A student is released from the Downtown Detention Center, as photographed on March 27, 2024 (Hustler Staff/Katherine Oung)
A student is released from the Downtown Detention Center, as photographed on March 27, 2024 (Hustler Staff/Katherine Oung)
Katherine Oung

Hugs and hoarse voices: Vanderbilt Divest Coalition protesters visit detained students as they are released

Arrested students are being legally represented by pro-bono lawyers.

UPDATED: March 27, 2024, 12:06 p.m. CDT

At 11:37 a.m. CDT, sophomore Sam Schulman was released from detention. The student charged with vandalism was released at 11:58 a.m. CDT after being held on a 12-hour detention hold. 

UPDATED: March 27, 2024, 11:05 a.m. CDT

The charge of the student whose bond was set at $1,000 has been updated as Vandalism of $1,000 or less. 

Students who went to Nashville Downtown Detention Center to visit their four arrested peers expressed relief at reuniting with those who were released. At least 20 students are now at the jail in support of arrested peers. 

“It was very sweet, and I’m very happy that they are okay and in good spirits,” senior Christina Johnson said. 

Pro-bono lawyers for the students include First Amendment attorney Jonathan Wallace, a partner at Ratschko Wallace PLLC; Jordan Sluder, a drug crime and defense attorney; and Issam Bahour, a Nashville-based Palestinian attorney.

Senior Devron Burks, one of the released students, said that the arrested students have legal representation who are advising them to rest upon their release. Burks and Petocz were both released on their own recognizance and were not required to pay bail. 

“We do have legal representation and we have more people kind of lined up,” Burks added. 

Other students are organizing temporary off-campus housing for the 16 students who were served interim suspensions, which bar them from campus.  

March 27, 2024, 10:20 a.m. CDT

Members of Vanderbilt Divest Coalition drove to the Nashville Downtown Detention Center to visit their four peers who were jailed due to sitting in for over 22 hours at Kirkland Hall to protest the university’s cancellation of a student body vote on a VSG BDS amendment. Two protestors arrested today have now been released.

Pro-bono lawyers are representing the arrested students.

Senior Devron Burks and first-year Jack Petocz — who were arrested this morning — were released at 9:48 a.m. CDT. Sophomore Samuel Schulman, who was also arrested this morning, has yet to be released. Burks, Petocz and Schulman’s court date was jointly set for April 19 at 8:30 a.m. CDT with the same judge — Judge Lynda Jones.

Another student being kept anonymous for protection from professional retribution, who was arrested last night outside Kirkland Hall, is being kept in holding until 1:30 p.m. CDT, the police report reads. Their court date was set for April 19 at 10:30 a.m. CDT, also with Jones. Their criminal record still does not read their charges but lists their bond as $1,000.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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About the Contributors
Aaditi Lele
Aaditi Lele, Former 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 Editor
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, Former Editor-in-Chief
Rachael Perrotta ('24) is from Cranston, R.I., and majored in cognitive studies, political science and communication of science and technology and minored in gender and sexuality studies in Peabody College. She was also previously Senior Advisor 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].
Miguel Beristain
Miguel Beristain, Senior Staff Photographer
Miguel Beristain (’24) is a philosophy and cellular and molecular biology double major in the College of Arts and Science from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. When not shooting for The Hustler, he can usually be found playing Magic the Gathering, exploring new restaurants or practicing guitar. He can be reached at .
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Comments (6)

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2 months ago

Arresting a journalist, sending twenty cop cars to arrest one student for vandalism, and making protestors homeless? I’m ashamed to say I go here.

2 months ago
Reply to  Student

So withdraw and go elsewhere. I’m sure Vanderbilt will survive without your presence.

Vanderbilt Student
2 months ago
Reply to  Student

Don’t interfere with everyone else’s right to attend college unhindered by your extremism. You should be ashamed wasting your time and energy and schools valuable resources. Hamas can Free the hostages and end the war but they are not interested in that.

2 months ago
Reply to  Student

Arresting a non-student trespasser, sending several cop cars to ensure safety in a potentially volatile situation in which a staff member had already been assaulted, suspending students for conduct violations – it’s all in the phrasing

2 months ago
Reply to  Student

We are ashamed that Vanderbilt has admitted you and we hope that you choose to continue your education in the Middle East.
The adults who have graduated view you as an ingrate, a disrespectful troublemaker (who is so attached to your politics of the moment, that you cannot see that you have been manipulated,) and a fool who is incapable of acknowledging that your compatriots were going to devolve in their usual brand of violence. Twenty cop cars prevented further vandalism, bloodshed, disruption of the University and criminal behavior. True journalists report the news, they are not actively involved in destruction like you and your buddies. True working people with a quality education can see right through you.

Last edited 2 months ago by Graduate
Vanderbilt Graduate
2 months ago
Reply to  Student

I’m ashamed Vanderbilt is in the news because the student protestors were insolent and aggressive. I’m very pleased they’re obligated to prove in court they didn’t assault Vanderbilt employees.