Illinois students protest CIA recruiting meeting


An unidentified student talks with Jacob Crawford, right, senior in LAS and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, about CIA policies during a protest of a CIA recruiting meeting Thursday, April 9, 2009, at the Business Instructional Facility. The presence of the protesters caused the recruiting meeting to be cancelled due to CIA policy.

By Grace Rebekah Kenney

Around 20 students who attended the CIA Information Session held at the Business Instructional Facility on Thursday night had to leave 10 minutes after the meeting began.

Due to a protest held by the Campus Anti-War Network, International Socialist Organization and Iraq Veterans Against the War, the informational meeting was shut down before its proposed end time.

“They said that it was just policy that they could not hold an information session in light of protest or the press being here,” said Harrison Dobe, a graduate student who attended the meeting.

The eight protesters assembled near the doorway where the meeting was held, holding posters reading “Extraordinary Rendition is just another name for Torture,” and “Save Kenneth Foster.”

One student wore a grim reaper costume while wearing a sign reading “Abu Ghraib” while another dressed in imitation of a tortured prisoner with a sack tied around his head, wearing a sign labeled “Gitmo.”

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Eric Heim, sophomore in LAS and spokesman for the protest, said this is the third year the group has protested the CIA in this fashion, but the first time the CIA information session has been shut down.

“We’re here because the CIA has no right to recruit on our campus, especially since our slogan is ‘Labor and Learning,'” he said. “The CIA is not here for labor or learning. They’re here to train people to overthrow governments.”

CIA representatives and the professor in charge of the event declined to comment on the protest.

Heim listed government coups and torture as practices the protesters were fighting against and said the CIA should be opposed wherever it happens to be.

Shortly after the protest began, two police officers arrived. Campus police Sgt. Aaron Frederick said an informant called, wanting the protesters removed.

“I’m not going to ask them to leave, because the students have a right to peaceably demonstrate,” Frederick said, adding that he planned to explain to the person who called about the students’ rights as to why he did not ask the protesters to disperse.

Dobe said he felt it was unfortunate that he was unable to get any of the information he came to hear.

“I guess they got what they wanted because we didn’t get to have our info session today,” he said. “These people should look in the mirror and realize that the only reason they’re allowed to do things like this is because of organizations like this and our military and government.”

CIA representatives told students that another session may be rescheduled in the future.