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PSU students lament ruined library after protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After protesters occupied it for days, the Portland State University library is expected to remain closed until the fall.

PSU President Ann Cudd said the Branford Price Millar Library is “not suitable for occupation.”

Crews are now hard at work cleaning up after four days of protests calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Meanwhile, KOIN 6 News went on campus Friday night to catch up with students as they returned to class. Many students told us they didn’t know what ruining the library had truly accomplished and hoped the cleanup would go quickly.

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The library remains cordoned off with fencing and plywood boards to prevent entry as Portland police continue monitoring the area. Meanwhile, crews work to clean up the graffiti and damage left by the pro-Palestinian protests.

“The reason that this happened really matters to me and families are destroyed,” said Willa Herdon-Schepper, a PSU freshman. “Historically the only way change will happen is through disruption.”

On Thursday night, Protesters re-entered the library after it was previously cleared out by police who broke through demonstrator’s barricades earlier that same morning. Officers returned shortly thereafter and evicted them a second time.

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Some PSU students told KOIN 6 News that they supported students voicing their opinions about important causes, they opposed the vandalism and destruction.

“I wish when a protest is happening people didn’t feel licensed to cause damage to something that doesn’t have anything to do with what is being protested,” said Christina Osborn, a PSU senior. “I feel personally violated because damage was done to this place that I use very frequently as a resource.”

Osborn added she was sad to realize she wouldn’t be able to use the library for the rest of her time as a student at PSU.

Many students said they were ready for things to go back to normal.

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“This last week all of campus was closed. I did feel frustrated about that because not only was the library hard to access,” PSU senior Willa Herdon-Schepper said. “Everything was impossible to access, that was complicated. There were homework assignments because they were hard to get done.”

Marc Rose, another PSU student, echoed the sentiment of finding it difficult to get his studies done amid the commotion.

“There are books that are on reserve for students — how are we going to get those? There are all the students who work there now — lost a job — and there’s students who go there to study,” Rose said.

The vandalism within the library was well-documented by KOIN 6 News and law enforcement. It included broken glass, smashed computers and graffiti on walls and even on books. It is expected to re-open in fall 2024 at the earliest.

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