Day of Action was successful overall

Yesterday’s Day of Action brought protest to NIU’s campus in a number of forms, including a rally at King Memorial Commons and a sit-down demonstration blocking Lincoln Hwy., followed by a demonstration at The Northern Star.

Considering the cold weather, attendance at the rally in the mall wasn’t as bad as some people might have expected. There were consistently about 100 to 150 people present, with a small turnover every half hour or so. Still, it’s one more indicator of the apathy level among NIU students that so few people found it worth their while to attend.

The protesters who blocked Lincoln Hwy. at Carroll Avenue succeeded in their apparent goal—to get publicity. What kind of publicity this demonstration will bring students—negative or positive—remains to be seen. But then again, that hasn’t appeared to be much of a concern for the organizers.

In their defense, the organizers clearly kept in mind that publicity was their goal—not getting people arrested. The demonstration was very tightly controlled and organized, which prevented potentially dangerous confrontations with police or drivers.

The demonstration which followed at the Star was clearly based on gross misconceptions about the operations of the paper, and the roles of Editorial Board members.

When the Star has something to say, it appears in the lead editorial—what you are reading right now. That shouldn’t be too tough for sophisticated student activists to remember. All other columns represent the opinion of the named, pictured author—it is absolutely irrelevant that any given author happens to also be a member of the Editorial Board.

The Star never said students should pay the tuition increase and stop complaining. The Star said that students were apathetic and had waited too long to take action. While yesterday’s protesters were taking education funding for granted last spring, Springfield was just buzzing with activity.

And it’s not like there were no warning signs that this situation would occur. Students just chose not to pay attention. They consistently, election after election, have failed to vote in any significant number. To some extent, people give up the right to complain when they help create a problem by failing to act when action could have made a difference.

All in all, the Day of Action went well. Now it’s time to see whether legislators will do their duty—and whether the protesters will continue their efforts, or return to a state of apathy. And, in the long term, watch those election returns—to see just how quickly people forget.