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About 50 student protesters vacate Portland State University library after deal reached, but some remain

Signs line occupied library at Portland State University early Tuesday.
Signs line occupied library at Portland State University early Tuesday.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW/KTVZ) — A group of pro-Palestinian protesters who are occupying Portland State University's library rejected a deal early Wednesday morning that would have ended the occupation, KGW reported.

PSU president Ann Cudd said in a letter sent Wednesday morning to the campus community that she had reached a deal with negotiators representing the protesters inside the library.

As part of the deal, Cudd said she was assured that the protesters occupying the library would vacate the library by 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. In return, the university guaranteed it would not expel, suspend or file criminal charges against any students involved in the library occupation, among other concessions.

"I fervently wish that the students in the library had signed on to our agreement, but, after their negotiators told us they had a deal, they apparently chose not to sign," Cudd said. 

After negotiations fell through, approximately 50 students left the library, but other protesters remain, including non-students, Cudd said. 

In the deal, Cudd also said that the university would work to include scholarships and creative works relating to Palestine in course requirements and continue to fund anti-racist efforts, as well as give a personal donation to the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia (MENASA) Student Center at Portland state.

Cudd also agreed to meet with student leaders on May 17, about the remaining concerns of the protesters not addressed in the deal.

On Monday evening, a group of pro-Palestinian protesters — made up of mostly PSU students, faculty and staff — broke into and began occupying Millar Library.  Protestors have said they will leave only if their demands are met. So far, PSU and Portland police have asked them to leave peacefully before officers get involved. 

The university closed campus on Tuesday and Wednesday, citing the library occupation. Cudd said they are working on a plan to return to classes and regular operations as soon as possible. 

"It is our understanding that there are also a number of non-students who remain in the library as part of the protest," Cudd said. "I continue to hope for a peaceful resolution and I offer my thanks to the entire PSU community for continuing to care for one another." 

Article Topic Follows: Government-politics

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