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The Blue & Gray Press | August 19, 2017

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Charges dropped in DivestUMW court case, those arrested found not guilty of trespassing

Charges dropped in DivestUMW court case, those arrested found not guilty of trespassing

By EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH

Two members of DivestUMW and one member of the Fredericksburg community were found not guilty on charges of trespassing in a court case on Tuesday, Aug. 4.

The case began at 9:30 a.m., and Judge Robert Eric Reibach of the Fredericksburg General District Court reached the decision to clear the members of misdemeanor trespassing charges.

Reibach determined that the evidence that was submitted by Virginia State Police was insufficient to charge rising junior Adam Wander, rising sophomore Noah Goodwin, and Fredericksburg community member Nina Angelini as guilty.

Wander, Goodwin and Angelini were arrested in April after DivestUMW held a sit-in at George Washington Hall. The sit-in was organized after the University decided against forming a subcommittee that would explore divesting from companies or shareholders that profit from fossil fuels.

The 21-day sit-in ended after the administration presented a written warning to clear the building, and Virginia State police arrested the three members who were still inside.

The members potentially faced up to a year in prison if found guilty with the charges.

DivestUMW issued a press release on the results of the court case that can be read on the group’s Facebook page.

DivestUMW’s Official Press Release: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YU1lGQKYsw7lYKmS005X1Yk0IgswwyCT_Ega8eKlEDY/pub

According to Rabib Hasan, senior psychology major and DivestUMW co-chair, the court’s decision was a vote of confidence for the group, who felt the case and the charges were not proportional to their actions.

“[It was] very reaffirming,” Hasan said.

Hasan also hopes that the court’s decision will encourage other students to not be afraid to stand up for what they believe in, and help form a “culture of students who aren’t afraid to speak their minds.”

Hasan believed last semester’s events led students to learn more about divestment and become more educated on the issue, and for some, to become involved in DivestUMW’s cause.

“What we found from students is that they have a deep understanding and took [DivestUMW’s] cause to heart,” Hasan said.

Wander, Goodwin and Angelini were represented by three attorneys: Andy Cornick, Robert Hyman and Jonathan Oates, according to The Free Lance-Star.

Comments

  1. Anonymous

    A good day. A very good day. Hopefully this will lead to more students standing up for what is right and more universities taking the time to value their students voices. As a student at VCU I am inspired and we will be moving forward with our own campaign.

  2. No surprise that they weren’t charged. Their charges were dropped the minute they had the cuffs put on them. Glad to see these brave man children wasting tax payer dollars and the time of all of those present during the court case. All this talk of their ‘martyrdom’ for the DivestUMW cause is laughable. Sitting on your asses to bring attention to yourself isn’t how you get a job done or raise positive awareness, that’s how children act in defiance to their parents. Do you think these officers wanted to take the time out of their day to come escort a bunch of smelly kids out of a high traffic hallway? No. Those involved had plenty of time to clear out before the ‘big, bad MAN’ came to ensure all had vacated the premises. And just how were the officers received by the amassing students outside? Resentment, profanity, misguided and naive speeches. Young adults reduced to enraged toddlers, screaming over issues that are beyond their control. There is a way for students to make an impact and have a voice in their communities. DivestUMW is far from being the standard bearer of change.

  3. Lol

    Check your privilege, you dunces. This pathetic, social-media centric circlejerk is the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever seen. Worst of all, this is bring the school attention in all of the wrong ways. These kids need timeout, not publicity.

  4. Anonymous

    Media perverts Justice

  5. Anonymous

    Wow. I cannot imagine what the dads of these lads here think of them. Such a sad day if you ask me.

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