Protesters who held a week-long sit-in at Duke University say they face misconduct charges after officials had granted them amnesty during negotiations.
The group that organized the protest earlier this month, Duke Students & Workers in Solidarity, says seven of nine students are being investigated as part of a university disciplinary process.
The group says protesters were granted amnesty on April 3, But three days later, Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek informed students via email that the promise was contingent on new conditions, including a ban on the use of a balcony and bathrooms outside of the administrative suite in the Allen Building, where the student takeover occurred. The protesters called the university’s action a “direct violation of the amnesty agreement,” in a letter to the administration published in the Duke Chronicle on April 20.
The university released a statement Friday: “The students were told there would be no sanctions for their actions in refusing to leave the Allen Building when it closed, and the university has honored that commitment. However, the students were also advised in writing that to reopen the building, even on a limited basis, and do so in an orderly and safe fashion, they needed to abide by existing policies which prohibit unauthorized rooftop access. The area in question is not a public space and has never been used as such.”
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Protesters also say their encampment outside the building has been vandalized. Three gay pride flags were stolen and racist fliers were found nearby, the group said.