Students at UVA Sit-In Arrested

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart
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April 15, 2006

Saturday night, on day four of the sit-in at UVA, police arrested the 17 protesters inside Madison Hall.

After a number of false alarms this week regarding possible arrests, Saturday night it was for real. The students were taken to the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail in Charlottesville.

The Newsplex obtained a student video of the arrests that clearly shows just exactly what happened behind Madison Hall as the students were removed.

At 7 p.m. at Madison Hall, the 17 students that walked into the building last Wednesday morning were loaded into police vehicles and arrested. The student who shot the video, Todd Patterson, a third-year student at the university, said that just before the arrests, it was clear something was about to happen, as more and more police gathered outside the hall.

"[It was said] by the head of the organization that they were coming through the back, so everyone rushed to the back. There [were] around 15 or 20 cops that were outside. Then they started bringing out the 17 protesters," said Patterson.

Some of the students walked out on their own, while others had to be carried out by police. More demonstrators filled the alley behind the building, but were told by a student leader not to interfere.

"One of the main things the organizers said was to not antagonize the cops. Don’t get in their way. Let them do their job. Be peaceful," said Patterson.

Early Saturday morning, after a lengthy meeting with UVA president John Casteen, the students were offered a proposal on the living wage issue. At 3 a.m., the students were still inside while many more supporters gathered outside.

Initially, the students inside had until 2:30 p.m. Saturday to submit any changes to the proposal document.

"They were set to give a counter-proposal to the proposal that was offered by the administration, and they wrote up a proposal early this morning, ran it by some people and gave it to the people inside to give to the administration," explained Patterson.

The students arrived at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail just after 7 p.m. Saturday night.

The doors were locked and no one was allowed in, but students could be seen inside as their paperwork for the arrests was being completed. Both UVA and Charlottesville police would not comment on camera about the arrests.

By 10:30 Saturday night, a crowd of supporters had gathered outside the jail and along Avon Street Extended awaiting the release of the 17 students. According to one officer, the crowd was peaceful, but they were ordered to leave. Officers were monitoring traffic coming in and out of the jail while the students reportedly returned to Madison Hall.

Late Saturday night, an officer at the jail also confirmed that no bond had been set for any of the students arrested. None would be released until Monday morning, at the earliest.

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