Posted: Sep 1, 2010 8:09 PM by Alison Haynes
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Two people were arrested and the University
of New Orleans campus police chief was injured Wednesday in a
scuffle with members of a crowd that refused to leave the
administration building after a student protest against deep budget
Police Chief Tim Harrington left the scene in an ambulance,
grimacing in pain, ice packs around his right ankle.
Chancellor Timothy Ryan said Harrington was injured when he
tried to prevent studente occasions." He cotairwell to offices on
the second floor of the administration building.
UNO spokesman Adam Norris said Peter Reed, currently a student,
and Matthew Smith, a former graduate student not currently
enrolled, were arrested by campus police and will be turned over to
New Orleans police. He said they would be charged with battery on a
police officer and resisting arrest. Norris said he had no other
information on them.
Earlier Wednesday, about eight students at UNO - which, like
other state colleges and universities is facing possible budget
cuts of up to 35 percent - barricaded themselves in a classroom
building for about two hours.
They then led a class walkout and outdoor rally which eventually
attracted about 150 of the school's 8,600 undergraduates. But
instead of going directly to an amphitheater where campus police
had set up a sound system for them, they went to the administration
building, carrying banners that rf a "OCCUPY," "STRIKE" and
"RESIST" and clogging the hallways.
Once there, most remained peaceful - even walking quietly by
Ryan's office at the request of campus police.
Nobody was arrested for the original occupation of Milneburg
Hall, a liberal arts and sciences building.
"I really am hesitant to arrest kids and give them a criminal
record if I can help it," Harrington said during the rally.
It was unclear what set off the later altercation.
But police apparently used a chemical spray on at least one
student who was put into a squad car, his hands cuffed behind his
back. They poured water on him, apparently to wash the chemical
off, as he sat outside the administration building.
Classes continued after the fracas but guards were posted at the
Campus police forced their way into the occupied building around
8:30 a.m., about two hours after a cleaning crew found the
entrances blocked, said university spokesman Mike Rivault.
Rivault said the protesters apparently slept in the building
overnight and blocked entrances with tables.
"There was no danger or threats. They didn't do any damage to
the building," he said.
"When they left they helped clean everything up," Harrington
Norris said the university does not plan disciplinary action for
the Milneburg Hall protest.
Wednesday afternoon, Ryan held a news conference to talk about
the day's events and the university's budget predicament.
"We understand the pain of the students. We have brought that
message to the Legislature and the governor not one time, not 10
times but hundreds of times over the last year and a half," he
UNO, a campus of the Louisiana State University system, has lost
about $12 million in state funding over the past two years, sharing
in $280 million in budget cuts levied on higher education
statewide. At least $17 million in additional cuts for the New
Orleans school are expected within the next year. The university
has laid off workers, cut student programs and stripped money for
intercollegiate athletics. Tuition was increased to offset some of
the reductions, but that hasn't filled all the gaps.
UNO was founded in 1958 as LSU-New Orleans and grew on a site
that originally was a naval air station. The name was changed to
University of New Orleans in 1974.