‘Cop City’ Activist Barred From Classes at UNC, Students Protest for Their Return

After being arrested for protesting Atlanta's controversial police training facility, law student Jamie Marsicano is banned from attending classes at her institution.
portrait of Jessica Bryant
Jessica Bryant
Read Full Bio


Jessica Bryant is a higher education analyst and senior data reporter for BestColleges. She covers higher education trends and data, focusing on issues impacting underserved students. She has a BA in journalism and previously worked with the South Fl...
Published on April 24, 2023
Edited by
portrait of Rebecca Long
Rebecca Long
Read Full Bio

Editor & Writer

Rebecca Long is a copy editor for BestColleges. She has nearly a decade of editorial experience, including writing and editing. As a freelance journalist, her work has been published in The Boston Globe, The Guardian, Slate, and others. She has also ...
Learn more about our editorial process

  • Last month, UNC law student Jamie Marsicano attended a music festival where several attendees protested "Cop City."
  • Mariscano was arrested and charged with domestic terrorism though the prosecutor states there is no video evidence of Marsicano on the scene.
  • After being released on bail, she has been banned from her campus and is only able to watch her classes via a live stream.
  • More than 100 of her peers staged a campus walkout this month to demand her return to classes.

University of North Carolina students are protesting in support of their fellow classmate after a recent round of arrests at the site of Atlanta's "Copy City."

On March 5, UNC law student Jamie Marsicano and 22 others were arrested on domestic terrorism charges while protesting the controversial police training facility currently under construction in an Atlanta forest.

The protestors were attendees of the South River Music Festival where more than 100 masked activists marched onto the construction site and destroyed equipment.

Though Marsicano was released on bail last month, and prosecutors say there is no video evidence of her on the scene, she was barred from attending classes in person or from attending virtually via Zoom — a decision her friends and classmates told the Associated Press is "ridiculous."

On TikTok, one of her law school peers went even further to not only condemn UNC's choice to deny Marsicano's access to campus but to also say the charges against Marsicano are baseless and lacking evidence.


♬ original sound - Brianne

On April 13, more than 100 UNC students walked out of class and marched through campus chanting, "Jamie's not in class, we are not in class" to protest this decision.

Currently, Mariscano is only able to view her classes by watching them on a live stream feed.

The $90 million, 85-acre facility known as "Cop City" has drawn notable backlash since it was first announced in 2021.

Its placement in the heart of Black and brown neighborhoods with a long history of suffering from police brutality, on land once occupied by the Muscogee Creek Nation, has led to significant outrage from the local community. The land was also the site of a slave labor camp and a prison farm — building on it will strip a significant part of the forest of its trees.

Marsicano is one of at least 40 other protestors and activists who have been arrested and charged with domestic terrorism since 2022 as a result of protesting the facility.

Meanwhile, offsite community protests have also continued to heighten. In February, local HBCU students and faculty members staged a forum sit-in to demand their institutions denounce any funding and support of "Cop City." Faculty members also released an open letter proclaiming that, "there is simply no place for Cop City in the beloved community."

There is no word on if last week's protests have encouraged UNC's chancellor to reverse the decision banning Marsicano from campus, but it is likely that her peers will continue to advocate for her return.

"Jamie is just this glowing, bubbly, wonderful personality," her friend and classmate Meghan Rankin told AP. "She's deeply missed."