Jason Kessler — a white nationalist and organizer of last summer’s deadly “Unite the Right” rally — visited the University Law School Library Wednesday afternoon, and was soon met with students, staff and community members protesting his presence and calling on the University to remove Kessler from the premises.
Kessler said he was doing research in preparation for the upcoming civil cases for which he is standing trial.
Charlottesville City resident James Taylor recently a civil suit against Kessler, accusing Kessler of assault, defamation and malicious prosecution after he punched Taylor on the Downtown Mall last January.
Kessler was spotted soon after arriving, and protesters congregated to follow him around the building. Police and University administrators then arrived to monitor the situation.
According to Kessler, a library employee alerted local activist group Solidarity Cville of his presence.
Several protesters reportedly called the office of University President Teresa Sullivan, urging the U.Va. administration to remove Kessler from the building and ban Kessler from the University. The University did not take action to remove Kessler, and according to University spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn, Kessler was allowed to be at the library.
“The University is aware that Mr. Kessler was in the UVA Law School, including the library and certain administrative offices, earlier today,” de Bruyn said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. “Our libraries generally are open to the public. While several individuals followed Mr. Kessler throughout the facility to protest his presence, there were no violations of law or University policy.”
Some protesters believed Kessler should not be allowed on University property after the Unite the Right rally last August.
“[U.Va. and Sullivan] did NOTHING when white supremacists attacked students & community members on A11 & A12. Nazi Jason Kessler is at [the Law School] & what do they do? NOTHING,” reads a tweet from U.Va. Students United, a student group aiming to reform the University through direct action. “Nothing won't fly this time.”
Kessler left the library later that afternoon.