Despite restrictions, U.Va. Students United plans Aug. 11 protest

U.Va. says the Rotunda's North Plaza will be closed from the evening of Aug. 10 through the morning of Aug. 13

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U.Va. officials have announced the North Plaza of the Rotunda will be closed to the public from 5 p.m. on Aug. 10 through 7 a.m. on Aug. 13. 

One year after torch-carrying white nationalists encircled and entrapped students and counter-protesters around the Thomas Jefferson statue on the Rotunda's North Plaza, umbrella activism group U.Va. Students United plans to return and “demand justice” for the transgressions of white supremacy — even as the University says the area will be closed to public access.

"We will not let the University continue to erase the events of [Aug. 11, 2017] and their complicity in aiding white supremacy," the group posted on Facebook Thursday. "We, the students of the University, will be there this year, just as we were there last year. Please stand with us to let the University know that students and the community are on the frontline of confronting and dismantling white supremacy."

In an email to the U.Va. community, Patrick Hogan, the University’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Gloria Graham, the University’s associate vice president for safety and security, announced the North Plaza would be closed to the public from 5 p.m. on Aug. 10 through 7 a.m. on Aug. 13.

Students United's event — entitled "VA Students Act Against White Supremacy: Rally for Justice" — is set to begin at 7 p.m. on Aug. 11. At press time, over 400 Facebook users had expressed interest in attending the event.

The administration's email noted that, while white nationalist organizer Jason Kessler has withdrawn his motion with a federal judge for a rally permit, both the University and the City of Charlottesville are preparing for potential white nationalist demonstrations. Hogan and Graham also write there will be an "increased police and security presence both on Grounds and in the community" for the weekend of Aug. 11.

Graham has reached out to Students United several times, according to University spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn, in an effort to prepare for the weekend.

“The regional planning team, comprised of public safety officials from the state, county, city and UVA is preparing safety and security plans for all events during those days,” de Bruyn wrote in an email to The Cavalier Daily. “It is the planning team’s desire that event organizers be part of the process. We hope to hear from this group this week.”

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