Hawk Tales: Taking a Stand
One of the most influential protests in Iowa City was the protest against the Vietnam War in the spring of 1970 after the Kent State shootings that ignited protests across the country, and Iowa was no exception. Students marched on the National Guard Armory and broke windows downtown. The mayor was granted curfew powers by City Council. On May 6 the students boycotted classes. That night about 50 people set off a smoke bomb in Old Capitol. Two days later, President Sandy Boyd requested highway patrol officers arrest the protesters on the Pentacrest. The government did not withdraw its military troops even though students protested ardently. President Boyd gave students the option to leave campus for the semester. According to University of Iowa Libraries, students could leave taking their current grade as their final grade even though classes were not cancelled. (1975).
On the peak of national anti-apartheid movement in 1985, Iowa University students also came out to campaign against the UI’s administration refusal to divest from its South African businesses (Burns, 1985). Numerous protests across the campus reached their climax with a 26-hour sit-in inside Jessup Hall, after which 137 protesters were charged with civil disobedience. It was the biggest number of charges in UI since mid-1970 (Brown, 1985).
21 student protesters went on a fast that week to express their solidarity with the black South Africans whose rights were abused by the apartheid regime. “I'm appalled at what's going on in South Africa”, said one of the fasters Scott Fridriechs, “I don't want my education to be subsidized by the bloodshed”.
The march to raise awareness about women’s rights spread around the world on January 21, and nearly 1,000 people joined the protest in Iowa City.
“We have the capacity to protest and change laws that we think are unjust,” one of the marchers Amanda Opitz says, “and we’re going to need that power and energy as we move forward over the next four years.”
For UI Senior Antony (refused to disclose his last name), the march is a sign that “a lot of people care and that a lot of people are upset with the election and feel like they need to stand out and peacefully protest.” He adds that “there is a lot of discomfort in the population.” (Semken, & Schmitt-Morris, 2017)
According to the Women’s March website, its goal, like its sister marches in major U.S. cities, was to “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights.”