BREAKING: Students forced to exit Kirkland Hall, three arrested and 16 suspended

Students were escorted out under the guise of being arrested at approximately 6:34 a.m. CDT, sit-in to continue on steps of Kirkland.
Student protestors remain at steps of Kirkland Hall after sit-in broken up inside building (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders).
Student protestors remain at steps of Kirkland Hall after sit-in broken up inside building (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders).
Josh Rehders

Around 21.5 hours after it began, the sit-in inside Kirkland Hall over students’ ability to vote on the VSG BDS amendment ended at approximately 6:34 a.m. CDT. Two students left at various times last night due to medical or family emergencies, while the remaining 25 students forcibly left — with three being arrested — this morning after being woken up and escorted out by VUPD officers. 

The rundown:

  • All 27 protesting students have left Kirkland Hall. Two left during the night due to medical emergencies and the rest were escorted out by VUPD at approximately 6:34 a.m. CDT. Three students were arrested, but one student had their charges dropped.
  • Last night, one student protesting outside was arrested after officers saw a shattered window at the building. Another student protesting inside, who had not been suspended, left due to a family emergency.
  • Students plan to continue protesting outside Kirkland until their demands are met.
  • At 9 a.m. CDT on March 26, a group of 27 undergraduate protestors from the Vanderbilt Divest Coalition rushed into Kirkland Hall. The students are calling for the administration to allow the student body to vote on an amendment to the VSG Constitution that would prevent VSG funds from being used on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement’s boycott targets.

UPDATED: March 27, 2024, 8:21 a.m. CDT

The students who were arrested this morning were taken to the Downtown Detention Center by MNDP, according to police records. Three students — senior Devron Burks, first-year Jack Petocz and sophomore Samuel Schulman — were arrested for assault and bodily injury to another, which is classified as a misdemeanor. Petocz is being held at a $2,000 bond, while Schulman and Burks are being held at a $1,000 bond. VDC is asking supporters to donate to their bail fund.

The Hustler reviewed the video released by Vanderbilt administration of students rushing into Kirkland Hall and identified the three students arrested. Schulman and Burks can be seen at the front of the group walking forward to enter Kirkland Hall as the officer attempts to stop them. Petocz can be seen near the back of the group, and does not appear to touch the officer. The officer can be seen shoving Schulman against the door. 

Schulman told to The Hustler that the officer put his hands on his and Burks’s necks and that neither he nor Burks put their hands on the officer. The Hustler could not verify this claim due to blurring added to the video released by Vanderbilt administration. The university did not immediately respond to The Hustler’s request for the original, unblurred video.

The student who was arrested on the night of March 26 — being kept anonymous for protection from professional retribution — is currently being held in the Downtown Detention Center without bond for 12 hours, which will expire at 1:30 p.m. CDT today. Their charges are unlisted.

March 27, 2024, 7:42 a.m. CDT

In total, 11 of the original 27 protestors inside Kirkland Hall have not received interim suspension notices as of publication. Of the 16 that received interim suspensions, only three were arrested. Protestors being kept anonymous for protection from professional retribution who participated in the sit-in confirmed that the three arrested students were zip-tied when detained by VUPD and taken in a police vehicle to a police precinct off-campus. It is currently unclear if the students were taken to a VUPD or an MNPD vehicle and precinct. 

The protestors state that they are unsure why only three of them were arrested and were originally under the impression that all were going to be arrested for trespassing. Police grabbed the sitting protestors around 5:30 a.m. CDT and told them that they were trespassing. Protesters state that police arrested three students for assault inside and took pictures of everyone’s IDs. In video footage reviewed by The Hustler, officers can be holding the rest of the protestors’ hands behind their backs as they steered them outside. Protesters can be seen asking officers where they will be taken and receiving no response. One student was warned that they could be arrested for “interfering with police business” if they did not leave. 

Student protestors congregate outside Kirkland Hall after those sitting-in inside were forced to leave (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)

The Hustler and external press were not allowed inside Kirkland Hall for the duration of the sit-in.

In addition to the protestor who voluntarily left the building at around 10:45 p.m. CDT for a family emergency, another student voluntarily left the sit-in at around 2 a.m. CDT to seek medical care. The protestor who was said to have been experiencing symptoms of toxic shock syndrome did not leave until forcibly removed. 

After those who were sitting in left Kirkland Hall, a crowd that has been continuously rallying outside began chanting on the steps of the building at around 7:10 a.m. CDT, stating that they will not leave until their demands are met. A few of those sitting in joined the rally when forcibly removed from the building. 

The Hustler obtained video footage from inside Kirkland Hall taken at 7:44 p.m. CDT on March 26 that depicts Senior Advisor to Student Affairs Randy Tarkington warning students formerly inside Kirkland Hall that not abiding by the policies of interim suspension could affect them in their eventual Student Accountability hearing. Tarkington reports indirectly to Chancellor Daniel Diermeier and said he was tasked with talking to the protestors due to having “a lot of experience with protests.” He claimed he had “no knowledge” of the status of Vanderbilt allowing the VSG BDS referendum and did not agree to protestors’ demands that he send their demands up to other Vanderbilt leaders. 

“I can’t give you a guarantee about what’s going to happen. If I could, I would,” Tarkington said. 

Tarkington emphasized the importance of an unnamed student protestor accessing medical care and food. 

At the time, the students emphasized to Tarkington that they were intent on staying in Kirkland Hall, chanting “We’re not leaving.” Tarkington left the scene during the chants.

This breaking piece will be updated as more information becomes available.

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About the Contributors
Aaditi Lele
Aaditi Lele, Editorial Director
Aaditi Lele ('24) is majoring in political science and climate science with a minor in South Asian Language and Culture in the College of Arts and Science. She previously served as News Editor. Outside of The Hustler, you can find her crocheting, practicing calligraphy or counting down the days until she can see her dog. She can be reached at [email protected].    
Katherine Oung
Katherine Oung, Data Director
Katherine Oung ('25) is majoring in political science and computer science and minoring in data science in the College of Arts and Science. They are from West Palm Beach, Fla., and were previously Deputy News Editor and Managing Editor. Katherine enjoys working on freelance journalism projects and making incredibly specific Spotify playlists. They can be reached at [email protected].
Rachael Perrotta
Rachael Perrotta, Senior Advisor
Rachael Perrotta ('24) is from Cranston, R.I., and is majoring in cognitive studies, communication of science and technology and political science in Peabody College. She was previously Editor-in-Chief and News Editor. If she's not pressing you for a comment, she's probably trying to convince you that she's over 5 feet tall, cheering on the Red Sox or wishing Nashville had a beach. She can be reached at [email protected].
Josh Rehders
Josh Rehders, Photography Director
Josh Rehders ('24) is from Houston and is studying computer science in the School of Engineering. When he is not shooting for The Hustler, Vanderbilt Athletics or freelancing, he enjoys finding new music and good food. He can be reached at [email protected].
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Comments (64)

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B
Bronx Guy
23 days ago

I was arrested and jailed in a protest in DC against the Vietnam War. I was treated pretty roughly, but I never thought to complain, because I figured that would probably happen when I tried to occupy a building.

C
Common Sense
24 days ago

Watched the video of students speaking after being escorted out of the building. To clarify, a “sit-in” cannot be described as “We were not there voluntarily, we were being held captive simply because the administration wouldn’t meet our demand.” A sit-in is in fact when you are there voluntarily as a form of protest. It hurts your cause when you cannot use basic terms correctly and makes you all look like whining toddlers.

F
Fartzo
24 days ago

Babies angry, low-T screeching, lel

T
Tw Hess
25 days ago

Quoting the article:
–“Protestors being kept anonymous for protection from professional retribution who participated in the sit-in confirmed …”

Why anonymous..?? I would think they would be proud of their participation.

D
25 days ago

I just hope everybody had fun 🙂

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  Dale Everdale

From the river to the Sea Palestine will be free 🇵🇸

V
VU25
26 days ago

Thank you to everyone who wore their mask and are taking the virus seriously.

V
VU 25
25 days ago
Reply to  VU25

The masks are to protect anonymity and is a common safety tactic within protests and strikes.

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  VU25

We will and Palestine will be Free 🇵🇸

V
VU25
26 days ago

This insurrection is more shameful than January 6.

V
VU18
26 days ago
Reply to  VU25

On the one hand, a domestic facist putsch. On the other, undergraduates upset about a war abroad.

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  VU18

You mean a genocide

A
Anonymous
24 days ago
Reply to  Jesus

Your use of the word “genocide” is a rhetorical strategy (using emotionally loaded terms) that most educated people easily spot. It is a very weak ploy that has little effect on people who take the issue seriously. Your use of the term to describe the current actions of the IDF in Gaza is inaccurate and lacks substance. For a history of the term and other information, see: https://www.ushmm.org/genocide-prevention/learn-about-genocide-and-other-mass-atrocities/what-is-genocide

A
an alumni
26 days ago

Vanderbilt admin has been heavy handed and insensitive for 20+ years; if you want action to be taken generate a lot of negative press both via news media and social network. That is the best approach to get action.

J
Jonathan Elihu Burack
25 days ago
Reply to  an alumni

The negative press is laughing at these ignoramuses. Check out the Free Press.

J
Jesus
24 days ago

Also if it’s a failure why tell them so u clearly fear uprising and we won’t stop at all not now not tomorrow not ever

J
Jesus
24 days ago

From the river to the sea Palestine will be free

J
Jesus
24 days ago

And we are mobilizing A24 got it wrong it won’t be maga who throw this nation down the well it will be us .
Morning will come victory is near and nothing will stop us

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  an alumni

Morning will come, victory is neat!🇵🇸

A
Anonymous
24 days ago
Reply to  Jesus

Good morning! Feeling victorious yet?

A
Adam C
26 days ago

Admins love free speech when they’re paying war criminal George W. Bush tens of thousands to give a speech, but they call the cops when students want to vote on a non-binding resolution or have a sit-in. Anyone else remember when they expelled the president of the GSC for engaging in a peaceful divest protest?

Appalling, shameless hypocrisy.

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  Adam C

Amen

J
Jim Walker
26 days ago

From the picture they were blocking the entrance so moving them out of the way is understandable. Your right to protest does not have to impede other’s right to move freely. Protest off to the side. There were only a handful anyway.

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  Jim Walker

That’s not how a protest works but u clearly don’t agree with them in the first place so why bother acting like it’s about good sport.

MLK didn’t do it off to the side he did it face front or did u forget…. Or do u just simply not care

J
Jake
24 days ago
Reply to  Jesus

MLK practiced civil disobedience – that’s where you openly and willingly subject yourself to arrest in the belief that the cumulative injustice will win support to the cause. That’s not what these protesters were doing.

B
Bronx Guy
23 days ago
Reply to  Jim Walker

MLK never impeded anyone’s freedom of movement. There’s a lot of difference between sitting at a lunch counter and ordering a sandwich and a Coke and not letting people get into a building.

M
Michal S
26 days ago

First of all, the claims of toxic shock syndrome are patently hysterical. In 2024, that’s a you problem and not the responsibility of anyone else. Speaks to the stupidity of the student (if true, which is more than debatable).

Secondly…welcome to the real world, where if you break laws and/or rules you’ve agreed to (which every student has within the student handbook)…..there are consequences. Don’t make this a 1A issue. It’s not. You don’t get to demand to be on private property because you feel like it.

Finally….it’s great these students found something that makes them feel good about themselves. It’s a shame it’s in support of a jihadist terror group…but good for them! That Vandy degree will be shut down by the pictures of them debasing themselves.

D
Dariush Qureshi
26 days ago
Reply to  Michal S

You’re legitimately deranged and categorically useless. Nothing in the student handbook that says VU can violate student’s will to express their free speech, so they had to escalate from there. How else are they to be heard???

Also wow, didn’t know divesting from a genocidal ethnostate automatically means that you support “terror groups”. Your head is so far up your ass in cultural psychosis that you can’t comprehend wanting to do the right thing to stop a genocide that has killed 30,000+ people in counting.

25,000 Gazan children are ORPHANED within these past 5+ months because of the ideology of sniveling losers like you

A
Anonymous
26 days ago

Your ineffective name-calling notwithstanding, let’s address the substance of your claims:

There are in fact policies in the student handbook related to gather in common spaces and related to using campus resources (including space). These students may have violated these policies.

Hamas is a terrorist organization by definition. They have recently targeted and attacked civilians and taken civilian hostages. While this does not excuse Israel’s actions, it is also a fact that is too conveniently ignored by those championing the Palestinian cause.

D
Dariush Qureshi
26 days ago
Reply to  Anonymous

We don’t have any material ties to Hamas. Nothing I, or other protestors, say or do will affect what Hamas chooses to do. We have ties to the “Israeli” terrorist military. So we are working with what we have.

A
Anonymous
26 days ago

“Israeli” does not need to be in quotes. Placing the word in quotes suggests that you, like Hamas, do not believe that Israel has a right to exist. BDS also interprets any engagement with Israel as being complicit in a genocide of Palestinians. That is to say that it does not believe that Israel has a right to exist. This is the fundamental issue.

There are certainly arguable points to be discussed in regards to that view, but the planned murder of 1400 civilians and taking of more than two hundred hostages is not an invitation to dialogue. It is a show of force being met with a show of force.

There was a ceasefire in place on October 6, 2023.

D
Dusty
25 days ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Excellent post, my friend. But Israel’s right to exist, in situ, predates the madness of Islam by about 2000 years at the bare minimum. And that ceasefire that was in place apparently didn’t include “firing crap rockets at civilians” because hamas never quit doing that.

J
Jonathan Elihu Burack
25 days ago

this simply is not true. US has funded Hamas in running Gaza via its contributions to UNRWA for one. Israel itself has spent millions on Gaza over the years helping to prop up Hamas in hopes of winning them over to the idea enthat life is better than death. It’s all be a huge waste, but the US has in fact been a part of it.

J
Jesus
24 days ago

UNRWA isn’t Hamas but believing “Israel” to support your genocide is okay by your handbook

S
Susan K
26 days ago

You might want to actually read the Handbook. This temper tantrum violated at least a half a dozen university policies–perfectly legal and appropriate policies that protect the safety of all and the speech of others. You have a right to speech–you don’t have the right to force people to listen to you. Over entitled toddlers never bother to consider the Rights and well-being of other people. https://studenthandbook.vanderbilt.edu/

And because you probably live in a bubble and are unaware: The IDF in Gaza has the lowest civilian to combatant death rate in the history of modern urban warfare. Using civilians as human shields is a violation of Human Rights. Not condemning and placing blame where it belongs for those deaths means terrorists across the globe are noting that it is a successful tactic to be used in the future. You’re a tool for terrorists–literally.

D
Dusty
25 days ago
Reply to  Susan K

Excellent, factual post, Susan. You must now be soundly condemned & subjected to abuse for truthing. There’s no room for truth in the minds of leftist. Only their opinions are permitted to have a voice

C
Common Sense
24 days ago
Reply to  Dusty

Yep. Freedom of speech for extreme leftists means silencing their opponents. Civil discourse, psh, why do that when you can force other people to believe what you believe. It is the way. (Sarcasm)

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  Susan K

The iof does not have a low rate at all.
Killed more than Russia has in Ukraine
Here’s the thing you know it cuz if u didn’t u wouldn’t care and u can and have seen the birth so it is useless to hide it.

If wiping out Gaza is the only way to kill Hamas will you do it….

I already know your answer and it’s why you refuse to educate yourself.

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  Susan K

Over entitled toddlers is that what MLK was he did the exact same thing shut down roads and speaking of MLK he was against “Israel” from the start .

I guess that mean u can pretend u ever liked him on the first place.

A
Anonymous
24 days ago
Reply to  Jesus

“Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all of our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity and the right to use whatever sea lanes it needs. I see Israel, and never mind saying it, as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.” (MLK March 26, 1968 address to the 68th annual convention of the Rabbinical Assembly)

#tellthetruth
#crescereaude

J
James
26 days ago

Let’s dissect this…

There are very clear examples in the student handbook (if you’re a student, you have it readily available to read, and you’ve agreed to it in its entirety in order to matriculate) that states that you may not interfere or disrupt university activities without express permission. Just because a student has a “will to be heard” does not allow them free reign over how to do so. Protected speech is the right to not be punished or prosecuted for what you say, but there’s absolutely no law protecting people from their actions. Let alone their actions on a privately owned property.

Finally, you seem to conflate (like many of our insane generation) what is happening to innocent Gazan civilians with Israel. You have a terrorist government (which every single reasonable nation has agreed, and which even THEY themselves agree) that is using their own citizens as pawns in order for sheep like these protesters to place blame at the foot of Israel. Israel is not innocent, but what they are doing is what every other country would do in order to ensure their own survival. You just don’t like it because they’re Jews.

D
Dariush Qureshi
26 days ago
Reply to  James

IM LITERALLY JEWISH

A
Anonymous
26 days ago

I don’t believe you. If this is your real name, Qureshi is one of the most common Muslim family names and the leading tribe of the Mecca in AD 500s.

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Who cares you don’t need to be Jewish to call out genocide anyway

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Also the blatant islamphobia in saying someone isn’t Jewish cuz of their names.

A
Anonymous
26 days ago

“IM (sic) LITERALLY JEWISH,” he typed, his all-caps, punctuation-free cry bringing to mind the complaint of a petulant child who has been refused a third serving of dessert, claiming entitlements and privileges in a manner that would rival that of Donald J. Trump. Will our hero make an interesting point or collapse red-faced in the mall like a toddler with a soiled diaper in dire need of a nap? Stay tuned to find out.

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  James

Then all counties are evil, if you have to kill people to survive u don’t deserve too

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  James

And if u say it was a lie it doesn’t matter if it was true genocide is evil back then and now

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  James

It is israel fault, they bomb kill and assault innocent civilians I don’t care what you call us of this generation who has a conscience you are the ones who are beyond evil and are Agaisnt Palestine cuz they’re Arabic

H
Harry
26 days ago

College students that protest now days are just posers thinking their usefulness!In my day it was about WAR the civil rights movement has gone south because their taught communism instead

D
Dusty
25 days ago
Reply to  Harry

The anti-war protests in the 69s & 70s were funded by the KGB, making you a commie lackey. Who says that they were? The KGB.

J
Jonathan Elihu Burack
25 days ago

“genocidal ethnostate” applies very nicely to the state Hamas runs in Gaza. Every one of the deaths there is at their hands and DESIRED by them. If you do not understand why that is so it is because you do not know a thing about the reality there.

L
Liaquat Khan
25 days ago

Genocidal Ethnostate – You must be talking about Syria, Iran, Yemen, Pakistan, any other Stan, correct? Or is that just “intramurals”?

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  Liaquat Khan

Israel 🙂

J
JJ Shalom
26 days ago
Reply to  Michal S

Zionist

J
James
26 days ago
Reply to  JJ Shalom

You write that word as if it’s a slur. The irony is that one of two things is going to flesh out over the next 10-15 years for everyone involved in these shenanigans-

  1. You all will try to erase any proof that you were this naive and ignorant.
  2. You will continue your hatred campaigns, lamenting the fact that the world does not bend to your sophomoric demands. All while failing to accomplish anything of value.
D
Dusty
25 days ago
Reply to  James

100% 👍. IMHO, if not making positive changes in the world by time you’re 25, you’re a failure & will remain as such. By time I was 22 I was running a fire station & working as a captain, saving lives, fighting fire, & at the end of each shift, leaving the world a better place for others. And I used those same skills on my free time to aid others. If you’re still sitting on your butt & whining about unrealistic, childish demands by time you’re old enough to drink, take the “L”. You’ve earned it.

Last edited 25 days ago by Dusty
J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  James

You will fall

J
Jonathan Elihu Burack
25 days ago
Reply to  JJ Shalom

You bet we are. Am Yisrael Chai (“Israel lives”)

J
Jesus
24 days ago

From the river to the sea Palestine will be free 🇵🇸

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  JJ Shalom

Amen. 🇵🇸

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  Michal S

You literally think that they don’t know the real world we know the consequences we call it out cuz none of this needed to happen happen in the first place.

I wonder what ur response to MLK would been. Laughing at him from outside his cell for not “understanding the real world”.

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  Michal S

Also u just compared innocent civilians to a terrorist group and before u say Hamas no one here said they were doing it for Hamas. You admit you see all Palestine as your target don’t you

J
Jesus
24 days ago
Reply to  Michal S

Also I love how non students can comment in not one either but I don’t think that should be the case also were becoming the work force soon enough it will be you who no one will want to hire 😁