A student group that was attempting to organize a protest at the University of Iowa’s Homecoming game on Saturday has cancelled its plans over safety concerns. Members of the group had announced their intention to engage in nonviolent action to raise awareness of police brutality directed against African-Americans.
“We were informed after a series of meetings and discussions with various members of administration in conjunction with the police departments that safety could not be guaranteed,” Ariana Smith, a UI student and spokesperson for Our Voice Matters, told Little Village in an email. Smith declined to say which members of the administration the group had been in contact with, or specify which police departments had taken part in the talks.
According to an Our Voice Matters press release issued on Thursday,
Through these meetings we have determined that the demands CAN and WILL be pursued through conversations with administration. These conversations are already in place. If you want to be part of this initiative, you are welcomed to be at the table. With all that being said, there will be NO PARTICIPATION on behalf of “Our Voice Matters” in the parade or football game. [Emphasis in the original.]
Little Village emailed the university asking for comment, but has not yet received a reply.
The university had earlier issued a statement regarding the planned protest: “The University of Iowa values the First Amendment and freedom of expression. Civil discourse and the respectful exchange of ideas are the cornerstones of higher education and this great institution.”