ROGERS PARK — Charges have been dropped against three Loyola University students behind last month's rally in solidarity with the University of Missouri shortly after they were filed, according to a statement from John P. Pelissero, the school's interim president.
On Nov. 12, over 700 students, staff and community members demonstrated on campus to protest racism at American college campuses.
On Dec. 3, Loyola Black Voices, an on-campus group, said in a written statement that three students, Dominick Hall, Ryan Sorrell and Julian Marshall, were called into the school's Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution where they were told two of them faced suspension for violating the university's demonstration policy.
According to the group, the university objected to the protest because it was unregistered and took place in unreserved locations. Students did not get prior approval from the proper administrators and used "amplified sound," the group wrote.
The Loyola Black Voices organization, a newly-formed student group, is itself technically unregistered with the school, according to student newspaper The Loyola Phoenix.
“This policy prevents these communities from organizing in a timely and effective manner in response to situations as they happen,” said Hall, one of the students who was disciplined. “Loyola strives to be a ‘marketplace of ideas,’ but uses policies such as the demonstration policy, as is the case with other private institutions, to systematically silence student voices.”
By Dec. 5, the university had changed course, saying the charges would be dismissed.
Demonstrators said charges should never have been brought in the first place, despite the infractions, because it was heavily advertised and endorsed by a number of student groups. They pointed to a letter from Pelissero the day of the demonstration that voiced support for protesters.
In his letter Dec. 5, Pelissero said he had stayed true to his post-demonstration commitment to have serious talks about ways to improve race issues on campus with black student leaders.
In the near future, the school vowed to take steps toward finding permanent solutions, including conducting a climate survey and detailing a full report of their plan.
"I believe that we can, and will, make Loyola an even better institution," Pelissero wrote.
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