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Police Arrest M.I.T. Protesters After Suspensions Ramp Up Tension

USPolice Arrest M.I.T. Protesters After Suspensions Ramp Up Tension


Several protesters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were arrested on Thursday after blocking access to a parking garage on campus, a day after some students involved in the pro-Palestinian encampment there received notices of suspension from the university.

University police arrested “fewer than 10” people, according to a statement posted Thursday night on M.I.T.’s emergency management website. It was unclear what charges they would face, and a university spokesperson declined to comment further.

The university had set a Monday deadline for protesters to vacate the encampment on the Cambridge campus or face suspension. Since then, the M.I.T. administration has begun sending notices of suspension to students who it says defied the deadline. Administrators would not say how many students had been suspended.

“This means you will be prohibited from participating in any academic activities — including classes, exams or research — for the remainder of the semester,” said a letter received by one student and viewed by a reporter. “You will also be prohibited from participating in commencement activities or any cocurricular or extracurricular activities.”

The university had detailed the consequences of suspension in a letter to student protesters before the Monday deadline, making clear that those who had previously been disciplined “related to events since Oct. 7” would also be barred from university housing and dining halls.

As an additional condition of suspension, some students also lost their eligibility to be employed by the university, a penalty that cut off the income of graduate student employees who were suspended.

“I don’t know what comes next,” said Prahlad Iyengar, a first-year graduate student who said he had lost his income and housing as a result of his suspension. “I have friends and a community, and I can find a place, but there are people affected who are housing- and food-insecure, some with children.”

M.I.T.’s president, Sally Kornbluth, was one of three university leaders who were harshly criticized last year for their testimony in a congressional hearing about campus antisemitism. The other two, Claudine Gay of Harvard and Elizabeth Magill of the University of Pennsylvania, resigned in the fallout.

Although Ms. Kornbluth did not face the same level of criticism, hundreds of M.I.T. alumni signed a letter calling for the university to take stronger actions to combat campus antisemitism.

In a letter to the campus on Monday, she wrote: “This prolonged use of M.I.T. property as a venue for protest, without permission, especially on an issue with such sharp disagreement, is no longer safely sustainable.”



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