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The General Consensus

The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

Campus tensions rise as “GENOCIDE JIM” appears on UVA Strong Memorial

Riley Clarke
Protestors unaffiliated with the UVA painted over a “UVA STRONG” mural for Chandler, Davis Jr., and Perry, writing “GENOCIDE JIM” in all capital letters.

On Monday night, 5/6, pro-palestine protestors painted “GENOCIDE JIM” over a memorial mural remembering the three football players killed in an on campus shooting in November of 2022.

Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr., and D’Sean Perry were shot and killed by former student Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. while returning from a field trip on a bus on November 13, 2022. In the wake of their tragic deaths, the alumni association “UVA Strong” was created to support the victims’ families and remember their names. 

Protests began at the UVA campus on April 30th, where demonstrators put up tents near the Chapel. They were asked to take down the tents, which went against the school rules, and the protestors complied.

Peaceful protests were held over the following days until the demonstrators snuck in construction materials, which had been used at other universities to barricade the encampments, creating a safety hazard. They agreed to remove the materials when asked.

On Friday night, tents were put up again, and people from outside the University community joined the protests, which created another safety concern. 

Protests at the University of Columbia were joined by people outside of the campuses. In a press conference on May 2nd, New York Mayor Eric Adams discussed the “outside agitators” and their supposed destructive influence on the protests. 

Universities have begun checking students’ IDs to ensure they can participate in the peaceful protests on campus. 

Tim Longo, vice president for safety and security at UVA, told the group again that they could continue to protest but needed to take down the tents. However, this time they refused. 

As tensions escalated and more outside agitators arrived, the University’s police tried to end the protest but were faced with physical resistance from the groups. State police had to be called in. “That was a very hard decision, but we felt like we didn’t have a safer option at that point,” President Jim Ryan said in a virtual Town Hall Live Stream.  

“We tried to make the best decisions we could under the very difficult and volatile conditions,” Ryan said, “and we made those decisions with an eye toward the safety of our entire community.” 

On Monday night, protestors unaffiliated with the school took to Beta Bridge on the University of Virginia campus. They painted over a UVA Strong mural for Chandler, Davis Jr., and Perry, writing “GENOCIDE JIM” in all capital letters. The defacement drew a strong reaction from the UVA community the next day.

Sophomore Ella Kain-Kuzniewski expressed her sadness and said she was “disappointed that someone would do something so disrespectful to the community.”

Football player Dakota Twitty, who was a freshman on the team when his teammates were killed, shared his reaction to the vandalism as well. “I was in shock because of what Beta Bridge stands for. It acts as a memorial for three of my brothers that had passed away, and to see ‘GENOCIDE JIM’ written over the memorial was worse than disgraceful.”

The UVA Encampment for Gaza posted the next morning on X, “We are appalled that someone would paint over the UVA strong memorial. This was done by an unaffiliated, unknown individual, and we condemn this action.”

They went on to write that they intended to get supplies and repaint the memorial as soon as possible. 

While UVA has supported peaceful protests on campus, the vandalism of the memorial represented a disruptive turn in the ongoing protests and stirred up tension in the school community.

President Jim Ryan says that he will continue to emphasize the safety and security of the UVA community and its students through these challenging times.

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About the Contributor
Max Clarke, Student Journalist
Max Clarke is a senior at Hamilton Wenham High School and is a staff writer for The Generals Consensus. Always having been interested in journalism, Max decided to take the class and write for the newspaper his senior year. He is a member of DECA, the ping pong club, and the tennis team. He enjoys going to the gym, making videos, and spending time with friends and his dog. Max is planning to attend Villanova next year with a major in Marketing and a minor in media production.

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