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Protesters disrupted classes, vandalized property at U of C

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(The Center Square) – A University of Chicago student says protesters disrupted student life at the school.

Christopher Phillips, a member of the U of C’s College Republicans, said students opposed to Israel’s war against Hamas began the encampment like a great exercise of freedom of speech, but it turned into a massive disruption to student’s campus experience.

“You had people who were harassing students on the Quad, people shouting really loudly, chanting during school hours. People couldn’t focus in their classes,” Phillips said.

As the days went by, Phillips said that people with no connection to the university came in from other places.

“It took maybe a day or so for this to happen, but you started to see vandalism, spray paint with messages such as ‘Death to America’ on one of our statues,” Phillips said.

Campus authorities took down the encampment after about eight days.

Contrary to claims by the protesters, Phillips said the university communicated very well and credited University of Chicago authorities for being patient with students who camped on university property to protest against the war in Gaza.

“The encampment was up for about eight days. I think you give them a little while to get their message out, but at this point, it clearly had to go,” Phillips said.

The protesters chanted at campus law enforcement officers, who had been called in to remove the encampment.

“It seemed as though the group really did want an encounter with police. They acted like they didn’t, but in sort of a martyrdom complex, they wanted to force police to come in on them to draw more attention to their cause,” Phillips said.

Phillips said protesters harassed students on the Quad and intentionally blocked walkways. No protesters were arrested.