There is anger at Fordham University after more than a dozen students have been disciplined for demonstrating in support of their professors last month. NY1 Bronx Reporter Erin Clarke has that story.
Fordham senior Kyle Pritz is slated to don a cap and gown Saturday, but he won't officially graduate.
He has to finish a senior thesis he says he couldn't complete on time because he was banned from Fordham's campus late last month as punishment for taking part in a demonstration April 27 that turned confrontational.
Students say they peacefully organized, hoping to speak to Fordham's president on behalf of faculty members who wanted to unionize.
They say things got out of hand because of security personnel.
"We ascended the staircase and opened the door and we were met with physical confrontation from public safety officers," Pritz recalled.
Fordham says the demonstration wasn't sanctioned and its guards aren't required to facilitate entry to protesters.
That's an argument students and some faculty members dispute.
"There's a strong argument that the security guards had no business trying to block the students," said Glenn Hendler, a Fordham professor and the chair of the English department. "If they weren't there, the students would have entered the room, presented their demands, and everything would have gone smoothly."
Pritz is one of 14 students disciplined on charges ranging from abusing Fordham's public safety officers to violating the school's protest policy.
Pritz had to write an apology letter and was banned from Fordham facilities for a weekend. Others were ordered to write a five-page paper comparing demonstration policies among different colleges.
Many also were banned from participating in student life activities through next year.
"I'm personally not worried, but I know some students are, especially the students that are coming back here next year," Pritz said.
Fordham professors are now standing up for the students, demanding a fairer disciplinary process.
Students were found guilty in a closed-door hearing and were not allowed to present witnesses or have lawyers attend.
"The whole process was completely unfair," Hendler said.
Fordham officials say the incident is under investigation but maintains the blame is on the protestors, saying they are distorting the facts.