UW-Madison graduate students protesting working conditions were removed from Bascom Hall on Friday evening when they stayed past closing, according to university police.
The students began their occupation of Graduate School Dean William Karpus’ office when Karpus and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller left a meeting to discuss graduate-student workers’ demands on working conditions shortly after noon, according to the graduate students’ union, the Teaching Assistants’ Association.
Bascom Hall closed at 6 p.m., and officers determined the assembly was unlawful, Lt. Ryan Jesberger said. He said the determination was made based on UW System policy.
“Officers escorted 16 students, who remained cooperative and peaceful, out of the building and released them without incident,” Jesberger said.
The union has called on UW-Madison to increase pay to a “living wage,” ease the burden of student fees on graduate teaching assistants, end fees for international students and create a standing committee for improving graduate worker policies, according to a statement from the union.
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UW-Madison Police had previously met with the group occupying the office “to determine what was happening and whether people were safe” because a large crowd had been reported, according to a post by the police department to Twitter.
No students involved with the protest were arrested Friday, and none was removed before the building had closed, police said.
Friday’s protest comes after hundreds of graduate students staged a sit-in April 5 at Bascom Hall asking for the same contract improvements.