PC Official: Students Occupying President’s Office Must Leave by 4:30 p.m.

Alisha A. Pina, Providence Journal, February 16, 2016

A Providence College official says students occupying the college president’s office will have to leave by 4:30 p.m.

Associate Vice President Steven J. Maurano said Tuesday afternoon that officials would not “strong-arm” the students to get them to leave, but that they will have to go at that time.

The students, through a spokesperson, say they have no plans to leave.

PC students are occupying the office of college President Rev. Brian J. Shanley until, they say, there are improvements to what they call “anti-blackness and racism on campus.”

A statement from a coalition of students reads: “Three semesters of unproductive dialogue filled with political rhetoric and complacency from administration has led to an increase in racial tension and protest.”

It continues, “A comprehensive list of demands has been presented to administration, premised on evidence-based practices, in order to rid the school of systematic and cultural racism. Despite the consistent effort from student organizers, Father Shanley continues to disagree with the demands and does not have answers as how to solve the problem of racism.”

Maurano said the school is dealing with about 45 to 50 students of color who have occupied the reception area of Shanley’s office since Tuesday morning.

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Maurano said Shanley cannot sign the group’s agreement because some of the students’ demands, such as curriculum changes, cannot be made without a discussion with faculty.

“Every time we try to explain that, they accuse us of political rhetoric and stalling. We don’t believe that is the case,” Maurano said Tuesday.

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Tweets with the hashtag #PCBreakTheSilence have been spreading the word for more students to come to Shanley’s office. They plan to stay in his office until Shanley signs an agreement of commitment.

For their part, the students have taken a vow of silence and will not make any further statements. Three student protesters have vowed not to eat until Shanley signs their list of demands.

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