February 7, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 39°F


POC at IC occupies Peggy Ryan Williams Center for second day

As of 7 p.m., 30 members of POC at IC continued to occupy the lobby area of the Peggy Ryan Williams administrative building Dec. 8.

Members of POC at IC had been coming in and out of the building throughout the day, taking shifts between classes and sleeping in over night.

POC at IC, a student group that has been protesting the racial climate on campus this semester, began an occupation of the Peggy Ryan Williams administrative building Dec. 7. This morning, the group changed the time on the Facebook event to noon on Dec. 11 as the end of the occupation.

At 8 p.m., a teach-in will be held by Belisa Gonzalez, associate professor and director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity, according to a post in the Facebook event.

Officers from the Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management standing in the lobby are requiring anyone entering to present identification to ensure only students, faculty and staff are able to enter. An officer is also posted at the entrance between Dillingham Center and the Peggy Ryan Williams Center. All entrances and exits except the main doors are locked.

Members of POC at IC have spread their possessions, including backpacks, sleeping bags and air mattresses, throughout the first and second floor, while the third floor remains locked.

Boxes of food items remained piled up in a corner of the room, and students were generally working on their laptops and listening to music. Maura Stephens, associate director of the Park Center for Independent Media, said faculty in the School of Humanities and Sciences were donating food and would continue to do so as long as the occupation lasts.

Last night, members of the group shared personal experiences with discrimination and grievances against the administration during a town hall meeting.  

President Tom Rochon has not changed his schedule in response to the occupation, said Dave Maley, senior associate director of Media Relations.

“He’s been working in his office and around campus doing the regular business he’s had to be doing yesterday and today, and that’s the plan for the rest of the week,” he said.  

Maley said people working in the Peggy Ryan Williams Center have been able to continue work as normal. He said the occupation has had an effect on some of the operations of the college, such as the need to provide Public Safety staffing around the clock and to switch around cleaning schedules.

He said no admissions tours, which start in the lobby of the Peggy Ryan Williams Center, had been moved, but the college was considering moving tours to later in the week as more families had signed up.

Maley said Rochon was unavailable for an interview at this time.   

Staff Writers Dan Hart and Ana Borruto and News Editor Aidan Quigley contributed reporting to this article.

Parita Desai can be reached at pdesai@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @paritadesai_