UC student body prez arrested while protesting DeVos
Five University of Chicago students, including the student body president, were arrested Tuesday while protesting the confirmation of Secretary of Education nominee Betsy Devos.
The demonstration took place, part of the weekly “#ResistTrumpTuesdays” effort in Chicago, began with a rally outside the federal building where senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth have offices, and ended with the arrest of Student Government President Eric Holmberg and six others after they entered the building, according to The Chicago Tribune.
The Chicago Maroon, UC’s student newspaper, tweeted out a picture of the arrests as they were happening, showing Holmberg and another individual hanging limp so as to force Chicago Police officers to drag them out of the lobby of the building.
Following the arrests, the University of Chicago College Republicans expressed disappointment in Holmberg’s actions, arguing that he accomplished nothing with his sacrifice.
“With all of the critical education causes put at risk by Speaker Madigan’s obstructionism in Illinois, it bedevils us that Mr. Holmberg chose to go to jail fighting to convince two staunchly Democratic senators to vote against a Republican nominee,” the Executive Board of the chapter said in a statement to Campus Reform. “It seems to be a waste of effort.”
CR President Matthew Foldi, however, separately expressed concern that the protest might actually have influenced Durbin and Duckworth to oppose DeVos’ nomination, observing that “school choice is one of the most important issues of our day, and one of the rare areas where conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats can agree.”
Prior to his arrest Tuesday, Holmberg had previously gained attention for criticizing a letter advising incoming freshmen that UC does not offer safe spaces, which Holmberg called a “poor introduction to the intellectual environment.”
“Coming out against trigger warnings in the name of ‘academic freedom’ does suggest a misunderstanding of the term,” he told The Blaze. “Incoming freshmen should be invited to participate in our active intellectual environment with their whole selves, but are instead being told that they must check their compassion and their experiences at the door.”
“We have an LGBQT office, they offer safe-space training, they have made an effort to provide safe spaces. Then the dean of students, who’s responsible for student life, is saying the university doesn’t like safe spaces,” he elaborated to The Washington Post. “I personally identify as a queer student—when I go to my advisers’ offices, are they still going to be trained in the same way? That’s a real concern for myself and other students.”
Campus Reform reached out to the University for comment on the arrest of Holmberg and the other students, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AutumnDawnPrice