would not have any consequences whatsoever,” Awad Mohamed said. “That’s why we decided to stop the peaceful sit-in and return to our encampment.”

Vandalism was the outcome of last week’s second sit-in, according to university president Sarah Mangelsdorf. She added that early this week, the children decided to take down their campsite.

Students assert that they do not intend to do so, nonetheless.

“The encampment isn’t going anywhere,” Awad Mohamed said. “We’re going to keep standing strong until they have true conversations with us and negotiate.”

Mangelsdorf also said, “While all members of our community have the freedom to express their views, no one can be allowed to act in ways that disrupt the work and pursuits of others on campus.”

Officials from the university have not stated if any suspensions have been handed out.

Meanwhile, amid the protests, commencement ceremonies are scheduled to start next weekend. According to officials, there will be additional crowd management, security guards, and bag inspections.