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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.

Protestors suspended for Kirkland Hall sit-in leave campus, await Student Accountability hearings

The students were told by administrators to leave campus by 5 p.m. CDT on March 27, and suspension hearings are beginning on March 28.
Students+gather+in+a+send-off+protest+at+Kirkland+Hall%2C+as+photographed+on+March+27%2C+2024.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FJosh+Rehders%29
Students gather in a send-off protest at Kirkland Hall, as photographed on March 27, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)

Sixteen students protesting as part of the Vanderbilt Divest Coalition were suspended on March 26 during the sit-in in Kirkland Hall. This morning, the other 11 students were suspended, resulting in all 27 undergraduate protestors being restricted access to campus. 

These suspensions come as a result of a sit-in in Kirkland Hall on March 26, which began at 9 a.m. CDT that day and concluded with all students being forcibly removed at around 6:34 a.m. CDT the next morning. 

Suspended students reported being told by Student Accountability they had to evacuate campus by 5 p.m. CDT today. Anonymous suspended protestors shared that they were all sent notices of individual preliminary hearings for their interim suspensions, which begin on March 28. These protestors are being kept anonymous for protection from retribution. 

According to the Student Handbook, an interim suspension may be enforced by the vice provost, dean of students or the dean’s “designee” when this penalty is believed to be required to “maintain university functions” or promote safety. Further, an interim suspension is not “disciplinary action” and, therefore, cannot be appealed. The Student Handbook does not specify the structure of preliminary hearings.

A send-off rally in support of suspended students was held at around 4 p.m. CDT at the steps of Kirkland Hall. 

According to another anonymous protestor who was suspended, suspended students are being housed by professors at their homes and friends who live off-campus. The protestors are being kept anonymous due to protection from retribution.

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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].    
Alison Winters
Alison Winters, Deputy News Editor
Alison Winters (‘25) is from Franklin, Tenn., and is majoring in political science and law, history and society with a minor in psychology in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her at the movie theater, reading a good book or attending a concert in Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
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Comments (16)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
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A
anonymous
1 month ago

Freedom of speech is not freedom of consequences.

M
Make Vandy MURKAAA! Again
2 months ago

This is an atrocity! To have the students go through the legal process of collecting the signatures, and to comply with the university policy during the whole process and succeed to put the item they want to vote on on the ballot, then the university just does this shithosery to remove it from the ballot. And when the students protest being scammed, the school just suspends everyone. How is this not pure fascism and authoritarianism?

The irony is that VU’s action shocked everyone to the core and it is actually causing more mobilization. People are just absorbing the shock.

Forget Captain America, Daniel Doermeoer is being captain Murka!

A
anonoymous
2 months ago

The administration has become like one leading a business not an academic institution. I cannot believe that the University went to the extreme of having Metro arrest four students. Did they forget that there is a mechanism to “punish” the students who have violated the University code?
I have second-hand experience of protests of students that occurred during the Communist regimes of a satellite country. Police were NEVER allowed on campus.
Our administration perhaps need some retraining on how to handle such incidences.
I remember very well the anti-war protests during the Vietnam War on American campuses. Rarely were police involved.
I hope the faculty has the backbone to stand up to the administration on this on!!

N
Nobody
2 months ago
Reply to  anonoymous

LOL! What an ignorant post. They were breaking the law. The school was well within it’s rights. The fact that you aren’t even aware that Universities have their own police forces tell me all I need to know about your knowledge level.

A
Anonymous
2 months ago

Housing students is a major red flag – from chapter 7 of the faculty manual:

In their relationships with students/trainees/housestaff, members of the faculty are expected to be aware of their professional responsibilities and to avoid apparent or actual conflict of interest, favoritism, bias, or other issues of professional ethics.

C
Concerned student
2 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Huh? Giving temporary housing to students who don’t have it isn’t showing favoritism or bias. They’re giving assistance to students who need it. I could see that case if these faculty members were denying housing to other students who needed it and came to them for help. As far as I know the vast majority of Vanderbilt undergrads are housed at though so that seems unlikely

A
Anonymous
2 months ago

The excerpt comes from a longer chapter on faculty-student relationships. Housing students exposes faculty to serious risks. Similar risks are the reason that faculty are instructed to meet with students in their offices while keeping their doors open.

Moreover, “avoid apparent… conflict of interest… or other issues of professional ethics” are the relevant portions here, not necessarily favoritism or bias (though it could also be interpreted as faculty showing bias towards a political viewpoint). Housing a suspended student appears as a serious lack of boundaries between professional duties and personal commitments. Vanderbilt instructors have been penalized for less in the past.

C
Concerned Alumn for Palestine
2 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

You clearly never went to college. Professors also host students for dinner at their homes often. This is part of their role in supporting students…Something the Vanderbilt administration failed to do when they called the cops on their students

N
Nobody
2 months ago

Somehow illegally occupying a building and blocking people’s free movement on campus is lost on you.

S
Somebody
2 months ago
Reply to  Nobody

Someone illegally removing items from a voting ballot and blocking people’s constitutional, and VU policy protected, rights is lost on you. Do you see what is happening now bud?

A
Anonymous
2 months ago

As a professor at Vanderbilt, I can assure you that I went to college. Hosting undergraduate students for dinner (presumably in the presence of other faculty or students) is quite different than having them spend the night.

K
Kenneth Thomas
2 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

I can recall the Chancellor at Cal requesting that professors consider housing as many Cal students as possible.

No big deal; there’s nothing to see here.

A
Anonymous
2 months ago
Reply to  Kenneth Thomas

Context? Cal is a different institution.

K
Kenneth Thomas
2 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Would you prefer Williams? UChicago? WKU?

I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. Policies about conflict of interest and faculty-student relationships, on their face, would seem to have little to do with faculty providing emergency housing to students during such an incident.

Housing a student with a “temporary” “non-disciplinary” suspension, or a suspension for that matter, absent any kind of inappropriate relationship with the student, is surely not the kind of conflict much less breach of professional duties and standards you seem to be trying to make it out to be.

A
Anonymous
2 months ago
Reply to  Kenneth Thomas

Sure – it’s not a problem until it is. It is definitely a weaker boundary that exposes professors and the university to potential liability.

A
Anonymous
2 months ago
Reply to  Kenneth Thomas

The thing is that housing an undergraduate student under any other circumstances would in fact raise these same concerns – are there COi’s, how does cohabitation affect the power imbalances, are their inappropriate relationships, etc.

The fact that it is being done in this context changes none of that.