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Jonathan Vaughn, a survivor of late Dr. Robert Anderson and former University of Michigan football player, returned to the protest campsite at the University president’s house Sunday evening.
For over 150 days, students, faculty and Ann Arbor residents became familiar with Vaughn and the Hail to the Victims campsite in front of the president’s house. On March 7, the University removed Vaughn’s campsite with no protesters or camper to be found.
On the evening of April 10, Vaughn told The Michigan Daily that he had decided to return to the campsite because he was frustrated at the continued lack of cooperation from U-M administrators and Interim President Mary Sue Coleman. Vaughn said he returned to campus to continue what he started last Fall — trying to get U-M administration to acknowledge and address the Anderson allegations and sexual assault on campus.
In a recent interview with the Daily, Coleman said it was Vaughn’s “time to go,” and the removal of the campsite was not a condition of the $490 million settlement between the University and over 1,000 Anderson survivors on Jan. 19.
Vaughn expressed his anger with Coleman’s comments and the decision to remove the campsite.
“It just astounded me how tone-deaf (Mary Sue Coleman) is right in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month,” Vaughn said. “It just gave me extra motivation after March 7 because it was a premeditated calculated decision to have your police go outside the jurisdiction of the University of Michigan and steal from us. You stole my property.”
University spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen wrote in an email to The Daily Sunday evening that all personal property was placed into storage. Broekhuizen declined to comment further on if the University had any plans to remove Vaughn for a second time.
“All personal property has been placed in storage and may be reclaimed,” Broekhuizen wrote. “We cannot comment further, pursuant to the ongoing confidential mediation and federal court orders.”
In regards to reclaiming his possessions, Vaughn wrote in a message to The Daily he is currently being advised by his attorney regarding the status of his property.
“It’s time for the University to stop operating outside and above the law,” Vaughn said. “You continue to miss the mark, and we will continue to speak our truths and spread awareness on how student safety is not a priority on this campus.”
Vaughn further described how this return will strengthen the importance and volume of the protest.
“You stole from me, and us. You tried to assert your dominance, and to impede my First Amendment rights, my human rights. And if you think this was about a settlement and a camper, your ignorance knows no boundaries,” Vaughn said. “You don’t know us as survivors, and you have no clue of what we experience being out here for those 100 plus days in the solidarity and in the voices from students and professors.
Vaughn said he is unsure how long he will stay outside the president’s house.
“I outlasted one president, I might outlast another,” Vaughn said.
Daily Staff Reporter Martha Lewand can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.