Three U.Va. students arrested at Bicentennial Launch found guilty of trespassing

Each student was fined $100

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All three were processed in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, and charged with trespassing, a Class 1 misdemeanor. They were released later that night.

Yixuan Liu | Cavalier Daily

Three University students were found guilty in Albemarle General District Court Tuesday of trespassing at the Oct. 6 Bicentennial launch celebration. Each was given a fine of $100. 

During the event, students Joshua Williams, Hannah Russell-Hunter and Lossa Zenebe  unfurled a banner that read, “200 Years of White Supremacy,” blocking one of the screens being used.

The three were arrested by University Police officers. All three were processed in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, and charged with trespassing, a Class 1 misdemeanor. They were released later that night.

The University declined to comment. The three students did not respond to requests for comment.

In an email following the arrests, University Deputy Spokesperson Matt Charles noted that the launch celebration was a ticketed event. 

“Any person who interrupts an invited speaker or event shall be requested to leave and removed if they refuse to leave or persist in interrupting any speaker or event,” Charles said.

The Bicentennial launch event acknowledged the University’s complicated history with slavery and white supremacy through projections displayed on the Rotunda. The University also invited several descendants of slaves who worked at the University, Monticello, James Madison’s Montpelier and James Monroe’s Highland. These special guests shared their ancestors’ stories of dehumanization and resilience. 

Students, faculty and alumni also spoke and performed at the event, along with special musical guests Andra Day, Leslie Odom Jr. and the Goo Goo Dolls.  

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