Hopkins officials call building occupation 'criminal,' offer amnesty to student protesters who leave Garland Hall

Johns Hopkins University says it will spend this year working with the Baltimore Police Department to draft a memorandum of understanding and seek community input on an accountability board for a future Hopkins police department. Meanwhile, students continue to protest the creation of the force. (Ulysses Muñoz / Baltimore Sun video)

The Johns Hopkins University president and provost describe the “forcible occupation” of the campus’ main administrative building as a violation of criminal law and are offering amnesty to students who leave, in an open letter Tuesday to protesters.

President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost Sunil Kumar wrote that the occupation of Garland Hall is “not merely a disruption, it is a violation of criminal trespass law and University policy which presents health and safety risks, and takes a toll on the entire community.”


They wrote that the consequences of breaking the university’s policy, the Student Code of Conduct and the law could mean suspension or expulsion from Hopkins or bans from all or part of campus.

Members of the protest group, JHU Garland Sit-In, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon. They have been conducting a sit-in since April 3, and locked down the building May 1, chaining doors shut and forcing the building’s closure.

They want the university to cancel plans for a private police force, an initiative just approved by the Maryland General Assembly, and they want the university to end contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The administrators’ letter detailed their efforts to meet with the students, including an open-ended offer to meet over a recent three-day window.

“We offered a meeting with no conditions, and included an explicit commitment to discuss not only the issues of concern to you but also the question of amnesty, in an entirely open, live-streamed forum and with the student News-Letter present,” the president and provost wrote in the letter.

The student-led lockdown prompted the university to suspend or relocate services such as financial aid, disability, academic advising and student visas, Daniels said in a previous letter.

Students previously have said they intend to remain at Garland Hall until Daniels negotiates with them.

The group had described an earlier letter from the president as “deceptive.”

The group has a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to fund food, hygiene and bedding during their occupation. As of Tuesday afternoon, they have raised $2,851 of a $5,000 goal.