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Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

UT says it will discipline students who violated campus rules during pro-Palestinian protests

By meerna Jun11,2024

People reappeared on the UT campus lawn after law enforcement cleared the area during protests earlier in the day on Monday | Grace Reader/KXAN News

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas at Austin released a statement Tuesday morning saying it will take disciplinary action against students who violated campus policies during pro-Palestinian protests on April 24 and 29.

The university has made clear that we enforce university policies, and the notices of conduct sent to students who violated our policies during the protests on April 24 and 29 reflect this commitment. The actions and stated intentions of those participating in these protests stand in stark contrast to no less than 13 previous free speech events that have taken place on our campus since October, which have occurred largely without incident. The University of Texas will continue to support the constitutional free speech rights of all people on our campus and will enforce our policies while ensuring due process and holding students accountable.

University of Texas Statement

The university said federal law prohibits commenting on specific incidents of student conduct. It was not specified how many students may face disciplinary action, but the following general information was provided:


  • Student Conduct Notices are issued for violations of university regulations and may be accompanied by non-financial holds (conduct holds) or financial holds that must be removed before a student can register for classes or order transcripts or diplomas.
  • Non-financial holds (proceeding holds) confirm a financial hold balance of $0.00 and indicate that no funds are owed.
  • Any student conduct notices issued by the University include 1) the reason for the notice (citations for violations of specific policies or funds owed) and 2) instructions on how to resolve financial or non-financial issues.
  • The university does not arrest people for protesting.
  • The arrests, which took place on April 24 and 29, were for “rule violations.”
  • Information on prohibited conduct and disciplinary proceedings can be found in Chapter 11 of the University Regulations.
  • The administrative process for student conduct is separate from the criminal justice system and does not depend on whether charges are filed following an arrest.

Background

The April 24 protest was organized by the Austin Palestine Solidarity Committee and began just before noon with a class walkout and a march to “take” the South Lawn, according to a social media post. He said he planned to demand that the administration divest or withdraw investments from Israel.

University sent a letter to the protest organizers the day before, asking for the protest to be canceled because it violated university regulations and disrupted campus operations.

After this protest, fifty-seven people were booked into the Travis County Jail. The Travis County Attorney’s Office said it reviewed the cases and determined they would not proceed because there was not “sufficient probable cause.”

On April 29, a total of 79 people were arrested after a group of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered again on the South Mall in the afternoon and set up several tents in the area. The university issued a dispersal order and law enforcement responded shortly thereafter.

According to a UT source, 46 of the 79 people arrested during the protest were not UT students. According to Travis County Prosecutor Delia Garza, the cases involving this protest were not dismissed because the office did not find the same violations and found they met the standard on probable cause.

By meerna

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