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Lawyer ‘outraged’ at possible discipline for Northwestern U. students who disrupted prof’s class

The lawyer representing the student protesters who disrupted a class at Northwestern — which featured a speaker from Immigration and Customs Enforcement — says his firm was “outraged” school officials may take disciplinary action them.

The activists, representing groups ranging from MEChA de Northwestern, Black Lives Matter NU, the Immigrant Justice Project, and the NU Queer Trans Intersex People of Color, crashed Professor Beth Redbird’s sociology class to show their displeasure at the presence of the ICE representative.

The students held up posters and chanted “F*** ICE” while still outside Redbird’s class; once inside, they continued with the former, refused to sit down, and confronted the prof about why she invited the ICE official.

According to The Daily Northwestern, the Community Activism Law Alliance’s Lam Nguyen Ho, who is representing the demonstrators, said the university is “in the initial stages of pursuing a formal resolution under the procedures of the student handbook.”

“The University has not indicated yet that they’re going to pursue any sanctions against the students or any punishment,” he said. “Based upon our understanding of their position, they’re going through a formal resolution process, which may or may not lead to them seeking punishment against our students.”

From the story:

Nguyen Ho said he and his team are worried that the University is judging the students under review over a protest he said got out of their hands.

“That’s part of the discrepancy with what the university’s position,” he said. “The University’s position for our students is everything that happened in the protest, instead of really thinking about all the protesters, all the anger that’s going on, the University is simply conflating all that against our students.” …

On Friday, a group of students held a silent, peaceful protest outside of Scott Hall, asking the University to drop any investigation into the protesters. The silent students held up posters demanding the University find more support resources for students of color and undocumented students. …

MORE: Student op-ed on criticism of disruptive student protesters: ‘Stop focusing on free speech’

An online petition, a “Student Accomplice Statement,” circulated on social media Friday. The statement, which any student may sign, makes 14 demands to the University, including that it “be declared a sanctuary campus for its undocumented students and workers.” It also asks for an “expansion of Student Enrichment Services (SES) to include resources and trained professionals to work for undocumented students, prospective undocumented students, their families, and students who have undocumented parents, with extreme confidentiality.”

The student petition also asks that the University get rid of E-Verify, an application “that compares employees’ information to data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility.”

Consider: The protesters are requesting that Northwestern not discipline them … while at the same time doubling down on their demands. Nice strategy, there.

Nguyen Ho takes it a step further, saying the college should have provided support for them due to the “extremely volatile and difficult political climate” and “challenges of the new administration”:

“This is a classic example of students responding to a situation that they feel very threatened by, very much traumatized and in pain over, because a space that they considered a safe place and a supportive environment for their education was threatened by the presence of an institution, a governmental agency, that has caused so much harm and so many atrocities against their families and their communities.”

Read the full article.

MORE: Protesters shut down classroom presentation by ICE after administrators invite them in

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.