Student protesters had been prepared to storm a talk by Title IX Coordinator Morgan Levy on Friday afternoon, but were stopped when Medical Center faculty cancelled the event for fear that their noisemakers would disrupt exams.
On top of the noisemakers, there were party hats and bracelets with #URFailingUs written on them distributed among the protesters to reinforce the sit-in’s theme, “Party at Morgan Levy’s,” which called for Levy’s resignation, and was sponsored by The Meliora Movement and Students for a Democratic Society.
“Parties are a vulnerable and sometimes dangerous environment where real shit can happen and it can go unnoticed,” wrote protester Jenna Register in the event’s Facebook page.
Shortly after students began to gather at the steps of Rush Rhees Library that afternoon, faculty warned that there would be medical students taking their comprehensive exams in halls adjacent to the Lower Adolph Auditorium — the room where Levy was scheduled to speak.
Protesters were also told that if they were “disruptive” — which is how their intentions were phrased on the Facebook event page — they’d be removed by Public Safety and possibly sanctioned.
This warning was again repeated to protesters — who were escorted to the Medical Center by Public Safety — when they arrived at the auditorium a half-hour before the event was suppose to begin.
“The only thing I am concerned about is the med students, but it sounds like you guys are fully on board with me not wanting to disrupt the exams,” medical student Laura Shum said to the protesters, still hopeful that the event would take place.
While Shum was speaking with protesters, however, Director of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs Sharon McCullough made the decision to cancel the event.
“I think we were hoping that it wouldn’t be a problem, but when you arrived with noise makers that made me concerned,” said McCullough.
Protesters clamored for answers, demanding to know why the event was cancelled if they agreed to comply with being quiet. They also wanted to know when Levy and other attendees were notified of the event’s cancellation and what the purpose of having Public Safety not only escort, but record their walk to the Medical Center was.
“Are people aware of how this looks? The fact that students who are very deeply upset come to express themselves and the event is cancelled,” one protester said.
Medical Center faculty agreed to let protesters know when the event will be rescheduled, but gave no prediction as to when that would be.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” said junior Sophia McRae. “We are stuck in a cycle. There’s a build up to nothing.”
Arts and Entertainment Editor Ashley Bardhan contributed reporting to this article.