A follow-up message to the campus community about the protest at Kirkland Hall on March 26, 2024

March 27, 2024

Dear Vanderbilt community,

I am writing with an update on yesterday’s occupation of Kirkland Hall.

All students remaining inside Kirkland left voluntarily around 6 a.m. after forcibly entering the building [see video] shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday. All protest participants who breached the building will be placed on interim suspension.

The Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County Magistrate’s Office has charged three students with Class A misdemeanor assault for pushing a Community Service Officer as well as a staff member who offered to meet with them as they entered Kirkland Hall on Tuesday. A fourth student has been charged with vandalism after breaking a window in the building’s exterior Tuesday evening.

A reporter was detained outside the building after making repeated attempts to enter several locked doors that were clearly marked as such and being asked to leave. He was later released and not charged.

Another group of student protesters gathered outside the building this morning. The university will work with them to help ensure that their protest remains consistent with the university’s policies for peaceful demonstration.

Free expression is a core value at Vanderbilt, as is civil discourse. Our policies allow for members of the Vanderbilt community to protest and demonstrate regarding issues they care deeply about, and dozens of peaceful demonstrations have occurred in recent months. In consideration of safety and the university’s normal operations, we, as a matter of policy, define the time, place and manner limitations. The safety and well-being of our community is a top priority. The university will take action when our policies are violated, when the safety of our campus is jeopardized and when people intimidate or injure members of our community.

A university community, by definition, will rarely be in full agreement on any issue. The challenge is to move forward together despite our differences, based on our shared values and common purpose. This is what we must do—and what we shall do in the days to come.


Daniel Diermeier

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