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UT Austin offers probation to students arrested at protests, suspends at least one student

State troopers arrested protesters at UT Austin taking part in a pro-Palestinian protest on April 24, 2024.
Patricia Lim
KUT News
State troopers arrest protesters taking part in a pro-Palestinian protest on the UT Austin campus in April.

UT Austin students arrested during pro-Palestinian protests in April will face various forms of suspension, according to documents shared with KUT. The university began sending notices of discipline to students Wednesday afternoon.

Students have until 5 p.m. Monday to accept the discipline. They also have the right to appeal, according to UT Austin’s student conduct code.

KUT obtained copies of emails sent to four students. In them, university officials say these students violated campus rules, including failure to comply with directives and disrupting teaching and learning, while taking part in protests over two days last spring.

Three of the four students will receive what the university is calling “deferred suspension,” akin to probation. As long as they don’t violate additional university rules, they will be able to remain students and the discipline will not appear on their official transcripts, according to notices sent by UT.

A fourth student, who was accused of damaging property, will be suspended for two years. During that time, he will be barred from campus and unable to enroll, according to an email he received. After two years, he can reapply to the university.

It’s unclear how many students received these notices. A university spokesperson did not respond to questions Friday.

Disciplinary notices sent Wednesday come a month after UT Austin informed students they were being investigated for potentially violating university rules while taking part in pro-Palestinian protests.

During the on-campus protests April 24 and April 29, police arrested more than 130 people. Before the first protest, UT Austin told the Palestine Solidarity Committee, the student-led group organizing it, they couldn't hold the demonstration and could face consequences if they did.

To avoid full suspension, the university is requiring the students to score at least a 90% on an exam proving they understand the rules of speech and assembly on campus. They can take the exam as many times as needed.

Students will also have to state in writing they understand that if they violate any additional university rules over the next year they will be suspended, according to emails shared with KUT.

“Part of me is just grateful they didn’t do worse,” Dylan “Sky” MacAdams, a senior set to graduate in August, said. Police arrested MacAdams at a protest April 29 and charged him with criminal trespass. That charge, along with similar charges for dozens of others, has been dropped by the Travis County Attorney. Protesters still face additional criminal charges, including resisting arrest.

In the discipline notices sent Wednesday, university officials stated they initially considered full suspension for the arrested students.

“The University of Texas at Austin provides a world-class learning environment where every student can thrive. Your actions … disrupted this environment and violated our Institutional Rules,” reads the letter sent to MacAdams. “At this juncture, suspension appears to be the appropriate consequence for these serious infractions.” (Letters obtained by KUT include the same wording.)

UT officials go on to write that they chose deferred suspension for some students to ensure they could continue their education.

“However, recognizing our commitment to educational growth, we want to offer you an alternative path to avoid suspension by proving that you have learned from this experience. We offer you the choice to accept a deferred suspension,” the letter reads.

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Audrey McGlinchy is KUT's housing reporter. She focuses on affordable housing solutions, renters’ rights and the battles over zoning. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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