Statement on emergency access to blocked roadways

It is very important not to split hairs when it comes to access for emergency vehicles. Student protestors do not have the knowledge, experience or authority to determine which vehicles should enter which spaces and how. Any blockage creates delay that is unacceptable. It has been confounding to see demonstrators and their supporters argue that the action was intentionally disruptive, but not actually that disruptive for emergency vehicles. Both cannot be true.

The facts are that for four hours on May 28, demonstrators stood in the middle of our west entrance, preventing nearly all vehicles from entering or leaving campus. There were multiple tense interactions between frustrated and angry people demanding to be let through. Many have said that their access was actually blocked by police. That is because we implemented a rerouting plan with support from police to help protect demonstrators from the possibility that they might be hit by a car while standing in the street.

In addition to preventing students and employees from leaving campus, the blocked roadway created unnecessary uncertainty and confusion for emergency responders. Emergency responders will only enter a situation if they believe it is safe to do so. It is a judgment call they must make in each and every incident to which they’re called.

Video of this incident shows demonstrators leaving the roadway and police officers waving the ambulance through. The ambulance would not have slowed down and stopped if the roadway was clear. This is a simple fact.

Minutes and seconds can be the difference between life and death in an emergency. It is very unfortunate that demonstrators created disruptions that limited emergency access and that they are now attempting to state that was not the case.