About 25 Yale students, protesting the administration’s response to allegations of violence against anti-war activists, entered Woodbridge Hall Friday and refused to leave until the building closed.
Entering the office of Yale President Richard Levin early Friday morning, the group, composed mostly of black and Arab students, demanded a meeting with Levin, Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead and Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg. The protest occurred two weeks after a group of men allegedly broke into the dorm room of anti-war activist Katherine Lo ’05 and left a threatening note on her message board. Other incidents of intimidation against anti-war activists have also been alleged.
Two representatives of the protesters met with Levin, Brodhead, and Trachtenberg. Unsatisfied by the results of the discussion, the protesters refused to leave the Woodbridge Hall. Brodhead spoke to the group after the meeting.
“The values of our community will be upheld,” Brodhead said. “Part of education is learning what things one needs to suppress in oneself to live in a community.”
Christopher Jordan ’04, an organizer of the protest, said he was prepared for the occupation of the building to last “indefinitely.”
“We feel unsafe and that is what prompted us to meet here today,” Jordan “We are not willing to leave this place until our demands are met.”
Levin issued a statement by e-mail at 3:45 p.m. to all Yale students, professors and staff, saying the alleged incidents, if true, possibly violated university regulations and the law. He also offered other opportunities for students to discuss the incidents.
After a second meeting with Levin, the protesters agreed to leave the building when it closed at 5 p.m.
“We’ve done as much as we can have possibly done by going to President Levin,” Jordan said.
Protestors presented a list of three demands for the administrators to sign. The list called for the administrators to acknowledge seven “violent events.” Protesters also demanded disciplinary investigations of the incidents and a promise of three meetings between the group and Levin. The three administrators declined to sign the letter.
Protest organizer Shelita Stewart ’04 said she was disappointed but said Levin agreed to some of the group’s demands.
“We didn’t get the signatures,” Stewart said. “But we will hold President Levin to his word.”