A group of protesters blocked the door to the Cohort Classroom, Room 1050 in the Godfrey Graduate and Executive Education Center, where bank executives were recruiting business students. Sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the room’s door, protesters blocked anyone from entering the room.
When police arrived at the scene, they advised the protesters in a calm voice to move from the door or they would be arrested for trespassing. After the threat of arrest, most of the protesters sitting in front of the door moved away but continued to protest in the surrounding hallway and stairwell. However, three protesters remained, silent.
After several additional warnings of arrest, police grabbed the three protesters — one female and two males — and pulled apart their linked arms. The female protester was rolled onto her stomach and officers locked her wrists with handcuffs. Throughout the first wave of arrests, protesters yelled at the police, “Shame on you.”
The three were removed from the building, and the female’s legs hovered above the ground as police carried her out.
One protester waved a sign reading, “Not on our campus.”
Directly following the removal of the three protesters, two more male protesters sat cross-legged in front of the door, linking arms. Again, police threatened their arrest.
The scene intensified as the two protesters were also arrested and removed from their spot in front of the door. Shortly after their removal, several police stood in front of the door to prevent more protesters from squatting there.
“Thank you for blocking the door for us,” one of the protesters shouted at the
Although the protesters were not directly representing Occupy Bloomington or Occupy IU, senior Justinian Dispenza said the protest was organized in solidarity with the Occupy movement. Dispenza was designated as the group’s media liaison.
He said the purpose of the protest was a direct action against JPMorgan-Chase.
The five protesters were “arrested for blocking the entrance to a room after being asked numerous times to stop blocking the entrance or be arrested for trespass,” IUPD Chief Keith Cash said in an email. “The others were not arrested as they were peaceful and not blocking people from entering the room.”
After protesters were arrested, Dispenza recited prepared statements from those arrested.
“JPMorgan-Chase was among the major financial institutions that caused the 2008 financial collapse with its criminally greedy, fraudulent lending practices,” said student Nick Greven’s prepared statement.
“JPMorgan-Chase has played a significant, though not solitary, role in this globally perverted economic structure, and thus action against this company is action against oppression,” said sophomore Peter Oren’s prepared statement said.
Before the protests began, Dispenza stood in the Herman B Wells Library in a black suit with subtle gray pinstripes. As protesters slowly began to congregate, the sleeves on Dispenza’s suit were rolled up, exposing his forearms. Written on his arm in purple marker was a phone number to a safe house hotline. Dispenza passed black, red and purple markers to participants and suggested they write phone numbers on their arms in case of their arrest. Many complied.
Together, the group walked from the library at 6:30 p.m. to the graduate school in the Kelley School of Business. Upon their arrival they struggled to locate the specific location of the meeting because it had been moved. But the location was quickly found after the protesters broke into small groups to search.
At first, six officers arrived to the scene. But then it multiplied to 12, then 13.
Police told protesters they would have to vacate the building if they were not students or employees of the University.
“You’ll have to check in at the registration desk if you want to be in this hallway,” one officer told the protesters.
Responding to the officer, one protester said no campus regulations required them to check in to be inside the building.
“JPMorgan, feel free to leave,” protesters chanted.
The commotion eventually escalated from just in front of the door to down the hallway and to the building’s front entrance. As protesters tried to leave, police barricaded them inside. One man in a business suit was allowed to pass by the police outside into the rain.
At one point during the commotion, several protesters were allegedly pushed by a man in a gray suit. The man was later identified as IUPD Detective Greg McClure.
“Do you treat your wife this way?” protesters yelled at McClure.
Following McClure around the building, protesters demanded to know why “peaceful protesters” were being arrested when McClure was not being arrested for “assault.”
Student Rachel Geiger was one of three students claiming she was assaulted by McClure. Although she said she was not planning to press charges without first consulting with the other people allegedly assaulted, she showed a small bruise above her right elbow.
Protesters moved back in front of the door where their protest originally began.
Sitting on the floor in the middle of the hallway, three students told police they could not legally be arrested for sitting peacefully in a hallway. One officer objected. He told the protesters they were a fire hazard. They moved.
Sophomore Paul Gillette, who tried to attend the JPMorgan presentation, said he hopes to pursue a career in investment banking after graduating. He was walking to Kelley when he noticed police cars parked outside with their lights on. He said he did not think anything of the police as he walked inside toward the presentation.
As he approached, he said he heard protesters chanting their frustrations against America’s current economic condition. He said police were blocking the door, and he was unable to get inside. He was disappointed that he was unable to attend, and after sticking around for only a few minutes, he walked back home.
Gillette said he disagrees with the Occupy movement. He said he thinks the protesters are trying to take away the essential component of the American Dream.
“I was very disappointed that the event was canceled,” Gillette said. “JPMorgan and other banks that make the trip from New York to Bloomington invest a lot of time, money and other resources recruiting the incredible talent that the Kelley school has to offer. What the protesters don’t realize is that they ruined the presentation for all of the hard-working students attending the event.
“With Thanksgiving just last week, it’s really important to remember how much opportunity there is in America to be thankful for. There are no limitations in this country preventing any one of us from chasing our dream.”
A video was posted on Youtube showing the arrests. Click here to watch the video on Youtube.
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