Friday, January 20, 2006

Ward Churchill Event at DePaul Had Bombs Threat Made Against It DePaul Refuses To Press Charges Against Threat Maker

As word of Professor Churchill’s appearance at DePaul spread, right-wing anti-Churchill fascists organized to prevent Churchill from speaking. Bill Owens, the Governor of Colorado, wrote to the University, asking them to not host

Churchill because Churchill’s views were “not simply anti-American- they are at odds with simple decency and antagonistic to the beliefs and conduct of civilized people

around the world.” One almost wonders if Owens

intended to be so blatantly racist, calling a Native American uncivilized and the little Eichmann's of the world civilized. Owens is doing all in his power to have Churchill fired at the University of Colorado as well.

DePaul republican Nick Hahn shouted at Dr. Harvette Grey of the Cultural Center, and was consequently banned from the Cultural Center.

Anti-Churchill demonstrators were met by pro-Churchill demonstrators on the day of Churchill’s appearance.

But the lowest the right-wings sank to prevent Churchill from lecturing, was when one of them called the University and said DePaul’s student center might be bombed if it held the Churchill rally. This was a bomb threat, plain and simple.

I originally heard about this from an official in Student Government. After several weeks and no mention of the incident in the DePaulia, no DePaul security notices, and no word of the threat against DePaul students, I went to get some answers from Bob Wachowski, the director of DePaul’s Public Safety.

According to Wachowski, after the bomb threat was made, public safety called the Chicago Police Department. The CPD had a heavy presence at the student center on the day of the lecture. The CPD did a search of the Student Center and found no evidence of a bomb so they didn’t evacuate. Which is fair enough, because we didn’t want the event to be canceled if there was no evidence of a real threat to students safety.

But the real question is, why not let the student body know about the bomb threat afterwards? Wachowski seemed to think that it wasn’t necessary since in his view the threat was not credible and DePaul security didn’t want to cause a panic.

This doesn’t make sense because students lives were threatened and have a right to know. DePaul security makes sure we know about every single mugging that happens. How many times have you seen a security alert telling you to be on the look out for a black or latino man because they stole $20 from someone. These create a racist atmosphere, especially since threats directed against a Native American guest who was invited here by the Cultural Center are not treated with the same importance.

Wachowski told me that since the CPD traced the call to a right-winger in Texas, the threat was not considered credible as he could not bomb the school from Texas. This should be considered a ridiculous rationalization. Even if the threat maker was in another state, he could have been working with a group like Protest Warrior or the DePaul Republicans. They could have done this person’s bidding and planted a bomb in the student center. When Bin Laden makes a threat from a cave in Pakistan, the Chicago police take that seriously, why not take this just as serious? Some right wingers might say that’s because Bin Laden is a terrorist who uses violence all the time. Well some of these right wingers in Protest Warrior have a history of violence as well. Many of them spent time in the army where t hey learned how to make explosives. Where do you think Timothy McVeigh learned how to make explosives?

As for prosecuting the threat maker, Wachowski claimed that DePaul was willing and fully prepared to. However they let the CPD do their investigation. The CPD found out who made the threat and decided that they didn’t have enough of a case to prosecute him. DePaul then is doing nothing.

I asked Wachowski if DePaul always follow the states and the CPD’s recommendations on who to arrest and prosecute. Wachowski said they did. So then I asked about Wachowski about Giuseppe’s arrest, and how the arresting officer pleaded with DePaul security not to arrest Giuseppe. Wachowski said he couldn’t comment on Giuseppe’s case. (For more on Giuseppe read Raechel’s article in this issue of Revolver.)

Wachowski said it was possible that DePaul could file a civil suit, but it would cost money and resources that might not return.

DePaul Students Against the War and the Activist Student Union demand either a criminal or a civil suit against the bomb threat maker, an end to the racist harassment of the cultural center and Ward Churchill and hands off Giuseppe!

We would also like to commend the Cultural Center for going through with event, they have immense courage, and should be respected for all they do for the DePaul community.

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