Students Stage “Die-In” To Protest Ferguson Decision
At 12:30 p.m. today, a group of students gathered in the HUB to protest the non-indictment of Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. in August. The protest was a “die-in,” modeled after the famous sit-ins of the civil rights movement.
For forty-five minutes, the student protestors laid on the floor of the ground-floor HUB. They dressed all in black, and duct-taped their mouths shut. Some protestors held signs, while others wrote the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter across their tapped mouths.
Sean Gregory, Onward State
Since the protest happened right as class was letting out, the die-in caused quite a pile up in the HUB. The stairwell was completely blocked, and passersby had to weave through the protestors to continue walking.
Anna Foley, Onward State
The idea for the protest began when the grand jury’s decision to not indict Darren Wilson was announced last week. The actual decision to stage the die-in was quite last minute. “We decided to do the die-in last night, but it was a work in progress since the decision last week,” said Michael Banks.
The die-in was not staged by a single group on campus, but rather by the executive boards of many multicultural groups on campus. According to Terrell Finner, President of the National Panhellenic Council, the executive board members of the on campus black student groups began planning on a GroupMe.
“Nationally, we saw that there were a lot of protests, sit-ins, and die-ins, and we thought we had to do something to be reactive,” said Finner. “So we decided that when we all got back, we were going to do some type of protest.”
The students involved in the protest settled on a die-in, because of what it symbolized for the African-American community. “We felt that a die-in was the most effective protest,” said Finner. “We wanted to embody African-American voices being silenced in this country.”
Anna Foley, Onward State
Since the protest was planned last night, the group did not have it approved by Penn State. But the university did not stop the protest, and the die-in lasted for the intended forty-five minutes.
“We were not removed, and were able to stay for forty-five minutes to symbolize the four and a half hours that Mike Brown’s body was left outside after he was killed,” said Finner.
According to Finner, the protests and demonstrations will continue throughout this week.