Sixteen people were arrested on Thursday morning after Students at Yale University blocked traffic in New Haven.
Police said two groups of activists wearing signs protesting sexual harassment at Yale and headed to downtown around 9:15 a.m. The groups said 23 graduate teachers were part of "three simultaneous acts of civil disobedience" that blocked intersections near the Yale campus.
Police said a group of protesters was chanting in the area of York and Elm Streets during a sit-in. After about 30 minutes, police said the protestors got up voluntarily and walked to two waiting officers. Those officers issued summons and charged with breach of peace.
Three protesters were arrested at the corner of College and Chapel streets and five more arrests were made. All were charged with disorderly conduct.
Five more people were charged with interfering with police.
"Several among those arrested thanked officers for their professionalism and courtesy during the arrest process,” police said.
Two of the protesting students were said to be hunger strikers who've been on a water-only diet since April 25. They have set up an encampment outside of university president Peter Salovey's office.
At the heart of the matter are graduate teachers from eight separate departments who voted to unionize. They claim Salovey refused to negotiate.
The president, however, said there are appeals out to the national Labor Relations Board over the issue.
“Professors have commented on my body, on the bodies of women in my department, like it’s part of the ordinary course of business,” Local 33–UNITE HERE Co-Chair Robin Canavan, who is a Ph.D. candidate in Geology and Geophysics, said in a statement on Thursday. “President Salovey says we should be patient. The time for patience has passed.”
“Generations of brilliant, talented women at Yale have had their work overseen and evaluated by men with long, well-known track records of harassment,” Julia Powers, who is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature, said in a statement on Thursday “Yale tried to put me under the supervision of one known predator. How much longer will they let this go on?”
The traffic was flowing in the area of York and Elm Streets around 10:15 a.m.
In a statement on Thursday, officials from Yale said "Yale has strong and effective policies and procedures in place to address sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct. The accusation that there are no policies in place is false. All students with concerns or complaints are strongly urged to come forward by the University and receive the support and guidance that is available around the clock. Twice a year we put out a report of all complaints received from students and and how they were addressed. We don’t know of any other school that does that. A union of graduate students would not make Yale any more diligent and responsive on this issue than it already is on behalf of all students. We scrupulously follow the guidance and the directives of the federal government to meet the requirements of Title IX."
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