EVANSTON, Ill – Nine protesters rushed onto the pitch at the end of the first half of Northwestern’s 17-12 loss to No.19 from Iowa on Saturday night.
Protesters displayed hand-made signs that read “ABOLISH NUPD INVEST IN BLACK LIVES”, “STOP FINANCING THE WAR ON PALESTINE”, “DIVEST FROM DEATH” and more. NUPD refers to the Northwestern University Police Department.
After several minutes late in the game, an individual dressed in Iowa gear also rushed onto the field and scanned the panels, bringing some to the ground. The individual gave an obscene hand gesture as he left the pitch, then stood behind the end zone with his arms raised, encouraging a response from the fans.
Once the individual dressed in the Iowa gear left the field, security began to approach the protesters, who then dropped their signs and exited the field through the southern area.
After the game, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald told reporters his primary focus “is the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes.”
“There is an arena for athletes, officials, coaches and those who are supposed to be there,” Fitzgerald continued. “Anytime that gets compromised, it gives you a break, and you’re very attentive and worried. I don’t know if anyone saw, but that’s all I was focusing on, that was to. trying to keep our guys away. “
Fitzgerald changed gears to talk about Bryan Heinz, a former defensive back from the Northwest who served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and was honored by the program this weekend.
The Twitter accounts of a handful of student-run organizations claim responsibility for the protest. Organizations include NU Community Not Cops, Students for Social Justice in Palestine, Northwestern Graduate Workers, Fossil Free Northwestern, NU Dissenters, and Students Organizing for Labor Rights.
Northwestern Community Not Cops – a student organization that advocates for divesting police systems for investment in black communities – submitted a list of demands on Twitter. The list includes meetings between students and the Northwestern board of directors, resources that protect survivors of sexual violence, and more.
The University has yet to release an official statement regarding the incident. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
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