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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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VPSA Ramirez refuses to meet with student protesters

Students+are+asked+by+University+Police+officers+to+vacate+the+Office+of+the+Vice+President+for+Student+Affairs+while+holding+a+sit-in+on+Wednesday%2C+April+20%2C+2022.
Photo by Kyle McClenagan

Students are asked by University Police officers to vacate the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs while holding a sit-in on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

Weeks into an organized sit-in protest, the Vice President for Student Affairs, or VPSA, Joe E. Ramirez refused to meet with the organizers, with no indication of meeting on a future date. 
On March 23, student organizers began a sit-in demonstration outside of Ramirez’s office in the John J. Koldus Building, demanding to meet with him after several alleged attempts to set up a meeting via email failed. Almost a month later, on April 20, students entered the waiting room of the VPSA’s office where they were ultimately asked by the University Police to limit their numbers to two members inside while the rest could continue protesting in the hallway. The protestors agree to leave the waiting room and return to the hallway only if Ramirez would respond to their request. Associate VPSA Vicki Dobiyanski asked Ramirez, and then relayed his message that he would not be meeting with the students. 
During the first day of the sit-in, one of the organizers of the event, university studies junior Elis Howard, said the goal from the beginning was to schedule a meeting with Ramirez to discuss the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue on campus. 
“We are here today to schedule a meeting with the VPSA on behalf of Students for a Democratic Society, Young Dems BCS and Rosie’s Tamu for our No Monuments to White Supremacy campaign,” Howard said. “Which is calling for increased funding and creative programs to increase enrollment of Black, Brown and Indigenous students at A&M, to hire and retain faculty of color at A&M and to bolster resources for minority students at A&M as well as remove the Sullivan Ross statue.”
Howard also said the group will not stop until it secures a meeting with Ramirez.
“We’re going to continue doing actions, there’s no stopping this,” Howard said. “If the sit-in doesn’t work this time we’re going to move on to another escalation of actions.”
On April 20, five of the students entered the waiting room in violation of the two person minimum, where they were reminded by an employee of the university Expressive Activities Committee that the limit was still enforced. 
“I know that they [the VPSA’s office] had requested it be two people in here, I think that we accommodate those two people seeing as this isn’t a traditional public forum,” a university employee said. 
After occupying the reception area for over 10 minutes, a second Expressive Activities Committee employee entered and informed the protesters that if they did not comply with the rules the University Police would be contacted.
“We also want to inform you of the rules and policies,” the second employee said. “This is not a public forum so the vice president’s office asked that only two people sit in the area, and if y’all don’t comply to that y’all will be asked to leave by [University Police].”
The protesters continued to occupy even after the campus police arrived and only agreed to leave if they knew their request was heard by Ramirez. It was at this point that Dobiyanski, who had recently entered the office, informed them that Ramirez had denied their request. 
“I spoke with Joe Ramirez, he has your list of requests in hand, he is not going to schedule a meeting at this time,” Dobiyanski said. 
The protesters then asked if he would ever schedule a meeting to which Dobiyanski responded. 
“He is not going to schedule a meeting … that’s what I was told,” Dobiyanski said. 
After returning to the hallway, one of the protestors, Jyothis James, a fourth-year philosophy Ph.D. candidate, said the whole situation was very interesting.
“It baffles me as to how the vice president for student affairs can completely ignore that and put on a kangaroo court and just completely reject these concerns that students keep bringing up,” James said. “I really wonder if this is the type of university and university administration that students want.”
The VPSA’s office could not be reached for comment at time of publication.

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  • Students held a sit-in outside of the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. 

    Photo by Kyle McClenagan
  • Students protested outside of the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, after Gen. Joe Ramirez refused to meet with them.  

    Photo by Kyle McClenagan
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