Thursday, April 23, 2009

25 UVM protesters arrested

Burlington Free Press

University of Vermont students angry about budget cuts prepared to regroup today after 25 of them were cited for trespassing late Wednesday night.

They were part of a larger group that sat down about 3 p.m. outside the president’s wing of the Waterman administration building with a list of 13 demands.

Those demands included revoking recent reductions in faculty, capping tuition increases at the rate of inflation and recovering all the bonuses paid to administrators in 2008 and 2009.

President Dan Fogel met with seven of the students during the afternoon. He did not negotiate, a university spokesman said, but reiterated the school’s plan for reducing expenses.

Seven students were cited for trespassing in an inner hallway about 4:45 p.m., after Fogel departed.

“They were given the opportunity to leave and refused, so they were forcibly removed,” university spokesman Enrique Corredera said. “We did not engage in negotiations over their demands; we just responded with what our position is on those issues.”

Many students remained in the building. Others joined them until police closed Waterman to incoming students about 9:30 p.m. with about 60 protesters inside. As evening fell, the students ate pizza, passed around water bottles, sang protest songs and chanted slogans: “They say cut back, we say fight back,” and “People united will never be defeated.”

University police announced the building would be closed at 10 p.m. and anyone inside would be cited for trespassing.

The students took to their cell phones, rallying support from around campus. A crowd of several hundred gathered outside the south door of Waterman, cheering and singing.

Jean Marie Pearce, 21, a senior history major from East Albany, was one of those seated in the corridor.

“For the past six months, we’ve been trying to convince them that cuts need to come from the top, not from our beloved and needed faculty,” she said. Pearce said she was willing to protest, though she will soon graduate. “It’s still my community and my school,” she said. [read complete story]

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