Ryan walked into the room Thursday expecting a meeting with a student organization. That’s not what he found.

By Jason Armesto, The Daily Progress

The meeting did not go as planned.

When University of Virginia President Jim Ryan walked down the Lawn Thursday afternoon, he was expecting to sit down in Pavilion VI with a handful of students who want the school to sever financial ties with weapons manufacturers and other companies “complicit in Israeli human rights violations.”

University of Virginia President Jim Ryan exiting Pavilion VI is confronted by students protesting his decision to break up an anti-war demonstration, Thursday, May 9, 2024.
Photo credit: CAL CARY photos, THE DAILY PROGRESS

His appointment with UVa Apartheid Divest, a coalition consisting of 43 student organizations, had been on Ryan’s schedule for a month and had only come after the group’s repeated, and occasionally denied, requests for a meeting with the president.

Through conversations with other university administrators, students felt their university had a pattern: some willingness to engage in conversation, but no willingness to translate conversation into meaningful change.

Still, they wanted a chance to meet with Ryan, make their case and continue to pressure the university.

That is until Saturday, when Ryan and his team called in Virginia State Police to break up a small encampment of anti-war protesters, a controversial show of force that resulted in several students, faculty and members of the public being pepper-sprayed by police and forced off of Grounds.

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