They Aren’t Taking This Lying Down…
Students Taking Action Now: Darfur, a group of students at UNCG, staged a 15-minute die-in on Oct. 16. The group formed early in the fall semester to protest the US government’s failure to intercede in the genocide occurring in the Sudan, said faculty advisor Joan Paluzzi.
‘“The lead story should really be about Darfur,’” Paluzzi said. ‘“It should be about how really horrific the situation is there.’”
About 25 people laid in the middle of University Avenue with signs taped to their chests describing the numbers of the murdered and the acts committed against ethnic minorities. Capt. Paul Lester from the UNCG Police Department ordered the protesters to get out of the road, which is only used by emergency vehicles, after a few minutes of protest.
The confrontation dovetailed with a rally half a block away held by the College Libertarians to reform the campus free speech policy. Libertarian supporters urged students to ignore the officer and exercise their First Amendment right.
‘“Right now you’re breaking the law,’” Lester said. ‘“This is an access area for emergency vehicles. You are subject to being arrested for disorderly conduct.’”
Cheka Leinwall, the associate director of the Office of Student Life, pleaded with both groups to move to designated free speech zones. Confining protests to those zones keeps those who are studying and attending classes from being disturbed. She also expressed concern for the Darfur protesters’ safety.
‘“Look at them just lying in the street,’” Leinwall said. ‘“I mean my gosh, they could get hurt.’”
– Amy Kingsley