Protests at Johns Hopkins University over a private police force and contracts with immigration officials have escalated as several students have chained themselves to stairs inside an administrative building.
At least four students chained themselves to stairs inside the Garland Hall administrative building on campus Wednesday, with the protests now reaching their 29th consecutive day. The building houses the offices of President Ronald Daniels.
Students have been protesting the university’s contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as plans to create a private police force on the university’s campus after legislators and Gov. Larry Hogan passed a bill last month to do so. They’ve also joined calls for justice for Tyrone West, who died in 2013 after being arrested by Morgan State University and Baltimore police.
Becca Sosa, a 19-year-old sophomore participating in the protest, said the escalation in tactics is in concert with the 300th “West Wednesday,” a regular rally held by West’s family and friends.
Adela Chelminski, a 21-year-old senior, said administration officials did not address their concerns despite the fact that some have chained themselves to the building in which many work.
“They have just walked out of this space,” Chelminski said.
The two added that the students chained to the steps are prepared to wait until university officials meet to discuss their demands, but none of the students chained to the steps commented, directing questions to dedicated media liaisons.
University officials have maintained that Daniels is open for a thoughtful discussion on the matters, but not with students or organizations that break university policy.
A spokeswoman for the university did not immediately comment on the new tactics implemented by the protesters.