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Several arrested in April protest at VT taking community service option

A legal observer in a yellow vest and other people watch as 81 people were arrested at Virginia Tech on April 28 and 29. The blue lights from a police car frame them.
Roxy Todd
Radio IQ
A legal observer in a yellow vest and other people watch as 82 people were arrested at Virginia Tech on April 28 and 29.

Several Virginia Tech students and other community members who were arrested at a pro-Palestinian protest in April had court hearings originally scheduled Thursday, but all chose a trial diversion route and didn’t have to appear in court.

They agreed to do 25 hours of community service, pay a $99 fine and their cases will be reviewed in a year — then likely to be dismissed. They will also be eligible to apply to have their case expunged from their record.

82 people were arrested in April and charged with trespassing after refusing to leave a protest on Virginia Tech’s campus. They organized it because they want the university to divest from companies that support the Israeli military.

Emon Green is a senior at Virginia Tech who was one of those who agreed to do community service as part of the diversion deal. He said the option means he can focus more on applying to graduate school. But he plans to continue volunteering with groups that want to end the war in Gaza.

“When the moral character of the university is being called into question like it is in our protest, then the university is gonna have a problem with it,” Green told Radio IQ by phone on Thursday. “And they’re going to address it in a way to try and call it criminal, and criminalize us and make us seem immoral, when they’re the immoral party.”

A statement from Virginia Tech said campus administrators and police made the decision to arrest protestors because they were breaking a school policy by holding an unregistered event.

Similar protests took place on campuses across the country this spring.

Others who were arrested at Virginia Tech have hearings scheduled over the next couple of months, but the Montgomery County District Court clerk said many of them have also chosen to do community service.

Updated: June 6, 2024 at 3:51 PM EDT
Editor's Note: Radio IQ is a service of Virginia Tech.
Roxy Todd is Radio IQ's New River Valley Bureau Chief.
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