Loyola students walked out of their classrooms Wednesday to gather inside Damen Student Center in a direct response to the Feb. 24 incident in which Loyola Campus Safety officers detained a Loyola student and grabbed another by her shirt after the students interfered in the police search of two non-students scalping basketball tickets. The two students had been protesting the new athletic facility during a men’s basketball game when they saw Campus Safety frisking the alleged scalpers.
During the walk out, the crowd gathered around the stairs just outside the Black Cultural Center (BCC) where organizers stood on the first landing, ready to speak. Most of the attendees wore black in solidarity of the men and students of color that were involved in the incident. At the time of the first speech, the crowd stretched from the information booth to the coffee station, in some places seven or eight people deep.
The first speaker, BCC member Robin Branton, expressed a shared frustration about Loyola’s response to Saturday’s incident and the actions of the officers.
“There will be no more downplaying of the situation or brushing it off,” Branton said. “I don’t know about you all but this is not my Loyola.”
Branton said the organizers — including members of BCC, African Student Alliance, the International Socialist Organization and other student groups — had a list of demands for the university, including a formal apology to Loyola’s students of color, immunity for the students involved in the incident and “acknowledgement … of the use of excessive force by their officers.”
“People on this campus are hurt,” another student organizer said to the crowd. “Students of color here are hurt, and all we see from our university is silence. This is not the Loyola that I payed for, this is not the Loyola that I came here for.”
Alan Campbell, the student who was detained by Campus Safety, was present and a speaker at the walk out. He spoke about his experience with the officers and what led to his detainment.
“Through mass action I was freed from unexplainable containment by [Campus Safety] … by [students from the protest] surrounding the LUC patrol car for 35 minutes advocating for my freedom,” Campbell said.
Campbell said with continued mass action, students could raise awareness about racial profiling at Loyola and the surrounding Rogers Park neighborhood.
Loyola said in a Feb. 25 statement that the incident wasn’t racial profiling. Communications Specialist Evangeline Politis was not available for comment about the walk out at the time of publication.
Loyola President Jo Ann Rooney sent out an email Feb. 27 stating that as a Jesuit, Catholic institution, “the pain and suffering of any one of us is an issue for all of us.” The email also included information on the recent Diversity and Inclusion Campus Climate Survey, saying that from that information, as well as through open listening sessions with students, the university would be working to “identify gaps and areas in need of improvement.”
Afterward, attendees lined up to sign a petition asking Loyola to meet the demands outlined during the walk out.
Student organizers declined to be interviewed at the time of the event, saying they would speak at the Town Hall happening March 1 at 6:30 p.m. in the Sullivan Center’s Galvin Auditorium.