A sit-in about workers’ wages in the Brafferton Wednesday resulted in a handful of William & Mary students being cited for trespassing in the building.
The five students, taking part in a demonstration about workers’ wages, had camped out in President Reveley’s office for nearly 16 hours before the planned disruption came to an end about 1 a.m. Thursday morning.
The students were part of a group from the Living Wage Coalition who met with the president earlier Wednesday morning for nearly two hours discussing workers’ wages. It was the latest in a series of meetings between the president and the student group to discuss concerns about pay for housekeeping staff.
Following the meeting, the students remained in the president's office and indicated they were there to stage a protest. At noon, about 40 people attended a rally on the subject of wages outside the building.
At 2:25 p.m. Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler asked the students inside the office to move the demonstration outside the Brafferton by 2:45 p.m. or face college sanctions. They had been given multiple opportunities to express their views, she said, and multiple opportunities to leave the building. The demonstration was now a disruption of the College’s business, Ambler said. Five remained and made it clear they were not planning to leave.
At approximately 12 a.m. Thursday, Ambler again approached the protestors. They had one final opportunity to leave the building and avoid legal action, she said. It was time for the disruption to end.
The students chose to remain in the office and were cited for trespassing. They were issued a summons by William & Mary Police to appear in court and were then escorted to the front door and left the building.
Following their departure, President Reveley issued a statement about the incident.
“It is often admirable to care intensely about matters of policy and to be a strong advocate for a particular point of view,” Reveley said. “It is not admirable, however, to insist that your point of view is the only reasonable one and that, until you get your way, you will disrupt the work of the university. Occupying other people’s offices until you get your way is, of course, incompatible with the way we live together at William & Mary. This tears the fabric and cannot be accepted."