Last year on April 20, the officials closed CU-Boulder’s campus to the public, spread fish fertilizer on Norlin Quad, threw a Wyclef Jean concert that saw little student attendance, and arrested three CU students for trespassing onto Norlin Quad.
CU students John Demopoulos, Jonathan Edwards and Gabriel Kuettel were seen standing in front of Norlin Quad with signs and were later arrested after venturing onto the closed quad. The CU Independent interviewed one student, then 21-year-old John Demopoulos, moments prior to his arrest and sat down to talk with him one year later about what happened.
Prior to his arrest, Demopoulos said that he first decided something was wrong with the police presence on campus when he saw a cart full of officers approach two kids who were smoking a hand-rolled cigarette.
“The protesting moment was in between class, I had a book bag on and 20 minutes,” Demopoulos said. “I wanted to acknowledge [the campus closure] to some degree and be like, ‘Hey people there’s something not right about this.’ So at the end of one of my classes, on a piece of lined paper I wrote ‘It’s April 20, 1984. Orwell was right.’ So it was kind of a humorous anecdote, but it also stirred the pot a little bit.”
While holding the sign, another student approached Demopoulos, then proceeded onto Norlin Quad and was quickly surrounded by police. While observing that interaction, Demopoulos met Edwards and Kuettel and decided to walk onto Norlin Quad.
“It was like we silently agreed with out any real gestures or verbal reference,” Demopoulos said. “We just walked on there together and weren’t seeking to cause a ruckus or be angry or aggressive towards something or just shake our fists at the system and scream. Why shouldn’t we be able to go on there?”
After a few moments of confusion, the trio was arrested and led away from the quad in front of national press. While being led away, Demopoulos said that he accepted the consequences of his actions.
“I was completely accepting of [my arrest], I had to be because it was an act of civil disobedience and it was a choice that I made,” he said. “I knew in my heart, I guess I could say, that what I was doing was what was true to me, what felt right. I didn’t feel like I was imposing an ideal or infringing on anybody’s rights or harming or disrupting anything. I chose to stand by that.”
Besides Demopoulos, Edwards and Kuettel hadn’t smoked marijuana or had any paraphernalia on them at their arrest. Demopoulos said that it was interesting that the protest on Duane was somehow allowed to proceed.
“It was ironic that they [protesters on Duane] were smoking and there wasn’t one person arrested,” he said.
The group was taken to county jail and was held for an estimated eight-and-a-half hours. In that time they became friends and discussed how they would proceed with the present charges against them. They were given summons and were released without having to post bail. The case went to the state level but was dropped. They were sentenced to spend their community service hours helping Amendment 64.
“I care about the school’s reputation just as much as they [the administration] do,” he said. “It’s another home in a lot of ways, but there’s a major disconnect, and that was demonstrated loud and clear last year.”
Contact CU Independent Breaking News Editor Bethany Morris at Bethany.email@example.com.
Great article =)