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DePaul shuts encampment, details behavior by protesters

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(The Center Square) – A statement from DePaul University says threats to safety and disruption of campus operations are reasons for ending a protest encampment on campus.

School officials estimated that the 17 days of protests resulted in $180,000 worth of damage to the Quad and surrounding areas. There were spray-painted buildings and etched windows and glass. There were also allegations of harassment, intimidation and antisemitism.

Chicago Police Chief of Patrol Jon Hein said police assisted in the removal of the encampment at the university’s request. Hein says there was compliance on the part of the protesters.

“All individuals who were inside the encampment voluntarily left. No confrontations, there was no resistance,” Hein said.

The university statement said knives and other weapons were found in the encampment. Hein said police were there as a precaution for everyone’s safety.

“We ensure the safety for the demonstrators, the encampment, the people inside, along with the officers and the residents of the area,” Hein said.

The encampment lasted for 17 days before university officials moved to shut it down.

“The Chicago Police Department along with DePaul University, as we approached, we had videographers with us, Department of Law. There’s no confrontations. Like I said, as we approached, all the subjects voluntarily left the area,” Hein said.

Police said there were no arrests in the encampment, but two people were arrested for obstructing traffic.

A statement from DePaul outlined how the encampment evolved from a peaceful protest to an unsafe, intimidating environment.

More than a thousand complaints were registered from members of the DePaul community and the surrounding area. Forty-five university events were canceled, including the annual FEST outdoor concert. A neighboring elementary school canceled outdoor activities due to the protest.

Hein was asked what’s next, with the campus Quad closed off.

“That is DePaul University. DePaul University is private property, so DePaul University will take control of their own property,” Hein said.