Pro-Hamas Protesters at Vanderbilt University Call 9-1-1- About a Tampon

AP Photo/The Tennessean, Ricky Rogers, File

About 30 Vanderbilt University students marched into the halls of Chancellor Daniel Diermeier’s office on Tuesday to hold a sit-in. Another 30 students were on the steps outside the building protesting for hours even though they were warned of potential suspension and forced removal.


By 6:00 a.m. Wednesday the student demonstrators had voluntarily left the area. A total of about 60 demonstrators isn't very impressive when the total number of students is up to almost 14,000. 

The students were protesting the administration's removal of an anti-Israel boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) initiative from the student ballot. Bless their hearts. Antisemitism on college campuses is a curse felt in large numbers on college campuses. 

An amendment to the Vanderbilt Student Government Constitution would have prevented student government funds from going to certain businesses that support Israel. 

The student amendment, which garnered over 600 signatures — well above the required amount to be put on the student ballot — followed guidelines from the national Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement to prohibit the spending of funds on businesses deemed “complicit” in Israel’s post-1967 occupation of part of Palestine.

It was proposed by Vanderbilt’s Divest Coalition, a conglomeration of around 20 student organizations and over 1,000 students.

Vanderbilt administration told The Tennessean in a recent statement that the “student-led effort to pass a resolution proposing Vanderbilt Student Government adopt boycott, divestment and sanctions tactics did not move forward because of potential conflict with federal and state laws.”

The statement said any activity relating to boycotts from the university could make the university “ineligible for new state contracts and could have existing contracts voided.”


Why should 600 people who are willing to put their signature on an antisemitic resolution be allowed to make such decisions? They shouldn't, as Vanderbilt administrators show in their removal of the resolution from the student ballot. Someone has to have some practical knowledge of how the world works. The grown-ups have to be in charge. 

The protest lasted for 22 hours. A local reporter was detained by police.

On Tuesday afternoon, a reporter with the Nashville Scene was detained and removed from the campus while reporting on the activity. Local media were warned not to enter Kirkland Hall but in a video posted to social media, the reporter said he wasn't warned about staying off campus.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, the university said the "reporter was attempting to enter Kirkland Hall, an administrative building. … He was informed by university police that the building was closed and was asked to leave several times. After repeated attempts to enter the building, he was detained."

The reporter won't be prosecuted. Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk said his office "will not prosecute a reporter for peacefully doing his or her job." A local nonpartisan think tank located on the university's campus, The Future of Free Speech project, spoke out against the detention of the reporter.


"We do not condone the use of violence or trespassing as a protected form of protest and would encourage students to demonstrate peacefully in accordance with Vanderbilt’s policy,” said Jacob Mchangama, the organization's Executive Director. “However, arresting an independent local reporter covering the protest, regardless of his alleged attempts to enter a building without authorization, was a disproportionate response that failed to live up to Vanderbilt’s commitment to free expression and First Amendment ideals."

The students forcefully entered the building. It was closed for construction and "clearly marked as such." Protesters who broke into the building were placed on interim suspension. They were told to leave campus and not return until they are notified they may do so. Some physically assaulted a Community Service Officer to gain entrance and they pushed staff members who offered to meet with them. Student Affairs staff tried to de-escalate the situation by asking the protesters to leave. 

"After the students refused to leave, staff made them aware their actions violated university policy and that they would be subject to disciplinary action," the statement continued. "After several hours, the university began issuing interim suspensions. Students on interim suspension must leave campus immediately and may not return until further notice, pending the Student Affairs review process."


Several hours seems like a too generous window to allow the privileged pouters to occupy the Chancellor's office and the steps outside the building. YMMV.

One social media post said that four students were arrested and 16 others suspended after "harassing, assaulting, abusing them for trying to exercise their free speech rights to advocate for Palestine.." Another said 3 were arrested.

Now, about that tampon

The Vanderbilt Generation Action account on Instagram shared a story this week showing protesters calling 911, with one student heard saying "there is currently a female student who is being denied the right to change her tampon that has been in for multiple hours, which leads to an increased risk of toxic shock syndrome."

The protester goes on to say that the student has been threatened with arrest by campus police if she attempts to stand up and use the bathroom to change her tampon.

In another video posted to X, formerly Twitter, other protesters can be seen speaking to Vanderbilt University Police officers about their friend who needs to change their tampon.


It looks like the protesters didn't realize that their actions would not play out with all the usual creature comforts.

Them's the breaks. Come prepared next time or just stay home, kids.


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