At approximately 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday, May 1, as verified by Fordham University Public Safety video, a group of 47 people rushed through the main entry of the Lowenstein Center building. The individuals did not present their Fordham IDs to identify themselves and ignored the requests of the security guard. The group moved to the south side of the lobby and began setting up 13 tents and hanging signs in windows facing Columbus Avenue and 60th Street.

A Public Safety supervisor went to the lobby and told the protesters that they were violating fire codes and Fordham’s demonstration policy, and ordered them to leave the building. The protesters ignored the supervisor and continued to set up camp. By 8 a.m., tents were in place and protesters began chanting, shouting, and banging drums. 

The protest continued throughout the day, necessitating the closure of Lowenstein Center’s main entrance and the corridors and escalators leading to it. Various University officials spoke with the protesters throughout the course of the day, persuading most to leave without penalty. All of the protesters in the Lowenstein lobby were told multiple times that they could depart without any interim suspensions nor any other penalty. Outside Lowenstein, a crowd of protesters grew throughout the day.

By 5:30 p.m., only 15 protesters remained in the lobby, conditioning their departure on various demands.  At this impasse, the protesters were again offered the opportunity to leave without penalty or face arrest by NYPD. The remaining protesters chose to remain and be arrested, and NYPD officers took them into custody peacefully without incident. All of the protesters were released from NYPD custody by 10 p.m. Once processed, the University learned the group of 15 consisted of 11 students and four Fordham alumni. The students received interim suspensions. 

The interim sanctions imposed on the 11 students are not unusual for students who disrupt University operations for any reason. The University’s student conduct process is focused on students’ behavior, not their political speech or beliefs.

On Thursday, May 2, the Deans of Students sent written notification to the 11 suspended students, offering each a conduct hearing time as early as Friday, May 3, in hopes that if interim suspensions were lifted, students could return to campus immediately and complete their final exams with a minimum amount of disruption.  Most exams began on Monday, May 6. 

One student scheduled a Friday hearing, and then requested the hearing be moved to Tuesday, May 7. Ultimately, all 11 students asked for their hearings to be held on Tuesday, May 7.  The University remains committed to expediting conduct hearings for the interim suspended students.  The choice to delay the hearings and the opportunity to lift the suspensions was a choice made by the students themselves.  

The University continues to allow protests on campus that do not infringe on the rights of other students to learn.