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News ::
NortheNortheastern Students rally to save the African American Institute
10 May 2001
Northeastern University hands down decision on the status of the John D. O'Bryant Institute today. Yesterday students rallied to voice their opposition to the demolition of the Institute building.
Students at Northeastern University (NU) have been sleeping in the John D. O'Bryant African American Institute since mid April to save the building from demolition. The Administration has suggested the building would be demolished since the campus is trying to expand. The Institute houses the one of five African American libraries in the nation, has study space and a computer laboratory. It has served as an important meeting place for African American and all minority students for the past thirty years. The Institute was created in the late 1960s in response to growing racial tensions on campus.

The Administration had originally suggested moving the Institute from its own building to one floor of another existing building. Due to the excellent organizing by members of the Black Student Association, the administration is now considering keeping the Institute in its original building, but renovating it, or erecting a new, more modern building for the Institute on campus. The Black Students Association insists that the Institute must be housed in its own building.

Yesterday, students from the Black Student Association held a rally on campus to show President Freeland there is strong support for the African American Institute. Rousing speeches were given by sophomore Justin Brown, President of the Black Student Association, Ibiere Seck and City Councillor Chuck Turner. Ellis Reid, a junior at NU led a march to the President's Office and then to The Egan Science Center, where President Freeland was attending, ironically, a diversity awards banquet. Protestors filled the lobby of the building outside of the banquet meeting room. Police had blocked all entrances to the meeting room,so protestors sat quietly in the lobby, waiting for the President to leave the banquet. When it became clear that the wait would be very long, a student from NU began to sing the Black National Anthem. Many of the protestors joined in singing during this powerful moment. Protestors filed out of the building feeling empowered and chanting "Ain't no power like the power of the people, cuz the power of the people won't stop!" (Photos from the rally will be posted soon).

Today at five p.m., President Freeland will announce at the John D. O'Bryant African-American Institute the future of the Institute. The Black Student Association calls on all supporters to attend this meeting.
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