Arrested students released from jail Thursday morning after Shared Services protest

Natalie Sullivan

After being arrested during a sit-in protest against Shared Services outside President William Powers Jr.’s office Wednesday afternoon, 18 students from the Save Our Community Coalition spent the night in jail and were released Thursday morning.

Philosophy senior Sophia Poitier said after being arrested shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday, the students were taken to Travis County Jail.

“They forced us to the back of the elevator … and then into a police car,” Poitier said. “We were taken to central booking [and] spent the night on benches.”

Theatre sophomore Blake Medley, one of the arrested students, said students were released in groups from the jail from around 4 a.m. until about 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

In a statement released Thursday, the University said Shared Services is a necessary measure to cut administrative costs.

“In these days of dwindling higher education funding, we have to be responsible stewards of tax and tuition dollars,” the statement said. “Consolidating administrative roles that are now spread across campus … can help save $30 million to $40 million each year.”

Government senior Huey Rey Fischer said arrested students were officially banned from the fourth floor of the UT Tower by UTPD, but he said that wouldn’t stop students from expressing their opinions.

“We’re not going away,” Fischer said. “We’re here and we’re having our voices grow louder and louder every day, because this plan is unpopular.”

The University’s statement said no final plan for Shared Services has been approved, and administrators will evaluate the effects of the pilot programs and discuss them some time next year.