Statement on protest at Center for Care and Discovery

The University issued this statement today:

Several dozen protesters entered the University of Chicago Medicine’s Center for Care and Discovery Sunday afternoon without permission. The hospital building is not yet open, and the protesters gained access during an invitation-only tour.

The protesters were asked to leave the building, first by a single security guard, and then by University of Chicago Police. When some refused, police removed them from the building, resulting in several confrontations. In one confrontation with a protester, a police officer sustained a knee injury, and was treated in the emergency room.

Police arrested four of the protesters. All four were charged with misdemeanor trespassing; one was also charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest. When it was discovered that one of those arrested is currently a student at the University of Chicago, the University’s dean-on-call program was initiated, and the dean on call provided access to resources and support for the student.

University officials are working to better understand and address the incident, including reviews of video recorded at the scene and interviews with witnesses. University of Chicago Police have initiated a review as part of the department’s normal procedures.

Free expression is at the core of the University’s values, and University officials have worked for several years with protesters related to the group involved this weekend — to answer questions, foster public dialogue and provide a venue for dissent. Previous protests, which have remained on the public way, have concluded peacefully. The University will continue to work with members of its community to ensure that their voices can be heard and their ideas expressed. More information on the University of Chicago Medicine and the dialogue about trauma centers can be found here: http://www.uchospitals.edu/news/trauma/.

At the same time, free expression must be lawful and peaceful. All members of our community, whether they are affiliated with the University or not, are obliged to obey laws and allow the University to conduct its business on its own property; nobody can be permitted to endanger the safety of others.

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