Pennsylvania students petition university president to pay bail for arrested protester

Students wrote a petition to the university president, asking her to contribute to paying her bail bond.

Patterson’s bail was set at $1,000,000

Kathryn Patterson, a junior at Franklin & Marshall University, was arrested on 14 different charges while protesting.

After a college student in Pennsylvania was arrested for arson at a protest of police brutality in September, students demanded that the university president help pay her bond.

Kathryn Patterson, a junior at Franklin & Marshall University in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was arrested on 14 different charges, including arson, obstruction of highways, and rioting with the intent to commit a felony. The protest was over the death of Ricardo Munoz, who police say was shot and killed while chasing a police officer with a knife. Patterson’s bail was set at $1,000,000, which the police report said she was unable to post. A GoFundMe page was launched by “members of the Black Student Union and Kappa Delta Sorority” to help pay her bail. 

So far, more than $55,000 has been raised for Patterson.

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The Black Student Union also circulated a petition, addressed to Franklin & Marshall President Barbara K. Altmann, demanding a contribution toward Patterson’s bail.

“In addition to a public statement, contribute to her bail fund shamelessly and unapologetically,” the petition said. “The college has resources and now, it is more urgent than ever to use them for the students you claim to care about.”

The petition emphasized that this action needs to be taken to show solidarity with BIPOC students.

“Only a clear and united front against police violence will provide the support that is urgently needed by BIPOC students and allies. You need to act now,” the petition concludes.

Altmann responded, saying that she thanks people for organizing a GoFundMe for Patterson.

“Senior staff has been in close contact with the family and will continue to do so as we focus on her well-being,” Altmann said. “Thank you, students, for creating a GoFundMe page to assist Kat and her family; many of us in our community will be contributing.”

Patterson’s father, Chip Patterson, was very upset with the high bail and wants to see it lowered.

“I cannot tell you how long this night has been,” Patterson said. “I think regardless of what these people did or didn’t do, the bail amount is just outrageous and clearly against the Eighth Amendment.”

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While Patterson is disappointed in the charges and the bail, he said he is hopeful that his daughter will be released.

“Everything that I know so far, which is not a lot, indicates that Kat is not guilty of those charges,” Patterson said. “But then again, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Altmann also said she is giving Patterson a presumption of innocence.

“We have read the allegations against her, as reported in the LNP,” Altmann said. “We stand by our students’ constitutional right to protest. And affirm a presumption of innocence.”

Students expressed their regret that the police were “perpetrators” of violence, and wanted Altmann to stand up for her student.

“This is the time to not only take a clear stance against police brutality, but also to stand up for one of your students and community members,” the petition said. “How are we supposed to feel safe on and surrounding campus when the police are the very perpetrators of violence? Step up for our community.”

The petition was signed by 66 groups on campus, including the Black Student Union and College Democrats. More than 350 individual students also signed the petition.

F&M College Democrats, the Black Student Union, and the F&M Office of Communications did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment in time for publication.

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