The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Community reacts to Capitol Hill riots

VCD, VCR and the university condemn the riots on Capitol Hill.
A pro-Trump mob storm Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2020. (Associated Press/Julio Cortez)

Vanderbilt issued a statement condemning the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill. Following suit, student organizations including Vanderbilt College Democrats (VCD) and Vanderbilt College Republicans (VCR) also published statements of condemnation.

A pro-Trump mob stormed Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, during the Electoral College confirmation vote, forcing U.S. lawmakers to hide. At the conclusion of the riots, five people had died, including one police officer on duty.

The Congress reconvened in the evening and finished the confirmation of the vote early the next morning, resulting in 306-232 victory for Democratic Candidate Joe Biden.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that House could work to impeach Trump if he did not immediately resign. In addition, social media companies including Twitter and Facebook suspended the President.

President Donald Trump committed to “ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power” on Twitter following the certification of the vote.

Vanderbilt’s statement follows:

Vanderbilt University strongly condemns today’s violent and deeply disturbing assault on the U.S. Capitol and on our democracy. Using violence to undermine and disrupt our democratic institutions and processes simply has no place in our country. Our divisions strain our ability to solve our nation’s most difficult challenges. The United States faces many headwinds threatening to tear at the social fabric of our communities, including a horrific pandemic, but overcoming them will require a commitment to the values and institutions that unite us. As an institution committed to vigorous debate and the exchange of differing ideas in a culture of civility and mutual respect, we firmly believe that the common interests, values, hopes and aspirations we all share are much greater than what divides us. Through intention and effort, we must advance much-needed dialogue and help bridge what keeps us apart,” the university’s full statement read.

VCD President Devon Shewell said in a message to The Hustler he was appalled when he first heard about the event. 

“I was angry and disgusted as I watched the events at the [Capitol] develop, although I wasn’t particularly surprised based off the acts of Donald Trump and his party,” Shewell said.

Shewell sent the following Jan. 7 statement on behalf of VCD to The Hustler yesterday:

Vanderbilt College Democrats unequivocally condemns the January 6th domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol Building. We are disgusted by this lawlessness, and the offenders need to be held responsible. Make no mistake, Donald Trump, Bill Lee, Marsha Blackburn, and Bill Hagerty, the Republican Congressional Delegation of Tennessee, and countless others enabled these events.

VCR President Donald Hall said in a message to The Hustler that VCR’s immediate reaction was shock that eventually turned into clarity that this event was the culmination of the President’s rhetoric about the election.

“We decided on the wording of our statement in order to clarify our opposition not only to the actions of those violent individuals, but also to the baseless claims President Trump has been making about the election that have gotten us to this point,” Hall said.

VCR released its following statement in a Jan. 6 Instagram post.

The Vanderbilt College Republicans unequivocally condemn the violent and uncivil actions of the protestors in Washington D.C. this afternoon. The right to peacefully protest is one of the most sacred rights that is protected by our country’s Constitution, but the perversion of this right into a justification for violent action is reprehensible and a detriment to our society. 

In our previous press release on December 18, the Executive Board recognized the 2020 Presidential election as being won by President-elect Biden and called for unity among Republicans to disavow the baseless claims of a fraudulent election, which President Trump has continued to peddle to American voters. In addition, we showed how Republicans had a great deal to look forward to, with gains coming in the House of Representatives and many successes in state legislatures all across the country. Now, all of this is marred and thrown by the wayside due to the actions of the detestable and violent individuals in Washington D.C. today.

The United States Capitol building is one of the most important symbols of our form of government; it embodies the history of our country, with all its glaring flaws and unprecedented accomplishments. An assault on the Capitol, though we may disagree with those who work there, is an assault on the American people who elected them and the process which we hold dear.    

Our hearts are heavy with the fact that 2021, a year which many of us hoped to forge ahead to a brighter future and all of us wished to be better than the last, begins on such a low and despicable note. The tribalism of our country’s politics and the vitriol with which Americans treat those of opposing viewpoints is unacceptable for a nation so great as ours. We hope and pray that the night will end peacefully, and that no more such events occur in the future.

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About the Contributor
Immanual John Milton
Immanual John Milton, Former Editor in Chief
Immanual John Milton ('22) is from Minneapolis, MN. He studies computer science, economics and business. Before being Editor in Chief, Immanual was a deputy news editor. He can be reached at [email protected].    
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