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Several protesting UNO students arrested after storming chancellor's office
by repost Wednesday, Sep. 01, 2010 at 9:25 PM

Several students were reportedly apprehended by the University of New Orleans campus police after storming the office of the chancellor and getting into an altercation with authorities. The school has seen its budget slashed, faculty laid off and services cut as state legislators look to close a massive hole. Approximately 150 to 200 students protested the massive budget cuts to the university, chanting and demanding changes at the school.

NEW ORLEANS — Several students were reportedly apprehended by the University of New Orleans campus police after storming the office of the chancellor and getting into an altercation with authorities.

Approximately 150 to 200 students protested the massive budget cuts to the university, chanting and demanding changes at the school.

Three or four students were apprehended by campus police after barging into the office of Chancellor Tim Ryan.

The school has seen its budget slashed, faculty laid off and services cut as state legislators look to close a massive hole.

A small group of students barricaded themselves in a building at the University of New Orleans while others walked out of classes Wednesday to protest deep budget cuts in Louisiana’s higher-education system.

None of the eight to 10 students who barricaded themselves in UNO’s Milneburg Hall, a liberal arts and sciences building, was arrested after campus police forced their way into the building around 8:30 a.m., about two hours after a cleaning crew found the entrances blocked, said university spokesman Mike Rivault.

Rivault said the protesters apparently slept in the building overnight and blocked entrances with tables.

“There was no danger or threats. They didn’t do any damage to the building,” he said.

University police chief Tom Harrington said the confrontation ended peacefully. “When they left they helped clean everything up,” he said of the occupiers, who were not identified.

Another UNO spokesman, Adam Norris, said the university does not plan disciplinary action against the students.

A New Orleans police spokesman said officers were not called to the campus, which is near Lake Pontchartrain several miles from downtown.

Later in the morning, about 75 students staged a rally on campus against budget cuts.

Some expressed their sentiments by walking out of morning classes.

“I think my whole Spanish class is going to participate,” said sophomore Ronnie Dents, who added that his professor expressed sympathy for their walkout in an e-mail sent to the class Tuesday.

“We are going to confront the crisis. We are not going to let them cut our school without fighting back,” said Dylan Barr, a fourth-year student in geography.

Some professors canceled classes though it appeared most university activities were not affected.

Kevin Potter and Rene Pellegrino, seniors in urban planning, said they would have been in class and not at the rally if their professor had not canceled for the day.

UNO, a campus of the Louisiana State University system, has lost of millions of dollars in state funding over the past two years, sharing in $280 million in budget cuts levied on higher education statewide. More cuts are expected within the next year. The university has laid off workers, cut student programs and stripped money for intercollegiate athletics.

UNO has an undergraduate enrollment of about 8,600. It was founded in 1958 as LSU-New Orleans and grew on a site that originally was a naval air station. The name was changed to University of New Orleans in 1974.

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