Statement on student and employee arrests at Day Hall

This afternoon, student and employee demonstrators engaged in peaceful expressive activity inside and outside of Day Hall, Cornell’s main administrative building. The demonstrators demanded that Cornell Trustees vote during their meetings today and tomorrow to divest from ten named companies.

Cornell Trustees Stephen Robinson and Martin Scheinman came to Day Hall and listened to the group’s demands. The Trustees explained that while the demands would not be met, they were willing to share the demonstrators’ concerns with their fellow board members. Consistent with other recent Day Hall sit-ins, the Trustees told demonstrators that while they were permitted to be in the public lobby of Day Hall during workday hours, remaining after hours would lead to arrest and referral to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (OSCCS) for students, and to Human Resources for employees.

Demonstrators remained in Day Hall despite repeated warnings from campus staff and Cornell Police that the building was closed. Twenty-two students were referred to OSCCS for violating the Student Code of Conduct and two employees were referred to Human Resources for violating university policy. All 24 were charged with trespassing and referred to the Ithaca City Court.

Cornell values and protects our community members’ right to free expression. Citing campus community members is only used as a last resort when they refuse to comply with policies or to demonstrate a willingness to engage constructively about their concerns. Protests must comply with time, place, and manner guidelines, and the university cannot permit expressive activity by campus community members that violates campus policies. Trespassing after-hours in buildings that are closed to the public poses a public safety risk that cannot be tolerated.

Joel M. Malina
Vice President for University Relations