Protesters Occupy RISD Building

No sooner had the protesters at Brown University reached an agreement with “The Corporation” and decamped from the Main Green than students at RISD took over the second floor of the administrative and academic building at Washington Place. They certainly have a captive audience; this is at the intersection of North Main Street which is particularly busy at rush hour. President Crystal Williams and Provost Touba Ghadessi met with the students Monday evening and into the early morning, but no agreement could be reached. Details at the ProJo including the protesters’ statement:

“We have instead made the unanimous decision to proceed in a way that best aligns with our demands and manifesto,” the students wrote. “We, the 22 occupiers, and representatives for RISD Student Justice in Palestine stand firm in our solidarity with Palestinian liberation and will continue to demand disclosure, divestment, the establishment of a student oversight committee and a condemnation of the genocide taking place in Gaza.”

The situation is fluid. What happens now?

[President Williams] acknowledged the important role artists have played in social movements, but said “The occupation negatively impacts many students and breaches trust, goodwill, and our collective commitment to education.”

“Regardless of one’s views or the fortitude of one’s beliefs, to impede the right of another to study, learn, and pursue education at RISD is undefendable,” she wrote.

“If RJSP students vacate academic spaces and agree to not disrupt Commencement, my discussions with the Board on their behalf will continue. I welcome them into a productive conversation about moving this potentiality forward,” she wrote.

The RISD commencement ceremony is June 1st.

[Additional note: The students left the building on Thursday, but the protest outside on the sidewalk will continue.]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Providence Daily Dose