VSU students defend university in new video - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

VSU students defend university in new video

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They have a spirit not even negative attention can break. That's the message from students at Virginia State University. They're taking to social media with a new video promoting VSU and it's going viral. University officials are praising the students' efforts as they hope to begin rebuilding pride.

Even students will tell you it's been a year of unfortunate events at VSU, but now they are uniting to send the message, they are much more than the negative headlines.

"We've already been crucified for our sins….there's 2 sides to this story…we're not the thugs they depict us to be," students chant in a high-energy video.

They're fighting back with a collective outcry to change the perception of their university.

"I think it was a really good idea for people to see the positives that VSU has to offer," said Student Government President Jahliel Thurman.

He helped organize the entire effort.

"Our gospel chorale is on tour right now in Europe…Continued advances in research has led to a student body of re-birth," the video continues.

It all comes on the heels of a rocky year. Back in April there was a suspected hazing ritual in the Appomattox River where two students drowned. During Homecoming, police responded to a stabbing on campus. Just last month, there was a fight against a rival football team where a player was arrested and the team became disqualified from the playoffs. Then a week later, police investigated a shooting at an off-campus student apartment complex where another student died.

"I was a little upset," said 20 year old Kondwani Russell in reference to the negative publicity.

So he decided to participate in the video.

"We're going to be the mouthpiece to stay positive, to keep pushing forward," Russell said.

In just two days - the video has seen nearly 10,000 views.

"I feel like this video not only sends a message but it also brings people back up," Thurman said.

Saturday morning, graduation will take place on campus. It will be a celebration - a festive mood showcasing the spirit students are hoping will help their campus continue to thrive in the years ahead.

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