Mass meeting planned

By Mark McGowan

In an effort intended to be a mass assembly, four campus groups met Tuesday to plan a larger meeting next week to discuss recent campus violence.

Jim Fabris of Freedom Now, said an extra week will allow time for the coalition of Freedom Now, the Black Student Union, B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S and the Feminist Front to organize and promote the event. The mass meeting is scheduled for 9 p.m. Tuesday in the Regency Room of the Holmes Student Center.

Two white males pulled a black NIU student from his car and beat him at around midnight Oct. 14 in the 900 block of Hillcrest Drive. Some have labeled the incident a racially motivated attack, while police maintain the incident was triggered by a traffic dispute.

Concerns were raised Tuesday night about comments from the DeKalb City Council and DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow, who said “there is no racism in DeKalb.” Sparrow’s remarks are “ludicrous. It’s (racism) not a problem for Sparrow,” Fabris said.

“People in power use racism to maintain power. They keep blacks and whites and different ethnic backgrounds fighting each other instead of fighting together for their rights,” Fabris said.

“It’s clear that both (the) city council and the DeKalb Police are here to protect property owners and they discriminate on the basis of race,” Fabris said. “To the police, racism isn’t a problem, it’s a solution.”

Student Association Senator and former BSU President Tracy Deis said the BSU is concentrating on racial attacks and not sexual assaults. She said the group is trying to plan a way of making its opinion known without breaking the law.

“We’re trying to do this as legally as possible, because they’ll (DeKalb police and NIU officials) be waiting for us to do something illegal,” Deis said. Recent attacks and other black and white confrontations will lead to race riots on campus, she said.

The meeting became heated by an individual who said he was a friend of the three NIU students suspected in the Oct. 14 attack. The individual claimed the three students were watching their friends attack the lone male, and not participating.

Deis said if this is true, the three are “just as guilty” for letting the attack happen. They should be responsible for their friends, she said.

“People are sick of being accused, white or black. People are sick of being harassed, white or black—and they’re going to start tearing this university apart brick by brick,” Deis said.

Deis said students should not trust the DeKalb Police department. “They don’t want to cooperate,” she said. “It’s their problem, their department.”

Freedom Now also will meet tonight at 9 p.m. in HSC room 305 to discuss similar issues and plan the mass meeting. Fabris said he and Feminist Front leader Julia Stege designed leaflets promoting next week’s meeting and will distribute them around campus Friday and Monday.