O'Conner Arrested by Military Sunday; Twelve Day Sanctuary Comes to Close
The 12-day M.I.T. sanctuary for John M. O'Conner ended Sunday morning shortly after 7 a.m. when military authorities accompanied by campus police woke O'Conner and placed him under arrest.
After showing O'Conner the warrant for his arrest, the police escorted him from the fourth floor of the M.I.T. Student Center. Neither O'Conner nor the fifteen supporters spending the night at the sanctuary offered any resistance. The Armed Forces Police took O'Conner to Fort Devens in Ayer, Mass.
O'Conner had been absent without leave from Fort Bragg, N.C. since September 14. His sanctuary at M.I.T., the longest ever held, began on October 29.
Armed Forces Police informed Kenneth R. Wadleigh, M.I.T. dean of students, at midnight Saturday that the arrest was coming Sunday morning, an editor of the M.I.T. Tech said.
Wadleigh had originally promised to notify the Resistance if he received word of a bust in order to protect students from the panic and disorder an unexpected bust might cause, the editor said.
Wadleigh withdrew his promise Saturday afternoon because the remaining sanctuary group was small and tired and the possibility of panic no longer existed, the editor added.
The M.I.T. Resistance issued a statement Sunday, saying they will work to convert M.I.T. into a "permanent sanctuary for truth, justice, and human decency." M.I.T. is no longer "a silent accomplice in the war machinery," the statement said.
M.I.T. President Howard Johnson, speaking to an alumni group on Saturday, said that the Institute "does not condone an AWOL soldier" but that M.I.T.'s policy is "to keep this campus open."
The M.I.T. administration maintained the neutral position during the sanctuary that it would neither treat O'Conner as a trespasser nor obstruct his arrest.