University of Chicago students protested on campus Thursday to demand action on numerous issues in an effort to "democratize" the school.
They called for the university to, among other things, divest from fossil fuels, pay workers a $15 minimum wage, end "racist policing practices" and expand student disability services.
A group of 34 protesters tried to stage a sit-in at the U of C administration building, but officials made them leave about an hour into the protest. Students were told that they could be disciplined or arrested if they didn't leave the building.
Student Government President Tyler Kissinger participated in the action.
"I don't want students to just have a seat at the table, but instead a real role alongside faculty and campus workers in the shared governance of this university," he said in a statement.
Protesters, who alleged that decision-making power at the university is unequal and concentrated among a few top administrators, said their past attempts to get a meeting with university leaders to discuss their concerns have been unsuccessful.
"Getting a meeting with the university to discuss implementing these demands should not be an ambitious goal. But it is, because they refuse to meet with us countless times in the past," protester Juhi Gupta told the Chicago Maroon. "Regardless of even getting them to agree to some of the demands we are putting forth, they won't provide us with a public forum in which to discuss our concerns."
IIRON Student Network at U of C organized the protest, also attended by representatives from Fair Budget UChicago, Students for Disability Justice, UChicago Climate Action Network, Campaign for Equitable Policing, Phoenix Survivors Alliance, Teamsters Local 743 and others.
For its part, the university says meetings are held often between school officials and students in a variety of forums to talk about issues.
"Dissent and protest are integral to the life of the University of Chicago," reads the university's statement responding to Thursday's protest. "The university welcomes a wide range of voices, and has policies ensuring that all members of our community have broad freedom to share their opinions and engage in rigorous debate. These policies provide guidance for protests and demonstrations, protecting students' right to expression while maintaining the normal functioning of the university."