Our Streets LUC Urges Students to Boycott Class, Attend Speaking Event for Upcoming ‘Black Out Day’

Alanna Demetrius | Loyola PhoenixOur Streets LUC has been holding demonstrations on and around Loyola's Lake Shore Campus since Aug. 21.

Our Streets LUC — the group in charge of recent protests pushing for Loyola to better support Black students and cut ties with the Chicago Police Department — is planning a university-wide class boycott and speaking event on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus Sept. 11.

The group began circulating a post on Instagram Sept. 7 encouraging Loyola students to participate in “Black Out Day,” in which organizers ask students to skip class during the day Sept. 11 and attend an event in the West quad at 3 p.m.

“Instead of going to classes, join us and listen to Black students share their stories,” the post said.

“The goal is to provide a platform for Black voices,” Protest Organizer Dorien Perry-Tillmon told The Phoenix in an email. 

Both students and faculty are invited to attend, Perry-Tillmon wrote in the email. Our Streets LUC will also be livestreaming the event on Instagram for those who wish to participate, but aren’t near campus. 

Perry-Tillmon told The Phoenix he encourages students to use resources on the Our Streets LUC Instagram to “self educate” before the event instead of attending classes during the day.

Some of the resources the group is promoting include books, films, podcasts and music — all of which surround themes of racism, activism and Black culture.

The organizers have been in talks with administration to go over logistics of holding a demonstration on campus, Vice President of Student Development Jane Neufeld told The Phoenix. Neufeld said the demonstrators have already been practicing mask and social distancing policies required by the university. 

Neufeld said she supports the event as long as students adhere to demonstration policies, and added she feels better about students protesting on campus rather than in the streets. 

“It’s safer to be on campus, I really worry about students out in the busy streets,” Neufeld said. “I support it, we have a demonstration policy that’s fairly liberal and I hope it goes well, it’s another way to get their message out.”

Demonstrations are allowed on campus but, “demonstrations may not take place in a manner that endangers the University community, violates the law, defames a specific individual, constitutes a genuine threat or harassment, unjustifiably invades the rights of others, or interrupts the functioning of the University,” according to Loyola’s community standards.

It’s up to students whether or not they want to skip class to participate in the protest — Neufeld said she doesn’t endorse ditching but encourages students to coordinate with their professors if they decide to.

“Of course we don’t encourage it, but if students choose to miss class hopefully they follow-up appropriately with their instructors so they know,” Neufeld said. “It’s up to the instructor what their attendance policy is.”

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