update deskSchools & Higher Education

Police arrest BDS student activists at Vanderbilt sit-in

A spokesperson said the university will take action “when our policies are violated, the safety of our campus is jeopardized and when people intimidate or injure members of our community.”

The campus of Vanderbuilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Credit: BugsMeanee via Wikimedia Commons.
The campus of Vanderbuilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Credit: BugsMeanee via Wikimedia Commons.

A student-led sit-in on Wednesday at Kirkland Hall on the Vanderbilt University campus in Nashville, Tenn., ended with law enforcement forcibly removing 25 and arresting four.

Police took freshman Jack Petocz, sophomore Samuel Schulman and senior Devron Burks to the Downtown Detention Center on misdemeanor charges of assault and bodily injury to another after allegedly pushing a community services officer. A fourth unnamed student was arrested for the alleged vandalism of breaking a window.

A Vanderbilt spokesperson said that “the university will take action when our policies are violated, the safety of our campus is jeopardized and when people intimidate or injure members of our community.”

The demonstration organized by the Vanderbilt Divest Coalition demanded that the university stop funding organizations identified by the activists as supportive of Israel. To that end, the mostly masked activists sought to set up a vote for an amendment to the Vanderbilt student government’s constitution.

“The blatant disregard for civility, rules, laws and the assault on an innocent security guard are all signs that prove we are headed in the wrong direction,” senior Ryan Bauman, the founder and president of Vanderbilt’s Students Supporting Israel chapter, told Jewish Insider.

“Free expression is a core value at Vanderbilt, as is civil discourse,” the university said in a statement provided to JNS. “All of the protest participants who breached the building will be placed on interim suspension.”

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