Northwestern football game interrupted by anti-police, anti-Israel protesters
Nine protestors interrupted Northwestern University’s football game on Saturday against the University of Iowa.
Multiple protesters took to the field, hoping to draw attention to their various causes. Several student groups including NU Community Not Cops, NU Dissenters, Students for Justice in Palestine, and Students Organizing for Labor Rights claimed involvement in the demonstration that ended with protesters being escorted off by security.
Our demands? Open meetings between students & the board of trustees at least 2x/yr. Concrete deadlines for our demands as well as @fossilfreenu, nu dissenters, & other campus org demands. systems that center and protect survivors of sexual violence. https://t.co/30qAtI4fAp
— #nucommunitynotcops (@copsoutofNU) November 7, 2021
The protest took place during the school’s Parents’ Weekend.
“It’s important that our entire Northwestern community is aware, especially parents, (of) where their money is being put,” an anonymous student protestor told The Daily Northwestern
— Lauren Withrow (@lolowithrow) November 7, 2021
Protestors carried banners calling on the university to end its financial ties to the Northwestern Police as well as to the state of Israel.
Signs reportedly displayed sayings including "ABOLISH NUPD INVEST IN BLACK LIVES," "STOP FUNDING THE WAR ON PALESTINE," and "DIVEST FROM DEATH."
According to The Daily Northwestern, as protestors continued to take up more minutes of the field the crowd began to boo.
Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald expressed concern for the security risk they posed to the student-athletes.
"There's an arena for the athletes, the officials, the coaches and those that are supposed to be in it," Fitzgerald continued. "Any time that that gets compromised, it gives you pause, and you have great care and concern. I don't know if anybody saw, but that's all I was focused on was trying to keep our guys away." Fitzgerald told reporters postgame.
This comes amid an increase in student activism geared toward the goal of dissolution of campus police. In the summer of 2020, a petition attributed to “Black students and Black studnt organizations” circulated, demanding that the university sever ties with both the campus police and local police and redirect the funds to projects that benefit the Black community.
In November 2020, the university refused to commit to the defunding of the campus police department.
NU Dissenters, a group formed in the winter of 2020 and then revived in the fall, wants to push the university to divest from major weapons manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies.
The group told The Daily Northwestern that it gained interest from six students after its demonstration.
In 2019, students from Harvard and Yale similarly stormed the field during the annual rivalry football game in a protest demanding divestment from fossil fuels. The interruption to the game lasted almost an hour, and in September Harvard capitulated to the demands by divesting its endowment from fossil fuels.