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After Incident, VCU Sierra Club Dropped Eco-Festival


The past isn't the only thing catching up with John Burton Wade, the idea man behind this weekend's environmental film festival at the Byrd Theatre in Carytown.

The Virginia Commonwealth University Sierra Student Coalition, the festival's initial financial sponsor and original organizer, pulled its sponsorship and involvement last month after being confronted with Wade's present.

The group initially pledged between $3,500 and $4,000 to put on the festival, but voted unanimously to cancel its funding and end its official involvement after allegations arose of an incident involving Wade and a member of the coalition.

Details of the vote, and of the discussion that led to the decision to pull sponsorship were confirmed by members of the student Sierra club.

A Richmond Police spokeswoman says that "Wade is a person of interest" related to a report filed Jan. 14. Style Weekly has yet to confirm details surrounding the alleged incident as reported to police.

Wade pulled three years in federal prison for his involvement in vandalism -- characterized as eco-terrorism by prosecutors -- of vehicles, homes and construction equipment in Henrico County. During the acts, Wade and two fellow Douglas S. Freeman High School students left notes and other markings linking themselves to the Earth Liberation Front, a radical domestic eco-terror group. Wade pleaded guilty to the charge.

The Jan. 14 incident, however, doesn't involve vandalism, nor is it connected to his past environmental radicalism.

Since his release last year, Wade has attended VCU and become involved in environmental issues on campus.

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