SUNY Purchase students 'scared to go outside' after college police raid encampment

Lisa LaRocca is live on campus.

Ben Nandy

May 3, 2024, 11:04 AM

Updated 72 days ago


Several SUNY Purchase students have questions for college administrators following police action toward protesters that many on campus found to be too aggressive. Video provided to News 12 shows police entering crowds to restrain protesters while a helicopter hovers above. Students – those who were protesting and those who were not – were surprised by the police response, especially since they believed the group was staying quiet and following college policy. The raid happened a few hours after the camp was set up.
"It felt very dystopian," said Zoey Hawkins, a protester who was arrested. "We just want to figure out why so many of the school's resources were sent on destroying a protest and destroying peoples' hard work."
A college spokesperson told News 12 in an emailed statement that once "quiet hours" started at 10 p.m., "protesters were given multiple opportunities to disperse peacefully," and "those who didn't disperse were arrested for trespassing.
The spokesperson did not answer questions submitted by News 12.
Students who were not protesting said it only became loud when police moved in.
They said police were arresting passersby who were taking photos, dragging protesters, chasing protesters and checking IDs of students all around the campus.
Many students stayed inside on Friday.
"A lot of kids don't want to go outside because we don't know if the police presence is still out here," one student said, "or if they're still going to be trying to find students to round up."
County Executive George Latimer said Westchester County Police were on scene at the request of the college.
"County police responded to a mutual aid call... and assisting in implementing decisions made by the college," he said through email.
Several students told News 12 Friday the police raid will not stop their cause, and they are regrouping before again pressuring the college to divest from companies with interests in Israel.
The most activity seen on campus Friday was a group of prospective students taking a tour.
News 12's Lisa LaRocca report from noon.
News 12's Lisa LaRocca report from 6 a.m.

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