ITHACA, NY – Wednesday marked the third straight day that a group of Ithaca College students had occupied the Peggy Ryan Williams administrative building on campus, according to The Ithacan.
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The People of Color at Ithaca College (POC at IC) student activist group, one of the driving forces behind the campaign against IC President Tom Rochon, also organized this action. Their primary objective remains Rochon’s resignation.
Action against Rochon’s administration began in late October, when the student government called for a no confidence vote against him. Since then, there have been demonstrations against Rochon, including one in which over 1,000 students attended. Faculty are also in the process of a no confidence vote.
Starting on Monday morning around 9am, members of the group began to gather in the lobby of the Peggy Ryan Williams building. They would sit quietly on the floor or in chairs, many reading or doing homework while sitting.
Early numbers fluctuated between 15 and 30. By the end of the day on Monday, as many as 60 demonstrators were occupying the lobby, according to The Ithacan. Reports say the numbers have been as high as 85.
The administration did not attempt to remove the students when the building was set to close and lock at 5pm. Many students spent the night there, sleeping on couches, chairs or the floor. Some even brought sleeping bags.
As the occupation stretched into Tuesday, Dave Maley, senior associate director of Media Relations, said that the demonstration did not affect the schedule of President Rochon or any of the other people working in the Peggy Ryan Williams building, according to the Ithacan’s reporting.
When not studying for finals, sleeping or socializing, the demonstrators engaged in some structured activities, including a teach-in led by Belisa Gonzalez, associate professor and director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity. Another teach-in was held on Wednesday night, according to the PoC at IC Facebook page.
As of Wednesday evening, the occupation was still ongoing. According to the Facebook event associated with the event, the demonstrators plan to remain in the building until Friday, December 11.
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