Kessler at SURJ protest

Jason Kessler walks through a crowd of SURJ protesters in front of the Charlottesville Circuit Courthouse ahead of a decision regarding the covered Confederate statues on Feb. 27, 2018.

UPDATED: 8:07 P.M.

The University of Virginia has issued a no-trespass warning to Jason Kessler following two weeks of appearances at the School of Law Library and months of requests from students and faculty.

The warning, according to the university, was issued Thursday evening due to multiple reports from students that Kessler threatened them, targeted them through cyber-bullying and cyber-harassment and targeted them based on protected characteristics. On Friday morning, police were searching for Kessler in order to serve the warning.

“Kessler also intentionally and purposefully misled officers of the University Police Department regarding the torchlight rally that he helped organize on Aug. 11,” the university said in a written statement Thursday evening. “His conduct on Aug. 11 threatened the health and safety of members of the university community. The warning is consistent with long-standing university practice and current policy [PRM-018].”

The warning effectively bans Kessler from being on Grounds for four years, though he could still seek medical treatment or emergency help.

Violation of the warning would be a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Kessler has five days to submit a written appeal of the warning, according to university policy, and the associate vice president of safety and security then has 21 days to respond. Gloria Graham on May 7 will assume the position, which was created after the violent events of Aug. 11 and 12.

The School of Law enacted its exam access rules two days earlier than planned after an appearance by Kessler on Wednesday. While Kessler was there, a Charlottesville man tried to enter the room where he was studying, and was arrested for trespassing.

In a previous appearance on Aug. 18, Kessler also filmed himself making anti-Semitic remarks and searching for a specific university employee. On Wednesday, that employee was advised to vacate his office for his safety.

Since Kessler helped lead the torch-lit rally through Grounds on Aug. 11 and the Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12, student organizations and faculty had asked for a no-trespass warning to be issued against him.

On Thursday evening, “concerned students” began a petition to ban all participants in the Aug. 11 march from Grounds. As of 4:30 p.m., 265 people had signed the online petition, and a version was delivered to the Board of Visitors on Friday.

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Ruth Serven is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact her at (434) 978-7254, rserven@dailyprogress.com or @RuthServen on Twitter.

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