Day After Arrests, UVA Demonstration Continues

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart

April 16, 2006

One day after seventeen students involved in the living wage sit-in at UVA were arrested, a small group of students were still standing their ground outside Madison Hall.

What was still unclear Sunday evening was just exactly how the situation inside the hall turned from negotiations, to arrests on Saturday evening.

"[It was] a matter of minutes. I mean we got a call from the inside, 'they're about to move in,' and it was all a very rushed process," explained Abby Bellows, the organizer of the rally.

The students were removed from the building just before 7 p.m. It happened when many supporters of the sit-in thought negotiations over the president's proposal were being discussed.

"We thought the administration wanted to engage in substantive, good faith dialog about this issue," said Bellows. "So we came back to the table with a lot of really constructive compromises. And instead of making a movement on wage changes, the University decided to arrest students."

In a statement released by UVA, President John Casteen said he felt the students had been given enough time to move their agenda forward.

"We believe it was important to bring this sit-in to conclusion so that others might get on with their lives and the staff of Madison Hall might be able to get back to work on Monday morning. The University takes no pleasure in having to arrest it's own students, but it was time for the disruption to come to an end," the statement read.

The crowd at Madison Hall was much smaller on Easter Sunday, but supporters there were still making signs, and said their campaign is not over. They also said the decision to arrest those seventeen students Saturday has encouraged them to stay.

"We're gonna continue to engage in various types of action to make sure that the administration knows that this is not going away," said Bellows.

She said that would include daily rallies. Bellows said that a number of speakers are scheduled to come this week.

Those arrested students were still being held without bond Sunday evening, at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. They are expected to be there until at least Monday morning.

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