Youngkin says no encampments on Virginia campuses; supports ‘peaceful’ protests

May 1, 2024
Palestine encampment at Virginia Tech

By NATHANIEL CLINE, Virginia Mercury

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said Sunday that the commonwealth will permit “peaceful” protests, but will not tolerate intimidation and encampments on college campuses.

According to the Virginia Mercury online news service, since Saturday, protestors have been arrested at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg and in Blacksburg at Virginia Tech.

During CNN’s “State of the Union” television show on Sunday, Youngkin said that the First Amendment encompasses freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration. Still, he added it does not allow for intimidating Jewish students, preventing them from attending class and using annihilation speech to express deeply antisemitic views.

“I have been working with our Attorney General Jason Miyares, our university presidents, [and] law enforcement at the state, local, and campus level to make sure that if there are protests, they are peaceful,” said Youngkin. 

He added “We will protect the ability to peacefully express yourself, but we’re not going to have the kinds of hate speech and intimidation that we’re seeing across the country in Virginia.”

Miyares wrote to the UVA Board of Visitors condemning the referendum and urging the board to reject it.

Miyares wrote that it was “stunning” that while Hamas continues to hold hostages, the students at the University of Virginia decided to hold a referendum “directly attacking the nation of Israel.” 

“With rampant anti-Jewish bigotry being displayed on college campuses throughout our nation, it is disappointing to see UVA students put forth and then push a referendum that attacks the world’s only Jewish state,” Miyares wrote.

Newspaper reports say that police have been called to several of the campuses to make sure violence does not break out.

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