NICOLE GLASS / THE EAGLE
Nick Clooney, a former AU professor and father of actor George Clooney, was arrested by the Secret Service for civil disobedience in front of the Sudanese Embassy March 16.
Clooney, AU’s distinguished journalist-in-residence and a former professor in the School of Communication, was protesting human rights violations committed by President Omar al-Bashir in Sudan.
“There were a number of leaders who participated in a civil disobedience, and they were arrested, as any person would be, in stands of solidarity,” said Eryn Schornick, a member of United to End Genocide. “These people are willing to go on hunger strikes and get arrested to bring attention to the issues.”
Together with George Clooney, Martin Luther King III, several members of Congress and activists, Nick Clooney trespassed on embassy property. By refusing to move, the activists prompted their own arrests.
The AU Student Anti-Genocide Coalition (STAND) assisted its parent organization, United to End Genocide, to organize the protest and encourage students to attend.
The rally was about 200 people strong, including a fourth grade class, and took place in Sheridan Circle before organizing as a protest in front of the Sudanese embassy.
Although AU’s spring break prevented many students from attending, STAND Co-President Aaron Alberico said the anti-genocide message is particularly important for students to be aware of.
“Not only can students rapidly mobilize to affect change, but they have a perfect opportunity to educate themselves about the conflict,” he said. “When students get involved and build a highly energized and highly passionate presence, policy makers in the U.S. simply can’t look the other way.”
Carly Oboth, an SOC senior and member of AU STAND, said it is unfortunate that it takes celebrity appearances to bring much-needed attention to a cause. Still, this attention put an important humanitarian cause on the front pages of many major newspapers, she said.
“The fact that we had to have people become arrested to raise awareness about this huge humanitarian crisis is absolutely absurd and really sad,” she said. “But I think it did a really great job. It definitely made headlines all over, so it brought a lot of important attention to the issue.”