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Theo Walker (center) speaks to his Spanish 302 class at Camp Coyote on Monday morning. His class questioned Occupy Albuquerque participant Rhadona Stark (left of Walker) about the protesters’ motives. Camp Coyote’s future on campus is uncertain, as its permit expires today.

Protesters may (un)occupy UNM

Occupy Albuquerque’s permit to occupy UNM’s Yale Park expires today, and UNM officials denied the protesters’ permit extension.

University administrators told protesters they must leave Yale Park by 10 p.m. today because they violated their permit conditions by staying in the park overnight, UNM said in a statement Monday. The statement said the homeless population attracted by the protest is also a problem. The group has been giving free food to the area’s homeless.

“Over the weekend UNM processed a number of incident reports involving drunken and threatening behavior on people in Yale Park,” it said. “Albuquerque Police arrested one man who threatened several people with a knife, and there were several other incidents including one involving a man who was a registered sex offender in two states. One person died in the area over the weekend.”

UNM officials said they requested help from the City to address the problem with transients attracted to campus, but said it is difficult to distinguish transients from protesters.

“The nature of the (Un)occupy Albuquerque protest is that it attracts many different types of individuals, and there is no way to assess whether people are or are not part of the (Un)occupy protest,” the statement said.

Protesters said they are considering staying on campus tonight after 10 p.m. in violation of the permit expiration, and are petitioning the administration in the meantime. They did not come to a final decision about risking arrests at their general assembly meeting Monday night.

“We are pursuing direct action,” Peace Studies professor Desi Brown said. “We are going to petition president Schmidly tomorrow. We want to get as many students here at 9 a.m. as possible … for the petition and to discuss whether we are staying.”

Protester Anthony Bono said some are prepared to face arrest tomorrow evening.

“Some people are willing to get arrested, but we haven’t yet found a consensus, so we are still working on it,” he said.

Protester John Lockridge said UNM’s policies are discriminatory.
“They are selectively enforcing … they made no effort, as far as I know, to arrest the few people that are making problems,” he said.

Brown said UNM’s administration had not made an effort to attend the general assembly meetings.

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