*This is part one of two involving responses of students that were at Dillard, where the protest was*
What I thought would be a peaceful protest turned out to be a violent battle between university students and campus authorities. the dillard protest was very intriguing to say the very least. I went to Dillard to cover the Louisiana senate debate, primarily focusing on the candidacy of Dr. David Duke, a former ku klux klan grand wizard, for a Data News Weekly article. however, we were not the only one’s waiting for his arrival. when we first arrived, students from Xavier, Tulane, and Loyola were gathered at the front gates of the university, chanting and giving crowd talks discussing their disgust with a white supremacist being allowed on a historically black campus. To add more insult to injury, Dillard students had attempted to contact their president, Walter Kimbrough, via twitter, email, and formally written letters detailing their disapproval. Duke’s presence on a historically black university was truly abysmal. Through witnessing a poor example of campus policing and seeing extreme force used in response for minimal offences, covering the protest was a riveting experience and stupefying to see dozens of people who supported dillard students.
Any time you put a former kkk grand wizard at a historically black campus, it’s bound to have negative consequences. It was hard to detach myself as a reporter and not become a protester. When you’re that closely packed with people, it’s almost as if the emotions and tensions flow from person to person. I was angry, but i didn’t know why. Things I normally wouldn’t condone—like destruction—started sounding like a good idea once someone yelled it with a vibrato in their voice akin to preachers. I was swept up in their protest, their words—and for good reason. They had every right to be angry he was there. That being said, a part of me was not surprised at 6:57 p.m. When the first round of mace went out. One minute I held my cell phone in the air, recording videos and thinking I should leave soon because I had all the quotes I needed for a story I was going to write—and then the next minute, I found myself fifteen feet away from my previous position, coughing up pepper spray. It took a little over three minutes for it to be violent and less than 20 for everything to settle down again. It was eye-opening, especially being there and seeing how the media portrayed it, and where the blame was placed versus where it should’ve been placed .(Dr. Walter kimbrough, all 13 of the Xaverities there were not at that door inciting violence)