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RISD demonstrators voluntarily leave Prov-Wash, end sit-in for dissociation

After ending sit-in, demonstrators were informed that failure to vacate the building would result in expulsion

At approximately 1:40 p.m. on Thursday, all participants in a Rhode Island School of Design sit-in for dissociation from Israel exited 20 Washington Place, known as Prov-Wash. Approximately 30 rallying protestors entered the building and escorted the sit-in demonstrators out.

The sit-in participants left on their “own accord,” after it became “clear” that President Crystal Williams and Provost Touba Ghadessi “weren’t going to budge on our demands,” said RISD Students for Justice in Palestine Spokesperson Luca Colannino. 

“Rather than letting the administration and public safety end the occupation on the terms that they saw fit, we wanted to end the occupation on the community’s terms,” Colannino added. That is “why we entered the building and escorted them out.” 

According to Colannino, sit-in participants were notified of potential expulsion only after they vacated the building. 

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Shortly after the sit-in participants left the building, Williams communicated that students participating in the sit-in would face expulsion if they did not exit the building before 2:30 p.m. 

In her announcement, Williams requested student demonstrators undergo a “restorative justice process,” which includes returning the second floor to its “original state” by Friday afternoon. Throughout the sit-in, protestors have drawn various murals and paintings on the interior walls of Prov-Wash. 

Students must also speak with students and faculty who have been “negatively impacted” by the sit-in to “listen to the impact of their actions and engage in respectful dialog.” Williams further required demonstrators to reimburse “those who have spent personal funds on no longer viable projects as a result of the occupation.”

If students do not comply with the stipulations of the letter, they will be “held accountable under the current conduct codes.” According to a RSJP press release, all students that participated in the sit-in have agreed to the restorative justice process. 

At around noon, RISD facilities and maintenance staff entered the building to dismantle the barrier erected by the sit-in participants and “create a means of ingress and egress,” Williams wrote in an email to the RISD community. 

“Because the occupation was unsafe and in violation of multiple Rhode Island Fire Codes … the occupying students were informed that they needed to vacate the space,” RISD Senior Director of Public Relations Jaime Marland wrote in an email to The Herald. 

According to the RSJP press release, “Public Safety officers pushed at least 3 De-occupiers and student protesters down the stairs” and blocked over 100 students and faculty members from entering the building during that time.

Marland wrote that “the students’ recounting of this week’s events contains a number of inaccuracies.” 

According to Marland “RISD Public Safety and Facilities staff members were on site and ensured that everyone safely exited.”

Clarification: A previous version of this story did not make clear that the students decided to vacate the building before being threatened with expulsion. The Herald regrets the error.

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Tom Li

Tom Li is a Metro Editor covering the Health & Environment and Development & Infrastructure beats. He is from Pleasanton, California, and is concentrating in Economics and International & Public Affairs. He is an avid RIPTA passenger and enjoys taking (and criticizing) personality tests in his free time.


Ciara Meyer

Ciara Meyer is a Senior Staff Writer covering the Beyond Brown beat. She is from Saratoga Springs, New York and plans on concentrating in Statistics and English nonfiction. In her free time, she loves scrapbooking and building lego flowers.


Dana Richie

​​Dana Richie is a senior staff writer for Arts and Culture and the photo chief. She enjoys using multiple forms of media to capture peoples’ stories and quirks. In her free time, she loves knitting, learning about local history and playing ultimate frisbee.


Megan Chan

Megan is a Senior Staff Writer covering community and activism in Providence. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she spends her free time drinking coffee and wishing she was Meg Ryan in a Nora Ephron movie.



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