University Police issuing citations to some students involved in Jeff Sessions protest


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

University Police officers formed a shoulder-to-shoulder wall blocking the Lutkin Hall foyer amid protests against former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Amy Li and Troy Closson

Just over one month after students led multiple protests against former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ speech on Northwestern’s campus, University Police have issued citations to “a small number of individuals” for “disorderly conduct and interfering with the duties of a police officer” following a month-long investigation, according to a University statement.

UP Deputy Chief Eric Chin said the citations were issued for ordinance violations in the city of Evanston, each carrying a maximum civil fine of $125. The citations do not create a criminal record, Chin said.

“(They) were issued for conduct directed toward police, such as pushing, grabbing or kicking police officers as they attempted to perform their duties and secure the building,” the statement read.

A mandatory court hearing follows more than two civil violations. Chin declined to comment on how many Northwestern students will face those hearings. Chin and University spokesman Bob Rowley also declined to comment on how many students received compliance tickets, but said it was “a very small number.”

Both also declined to comment on how students who received citations were identified, if any students may face disciplinary action from Northwestern and whether the investigation is still ongoing.

Multiple students declined to comment on the situation due to privacy concerns.

Students organized in protest of Northwestern College Republicans’ decision to host Sessions on campus last month. One demonstration, “Night of Action at Northwestern University,” occurred in a parking lot outside Lutkin Hall, the location of Sessions’ speech, while participants in the other protest aimed to disrupt the event. As some protesters attempted to enter the building and lecture hall, University Police officers followed them inside, knocking some to the ground and pushing others out.

Although some universities grant amnesty to student protesters, University President Morton Schapiro emphasized in a Family Weekend event last month that Northwestern has no such policy.

In the aftermath of the Sessions protest, some students expressed concern that University Police used unjustified physical force against them, which Schapiro disagreed with at the same event saying “the police force used tremendous restraint and professionalism.”

Still, a group of more than 40 recent Northwestern alumni signed an open letter to Schapiro and University Police Department Chief of Police Bruce Lewis to express “extreme shock and dismay at the University’s violent and repressive response” to student protesters during the event.

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