The Vermont Cynic

Student protestors host rally on anniversary of Waterman building takeover

Lee Hughes and Maeve Gurnis

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Over 100 students participated in a rally Feb. 26 in the Waterman lobby, the one year anniversary of the 2018 Waterman takeover.

NoNames for Justice, a student activist group, hosted a rally 2 p.m. Tuesday in the lobby of the Waterman building to protest injustices on campus and celebrate the progress made since last year’s protests.

At the rally, a number of students representing various on-campus activist groups addressed the crowd including speeches from representatives of the the Womyn of Color Coalition, Explain the Asterisk, Queer Student Union and the Coalition for Student and Faculty Rights.

Last year, over 250 students, led by NoNames for Justice, staged a 10 hour takeover of the Waterman building. During the takeover, students solicited signatures on a list of demands drafted by the group while leaders met with President Tom Sullivan.

The Waterman takeover was the final in a series of demonstrations that included a hunger strike and a protest that blocked traffic on Main Street.

The rally was first announced Jan. 22 on the group’s Facebook page. It initially included a 3 p.m. celebration in the Waterman Memorial Lounge, but NoNames leadership cancelled that portion because BSU would have been responsible for what may have have occurred. 

In a Facebook post on the NoNames page following the rally, the group stated that “Due to the administration’s efforts to silence student advocacy by threatening BSU, our celebration today has to be cancelled and moved to a different day. Just know we’ll update you on the student conduct hearings of the four members of NNJ.”

In an email statement from Vice Provost Annie Stevens, the University expressed its support for student activism.

“Our outreach to students prior to, and at the rally, was aimed at preventing disruption of classes and regular University administrative activities, which would violate the rights of others,” the email stated. “It’s all about time, place and manner considerations. There are other places on campus, farther away from offices and classrooms, that are better suited for rally activities and we encourage students to make use of those spaces.”

Since the protests last year, several of the demands put forward by NoNames have been met, including the renaming of the library to drop the name “Bailey,” formation of the a diversity fellowship program and the placement of counselors at identity centers on campus, sophomore Harmony Edosomwan, a leader in NoNames, said.

“This rally is to honor that one year period, and to also boost up other campaigns that started,” Edosomwan said.

The issues addressed by NoNames also included the salary of the next University president, sexual assaults on college campuses, recent cuts to the humanities on campus and food insecurity among students.

 

This story updated at 6:13 p.m. Feb. 26 to include comment from the University.

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Student protestors host rally on anniversary of Waterman building takeover