Students take part in on campus “die-in”

Students from one of our local universities have joined in on protesting against the recent Grand Jury announcements out of Missouri and New York.

A protest was held in the middle of the Student Center on the Southern Illinois University campus on Tuesday.

At least 50 students took a break from studying for finals and participated in a die-in.

The height of finals week and it is not the heads in textbooks that you see in the SIU Student Center, it is bodies, stretched out on the floor.

Aziza McNeese took a study break to make her voice heard.

“We want to be heard by the police, we want to be heard by everyone to say, ‘ok, a lot of people are supporting this, maybe it is time to change, maybe we can work out something,” said McNeese.

But others, like Bethany Henning, just came to listen.

“I think that the best way I can ally with black people is to listen to them and their experiences.”

There are certain locations around campus where a rally like this one is permitted, and as long as students are not blocking a hallway or using a microphone, protests like this are not only allowed, they are encouraged.

“A university, a center for higher learning is all about discourse and exploring new ideas and new perspectives,” said Dean of Students Katie Sermercheim.

Sermerscheim says she celebrates student’s viewpoints, as long as they express them peacefully.

“Because it is finals week, so if a student is trying to get to class in a hurried way and if there was a demonstration blocking their path, that could be cause for unnecessary stress,” said Sermerscheim.

McNeese says finals can wait, she feels moments like this one are an equal part of her educational experience.

“I’m a symbol. I feel like I am a symbol,” said McNeese.

She says she is willing to lay down for her cause.

Tuesday’s rally was not hosted by any organization, just a small group of students who spread the word.

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