17 students arrested for refusing to leave UT president’s office

18 UT students arrested for refusing to leave Powers' office.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Seventeen University of Texas Austin students were arrested on Wednesday afternoon after they refused to leave UT President Bill Powers’ office.

The students were at the office staging a sit-in to protest the shared services proposal, which the University is considering implementing to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

The university says four functions are being considered for shared services: Human Resources, Finance, Procurement and Information Technology.

While the sit-in was allowed, it became an issue when 5 p.m. rolled around.

“Students have every right to protest and to do so peacefully,” said Gary Susswein, a UT spokesperson. “They were in the foyer outside the president’s office for 90 minutes this afternoon and that was not an issue. As the office in the building closed down, they were required to leave and they declined to do so.”

The protestors are against the proposal because it would eliminate 500 staff positions.

“It’s ridiculous to assume that cutting all these jobs, which this responsibility will now go on to other staff members, would make any of our process at UT more efficient,” explained Max Patterson who is with the University of Democrats at UT.

Those arrested will be charged with criminal trespassing, a Class B misdemeanor.

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