Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands could barely finish his State of the University speech last week, as vexed students interrupted the President to yell about his alleged support of racism on the Blacksburg campus.
Students protesters did their absolute best to shut President Sands’s speech at VT’s Moss Center for the Arts auditorium, as well as portray him as a nefarious, discriminatory figurehead.
As little as 10 minutes into Sands’ speech, an enraged VT student in the crowd stood up and shouted, “President Sands! Why do you employ a white supremacist?”
Shortly after the outburst, students on the opposite side of the auditorium hoisted a banner that read “Nazis off our campus.”
As Sands attempted to continue on with his planned remarks, students threw “tiny white pieces of paper” which had information regarding the alleged white supremacist employee that students believe President Sands supports.
As the hecklers were escorted out of the Moss center by Virginia Tech security, they chanted “No Nazis! No KKK! No Fascist USA!”
“This is not the time or place for this,” the President stated as protesters were removed.
Tori Coan, a member of the VT Young Democratic Socialists, as well as one of the students escorted out of the Moss Center, has filed a formal complaint under VT’s Division of Administrative Services against the alleged white supremacist employee.
“We have spent a month talking to administration, asking them where are our answers,” Coan stated. “We haven’t had any action and we felt like the student body and the campus community had a right to know.”
“Did we learn nothing from Charlottesville?” Coan questioned. “How can we stand here as an institution talking about post-Charlottesville? Charlottesville is here.”
One of the points of concern President Sands addressed in his speech was the seemingly contentious topic of freedom of speech on college campuses.
“I understand the conflict of the principles that they are raising. I feel the same way,” Sands expressed.
After his speech, Sands spoke with reporters regarding the protesters’ immense animosity and outbursts throughout the event. He stated that he was well aware of the student’s consternation before the event commenced.
“The specific concerns that they raised have to do with an individual who has professed on his own time through media his opinions, which are in stark contrast to our principles of community,” Sands added. “We’re working through that process.”