A group of demonstrators from Portland State University seized control of the university library last month and extensively damaged it in a bid to prevent police intervention. Their attempt was unsuccessful as law enforcement intervened a few days later and conducted several arrests. Out of the 30 individuals apprehended, only six were identified as students (two were later revealed to be homeless individuals who claimed ignorance of the ongoing arrests).

Unfortunately, the destruction caused at the library during the occupation by vandals over a 3-day period was significant. Today, the university unveiled a cost estimate for the repairs:

Portland State University approximates that renovating Millar Library will require around $750,000, with a margin of variation of $125,000.

This total does not cover the replacement and repair of damaged technology and furniture, and PSU has mentioned that they anticipate providing an updated total with those repairs included in the upcoming weeks.

The cleanup initiative began two weeks ago and is projected to continue until the beginning of the fall semester. Despite being in Portland, many felt that the vandalism had gone beyond acceptable limits. As indicated in a report by KGW, the damage could have been worse if not for an individual who entered and persuaded the vandals to spare the special collections room where the most valuable items are stored.

However, because of the location being Portland, President Ann Cudd is still facing pressure for her decision to seek police intervention.

President Ann Cudd of Portland State University addressed the Faculty Senate of the university last week. She elaborated on the rationale behind involving the Portland Police Bureau to evict protesters occupying the university’s library rather than continuing negotiation with the occupiers. She reiterated her support for free speech but drew a line at criminal activities.

“To those who have criticized our decision to bring the Portland Police on campus, I pose this question: How long should I have allowed the protesters to remain in the library? How many chances should I have given the students to leave without repercussions?” Cudd stated…

Library staff at Millar who were present at the meeting expressed feeling traumatized and violated by the occupation. Some mentioned they may never feel safe working in the building again. Another stated losing trust in the Portland State community entirely upon discovering that some colleagues were undisturbed by the library’s destruction.

Meanwhile, besides the library’s devastation, the campus atmosphere remains hostile towards individuals in support of Israel.

Natan Meir, a Judaic studies professor, has been a part of PSU for almost 16 years. He is part of a university-wide task force established by President Ann Cudd a few months ago to foster discussions and address matters of antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Arab prejudice…

“One of the challenges we face at PSU is the lack of nuanced discussions about the conflict,” he remarked. “Campus conversations have been predominantly influenced by the student protest movement, which tends to be overly simplistic…

Another PSU student shared her experiences anonymously with OPB as a mixed Indigenous student of both Jewish and Native American heritage.

Discussing the “progressive, leftist culture and social and political environment at PSU,” her voice cracked as she expressed feeling “completely and utterly deceived on both fronts.”…

“It’s currently midterm season. Our education is at stake,” she added, “while our classmates and our professors are out there, shouting terrible things, terrible antisemitic comments, and vandalizing our school premises.”…

“There is this constant expectation to… be a ‘model Jewish student’—someone who can socialize with all students at school—entailing a complete disassociation from one’s ancestry and cultural background,” she noted. “To be seen as a ‘good Jew’ in the school, you must completely sever ties with Israel.”

It is likely that Jewish students on many US campuses are currently experiencing similar sentiments. While activists constitute a minority, their vociferousness induces fear in those with differing opinions. This highlights the urgency for administrators to curb this behavior before it escalates into harassment and destruction.

Lastly, here is a local news report on today’s announcement.