VCU students weigh in on planned weekend rallies

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — VCU’s president Michael Rao offered a warning to students Thursday as he sent a letter urging them to stay away from planned rallies in Richmond this weekend for their own safety. Rao said it will likely “be an emotionally charged, volatile and unpredictable setting.”

“I’m going to try and stay clear of Monument Avenue,” said student Kofi Mimo.

Mimo says he and his friends have already decided they’re staying far away but doesn’t believe all students will follow suit.

“I know there’s probably going to be a couple of students who want to go and observe and see what it’s like, but I highly recommend not to because it could get out of hand or it could be a peaceful demonstration, we don’t know, so I don’t really think it’s worth the risk,” said Mimo.

“I feel like VCU, we’re a very actively engaged community,” said Student Government Association president Destinee’ Moragne.

Moragne also sent a letter to students and organized an event called “How does our Ramily respond to hate?” which took place Friday.

“We wanted to give students the opportunity to tell us how they respond to it whether it’s love, or whether they choose not to engage,” said Moragne.

She says she wanted to inform students about this weekend and give them a way to safely express themselves without going to Saturday’s rallies.

“Definitely want to inform our students just, even more, just making sure they’re aware of what’s happening, the streets are going to be shut down and telling them that what’s most important is your safety,” said Moragne.

Moragne also sent out information packets including information from the ACLU about knowing your rights at a demonstration. She says each student must decide for themselves if they’re going to go, but if they do, they should at least be informed.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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