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Belmont Students Perform Sit-In of ResLife Office

Updated: Feb 28

Student protester, Mike Barlow sitting outside the Residence Life office, Braden Simmons

Ten Belmont students staged a silent sit-in outside the office of residence life to protest the new housing policy that may disqualify some seniors from living on-campus in the fall. 


“We're here showing up as an expression of non-compliance, and in all honesty, refusal of this new policy because it's not acceptable,” said junior Jules Webb, a faith and social justice major and a supporter of Belmont Evictions before the protest began. 


The new housing policy which was announced at the start of February has left students with the credit hours of a senior with no guarantee of on-campus housing next fall.  


The announcement came with criticism and concern from some students and is now receiving protest from others. 


“We don't have a lot of power here. But if we can show that we are insistently showing up consistently, and we don't necessarily even need a critical mass of students as long as we continue to be bothersome enough to the administration, they won't be able to ignore us,” Webb said. 


Webb and the other students walked from the birdcage to the office of Residence Life in by Maddox Hall and took up residence for about three hours.  


The students made signs and wrote messages expressing their displeasure with the university. 

Taylor Sanderson writes a message of protest against the new housing policy, Braden Simmons

“Emails are important, but it's not as impactful when it's through a screen and so it's to give us a face and show that we are the people who are dedicated to this cause. And we are small but mighty,” said junior social work major Taylor Sanderson. 


Student Government Association president Carter Barnett met with students before they approached the office, telling them that he heard their concerns and will take them to upper administration. 


“I've been sending everything from y’alls group up the ladder. So I just want to say I appreciate y'all. And I think students should voice their thoughts,” said Barnett. 


After about 10 minutes in front of the office of Residence Life, a worker came out telling the students to move citing it as a fire hazard. They were told to moved out of the way of office doors and the entryway where the group continued to make protest signs. 


“My message that I would like to get across is just that the Belmont students here aren't going to tolerate this and this is a really horrible thing and it really contributing to gentrification in a lot of ways and everyone should care about it even if it doesn’t directly affect you,” said junior social work major Julie Hanse. 


The staff of Reslife were not aware of the sit-in until it arrived and wouldn’t offer comment. 

Students were approached multiple times by Reslife workers who said they were willing to speak with them about their concerns.  


But the students, who were conducting a silent protest, remained silent. 

The finished collage of images, Braden Simmons

“I would really like Belmont to give us a more direct answer and to actually hear us out on what we're suggesting,” said Sanderson. 



This article was written by Braden Simmons 

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