USC protest encampment cleared by police

USC lonas 042024 AP

The protest encampment on the University of Southern California’s (USC) campus has been cleared by police, the school announced Sunday.

USC was one of the many universities across the country that had garnered national attention in recent weeks over the pro-Palestinian demonstrations on their campuses. In an announcement on Sunday, USC President Carol Folt said the school’s Department of Public Safety and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) “removed the occupiers who had rebuilt their illegal encampment in Alumni Park.”

“The occupiers repeatedly chose to ignore university policies designed to benefit everyone, and to break the law. We needed to act quickly to protect the rights of our 80,000 students, staff, and faculty. We are in the critical period from the end-of-term quiet study week, through finals and our commencement ceremonies,” Folt wrote.

She said she requested the LAPD to assist the public safety department in removing the encampment “as peacefully and safely as possible.” She said the order for protesters to disperse was given at about 4:10 a.m. local time and that about 64 minutes later, the encampment had been cleared.

LAPD confirmed that it assisted the school in removing the encampment, posting on the social platform X that there were “no arrests, no use of force, and no injuries to officers or protestors” during the operation.

Folt said the school “must draw a line” when protests move into “illegal occupations,” writing that the occupation “was spiraling in a dangerous direction” in recent days. She said people were being harassed, the school’s Trojan symbols were defaced and property of the school was stolen.

Dozens were arrested late last month during the pro-Palestinian demonstrations on USC’s campus. USC also announced last month that it had cancelled its main commencement ceremony due to new safety measures amid the ongoing protests.

The cancellation came after the school said valedictorian Asna Tabassum could not give a speech due to “safety concerns” after some of her posts on social media drew outcry.

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