NU alumni talk student protests, stop University donations due inadequate response


Binah Schatsky/The Daily Northwestern

NU alumni discuss the student protests to abolish NUPD and the University’s responses. Some are considering withholding donations to the University.

Angeli Mittal, Reporter

Over a month into NU Community Not Cops’ daily actions, some Northwestern alumni say the administration’s response to student protests have adversely affected their willingness to donate to the University.

Cara Lewis (Weinberg ’18) said she’s happy to see the development of NUCNC, saying it was long overdue. The movement to abolish campus police, she said, is an extension of NU students’ ongoing activism and progressive efforts.

“I’ve been really disappointed and kind of disgusted by the administration’s responses,” Lewis said. “I felt like the administration has been ignoring reasonable demands, making commitments that they are not upholding and just generally not doing a good job responding to the protests.”

Josh Walfish (Medill ’14) said he’s not surprised that these protests are happening. He said conversations with friends and family about the University have recently revolved around the protests. The fact that these ongoing tensions between students and administrators have not yet been resolved, he said, has been garnering a lot of negative attention.

The former Daily staffer said while he supports the message of NUCNC, he does not agree with some of the tactics protestors have used.

“The administration that starts and ends with (President Schapiro) has butchered responses to these protests before, they’re probably going to do it again,” Walfish said. “Defacing property and some of the other actions that I’ve seen from the protests doesn’t help their cause either, especially when Morty also has to be thinking about his relationship with the city.”

Despite ongoing media attention and coverage, some alumni are not fully aware of the protests on campus. Laura Hansen (Medill ’01) told The Daily that while previously unaware of the protests, NUCNC’s actions would not impact her donations to the University. She said she is hopeful that the protests will bring about “crucial conversations” for the next step forward.

Nicole Burke (Weinberg ’15) posted a tweet encouraging NU alumni to fund NUCNC efforts rather than donating to #CATSGiveBack, a University-sponsored fundraising campaign. She noted a disconnect between students and the administration, with the University ignoring student voices.

“To get this email from the University to be like, ‘Please donate us money,’ I was like, ‘You don’t deserve our money right now,’” Burke said. “You’re not really acting in a way that warrants me giving you a donation of any kind.”

Burke said she agrees with NUCNC’s demands to divest from the police. She said she believes the University is putting more funding in policing where it could be redistributed to other campus resources like mental health services that create a safe space for students.

Frustrated with the lack of transparency of University Police, Lewis said she won’t be donating until the University meets the demands of the student protestors.

Lewis said she’s made yearly donations to the University since graduation. Now, she said she plans to start giving money to NUCNC instead.

“I don’t see myself donating until NUPD has been either completely reformed or disbanded,” Lewis said. “I just don’t trust that the University is going to be using that money for what I think it should be used for.”

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Twitter: @amittal27

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