Three Vanderbilt Students Expelled After Lawless Pro-Palestinian Protest

Protesters gather
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, file

Three Vanderbilt University students have reportedly been expelled following a pro-Palestinian protest on campus that resulted in several arrests last month.

Three students were expelled, one was suspended, and 22 were given disciplinary probations for their involvement in an anti-Israel protest that resulted in a police officer being physically pushed and three arrests, according to a report by the Vanderbilt Hustler.

As Breitbart News reported, pro-Palestinian students were seen pushing an officer in order to force entry into a campus building to protest the school’s decision to cancel a ballot proposition that would have banned funding for pro-Israel groups.

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The school declined to disclose the specific number of students who were given probations, suspensions, and expulsions, telling the Vanderbilt Hustler, “Student disciplinary outcomes are considered part of an individual student’s educational record, the contents of which are protected by federal privacy laws.”

“We cannot release information that would make a student, or group of students, identifiable,” the university spokesperson added.

But the Vanderbilt Divest Coalition and Columbia University’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter took to Instagram to make some of this information publicly known.

“Chancellor [Daniel] Diermeier is notoriously cruel to student protestors,” the Instagram post read, before lamenting the university’s alleged decision to “remove BDS from the ballot” after calling it “unlawful.”

BDS, which stands for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions,” is a movement that seeks to systematically destroy the world’s only Jewish state through financial means, by boycotting companies that do business with Israel.

Meanwhile, first-year student Jack Petocz reportedly took to X/Twitter, where he identified himself as one of the students who was expelled, writing, “I was expelled from Vanderbilt University for peacefully protesting the genocide in Palestine.”

“I came to Vanderbilt with the dream of escaping the rampant bigotry and institutional repression I experienced in the Deep South. That dream has soured,” Petocz added in a follow-up post. “Make no mistake, we will be appealing and attempting to rectify this obscene and undue punishment.”

Provost C. Cybele Raver said the punished students have ten days to appeal their cases, during which time they will still be allowed to access campus and university resources.

Faculty members criticized Chancellor Diermeier, Raver, the Office of General Counsel, and Faculty Senate President Andrea Capizzi in an open letter signed by 154 professors, saying they disagreed with the administration’s actions.

Vanderbilt Law School Associate Professor Terry Maroney, one of the letter’s signees, told the Vanderbilt Hustler that the decisions made by school administrators are “draconian.”

“Some of us participated in similar sit-ins in our own day,” Maroney argued. “They form part of the protest lexicon. And while such civil disobedience carries consequences, the consequences our administrators have chosen — including expulsion and criminal charges — are draconian.”

“We call on the Chancellor to change course,” the law professor added.

Raver reportedly said in an April 5 email to the Vanderbilt community that the school’s student conduct policies has a goal to ensure student safety and opportunity for success.

“After a thorough review of the incident, including examination of evidence and interviews with students, the Student Accountability, Community Standards and Academic Integrity staff issued a range of findings and sanctions that took the individual circumstances of each student’s conduct into account,” Raver’s email read.

Faculty members reportedly said they are “deeply troubled” over the school’s response to student protests in the past few weeks.

“We hold a range of perspectives on this topic and on the BDS campaign at the heart of the recent protests,” the letter reads, in part. “However, in our shared view, the administration’s response to student activism on this issue is inconsistent with Vanderbilt’s commitment to free speech and expression in a democratic society.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and X/Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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