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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.

IN PHOTOS: Students rally in support of 27 students suspended for participating in Kirkland Hall sit-in

Suspended students spoke to other protesters before being forced to leave campus indefinitely.
Josh Rehders
Students gather in a send-off protest at Kirkland Hall, as photographed on March 27, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)

Over 50 students protested at 4 p.m. CDT today outside Kirkland Hall in support of the 27 Vanderbilt Divest Coalition members suspended as a result of their nearly 22-hour sit-in in Kirkland Hall. The protesters called for the students’ suspensions to be “dropped immediately” and for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions referendum to be reinstated to the VSG ballot. 

The protest took place in a zone that prohibits protests and demonstrations, per university guidelines.

Some of the suspended students discussed their overnight experiences inside Kirkland Hall Their suspensions went into effect at 5 p.m. CDT today. Per university policy, suspended students are prohibited from being on campus property until the conclusion of their Student Accountability process. Individual Student Accountability hearings begin tomorrow.

“Currently, there are 27 students facing suspension on this university campus — being told that they are trespassers on a university that they paid to be at, a university that they are proud to be at because of the student body and a university that they are in fact advocating for,” a VDC organizer — who is being kept anonymous for protection from professional retribution — said at the protest. 

First-year Jack Petocz, who was among the four students arrested, said his conditions at the Downtown Detention Center were better than those during the sit-in. 

“I had access to water. I had access to a bathroom. I had access to my friends and the ability to rest. How dare this university deprive us of basic humanity? How dare a top 20 university in this country have more inhumane conditions than that of a jail? It’s disgusting,” Petocz said.

Another VDC organizer spoke on the motivation behind the Kirkland sit-in, explaining that protesters landed on the option only after all other routes to speak with administration failed. They further criticized the university’s response to and treatment of those who participated in the sit-in. The student is being kept anonymous for protection from professional retribution.

“This is what free speech looks like and, on a campus that claims to prioritize such, they [the university] should be protecting protesters who peacefully protested, rather than punishing them and taking away their ability to even have basic humanity for 21 hours,” the organizer said.

The organizer left a message of encouragement for students who remain on campus.

“This is our campus that we have a right to be on and to speak on,” the organizer said. “So we need all of you to continue to stay out here. We need all of you to continue to put pressure on them. We need all of you to combat misinformation that has been purposefully spread while we continue to fight as we can.”

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About the Contributors
Brina Ratangee
Brina Ratangee, Editorial Director
Brina Ratangee ('24) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in medicine, health & society and neuroscience. She previously served as News Editor. When not writing for The Hustler, she enjoys trivia nights, solving NYT crosswords and biking around Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
Josh Rehders
Josh Rehders, Former 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].
Isabella Bautista
Isabella Bautista, Life Copy Editor
Isabella Bautista (‘26) is double majoring in mathematics and psychology and minoring in biological sciences on the pre-medical track in the College of Arts and Science. She is from Easton, Pa. When not writing for The Hustler, she can be found spending hours alone in a piano practice room, photographing Vanderbilt squirrels with her Canon camera or poring over research papers in the lab she works in. She can be reached at [email protected]  
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Comments (6)

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2 months ago

Some basic math:

– 27 were suspended
– 50 showed up to protest the suspensions, including those who were suspended
– So, each suspended kid brought a friend, except for a few who apparently don’t have any.
– The other 99% of the student body didn’t agree or care.

Killer Marmot
2 months ago

These students thought their rights superceded other people’s rights. By suspending them, the administration sent exactly the right message: “Protest if you want, but do not interfere with other people’s education.”

Marcos Guidanro
2 months ago

The palestiains just like these folks that broke the rules at school– through heir leaders have pretty much alienated the Arab World.

Jordan- nearly 25,000 died when the PLO tried to over throw the government of Jordan

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia – expelled over 350,000 Palestinians after Arafat’s support of Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait – not to be readmitted

Lebanon – It was the PLO’s activities after they arrived in that country that resulted in a war with Israel and a civil war that resulted in Syria’s intervention

Then there is the Palestinians current open support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

The Palestinians have been provided with an autonomous territory in which they make the rules and determine the policies and living conditions, and the Arab world sees the opportunity to build a civil society – even with billions in foreign aid – squandered.

Arab nations resent that they are expected to subordinate their own national interests to the Palestinian narrative/cause. And as you can see The Gulf States, Sudan, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt have moved on. The Palestinian response, after these nation loyally supported them for years is to call them traitors.

2 months ago

I want to see your reaction, when someone will take your property and give you piece of it as autonomous teritory ))
And start killing your family members when you want to take it back…

authentic observer
2 months ago

They broke the rules, knowing they were doing so and there would be consequences, and yet cry as if they are victims. The anti-Israel zealots are the biggest crybullies I have ever seen on college campuses.

2 months ago

I would hardly call this a rally or a protest. Most of the people there were just passing by and listening in. About 25% of the crowd were the students who got arrested and photographers, looking to report about the incident. They had a microphone and were angry about their decisions to occupy a building and essentially assault the innocent unknown staff member with collective force. The students shouldn’t have been allowed back on campus. Their unreasonable actions demonstrate vulnerability of classically liberal values and foreshadow a similar totalitarian spirit to that of the Marxist revolutionaries of the 20th century.