City alters protest ordinance drafts

Elizabeth Heckenast, second year law student, expresses concern about the lack of communication with NIU about the unlawful assembly ordinances at a DeKalb Human Relations Commission meeting Thursday. Read more at

By Madison Kacer

New drafts of the ordinances relating to unlawful assemblies and weapons at assemblies now incorporate community feedback received at previous meetings.

The ordinances describe what actions and characteristics define an unlawful assembly. Some of the actions not included in this draft but in the original are unlawful possession or use of cannabis and unlawful sale, furnishing, possession or consumption of alcohol. The drafts were presented at a Humans Relation Commission meeting Thursday.

This special meeting, which was attended by 15 community members, was hosted in response to large volumes of community input at the Feb. 2 meeting. The drafts were published on the city of DeKalb’s website along with the meeting agenda on Feb. 16.

The ordinances were originally proposed at a City Council meeting on Jan. 11, but were deferred to the Human Relations Commission, which will advise the City Council about the ordinances after considering community feedback.

Elizabeth Heckenast, second year law student, felt the ordinances should be published in the student handbook, if passed, so that students are aware of their rights.

“There [are] a number of students who [don’t] know about this [ordinance],” Heckenast said at a Thursday Human Relations Commission meeting. “If we do end up adopting this, how do we communicate it?”

Community members and commissioners alike continued to express opposed commentary about the ordinances despite the fact that many of the unlawful activities proposed in the original draft were taken out.

Norden Gilbert, Human Relations Commission member, said he felt the state laws were enough.

The Human Relations Commission will discuss the proposed ordinances at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on March 1.