Students for a United Illinois Hold Counter- Demonstration at Assembly Hall

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ABOUT 100 PEOPLE PROTESTED outside
Assembly Hall on October 23, 2010 where
for the third year there was a pro-Chief
rally organized by those wishing to revive
the University of Illinois’ racist mascot.
This year, protesters were made to stand
behind a taped-off area and watched closely
by University of Illinois police and
Assembly Hall security. There was some
confusion among officials over this practice,
as one security guard told me that
Assembly Hall was private property. When
I asked UIPD Lieut. Skip Frost, he said that
it was maintained by the University of Illinois,
therefore it was public property, but
the decision to tape off protesters had been
made by the Assembly Hall management.
The creation of such a “free speech zone,”
which has previously been enforced at
recent Democratic and Republican National
Conventions, is a serious suspension of
the First Amendment and modern method
for controlling peaceful protest.
The previous day, about 50 people met
outside Swanlund Administration Building
to protest the University’s failure to put its
racist mascot to rest. As the rally took
place, Chancellor Bob Easter was seen conducting
an interview with a local television
station in the parking lot of the building.
The protesters moved toward him and
chanted, “Chancellor Easter, don’t you
know? We don’t want this minstrel show!”
Easter began to walk off after finishing his
interview but when the crowd started
chanting “Speak with us!” he turned
around and came to address the group.
Carlos Rosa, one of the organizers, asked
the Chancellor when the band would be
made to quit using the “three-and one”
song commonly associated with the Chief
and still being played at games. The Chancellor
assured the group that the administration
was doing everything in its power
to bring the Chief’s era to a close. When
someone asked for a time line, Easter failed
to provide any dates.

About Brian Dolinar

Brian Dolinar has been a community journalist since 2004.
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