ANA SANTOS / THE EAGLE
About 20 students protested a speech by Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer Feb. 24, shouting and chanting against the governor’s immigration policies.
The 15-minute speech, hosted by the AU College Republicans, was given in the University Club. The mic check began during the Q&A as soon as a moderator finished reading the first pre-approved question.
The protesters held signs that said “detained!” on the back and various slogans on the front, including “My history is not inferior” and “Do I look undocumented?”
Other students chanted “U.S.A., U.S.A.,” while the protesters yelled “The people, united, will never be defeated” in Spanish and English.
Public Safety escorted a few students out of the room, but after a few minutes the protesters all left, moving their protest to the Mary Graydon Center steps.
“Stereotyping was legalized because of SB1070,” said Andrea Gonzalez, referring to the controversial immigration Arizona law that requires law enforcement officers to check a person’s immigration status when there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person may be in the country illegally.
“We will stand in solidarity for these immigrants,” said Gonzalez, a freshman in the School of International Service. “It’s not right that this racism is occurring.”
A handful of protestors also hung a one-story banner from the roof of MGC that read, “Take back AZ. Nadie es ilegal [Nobody is illegal] SB1070.” Public Safety removed the banner about 15 minutes later.
The entire event, from speech to protest to removal of the banner, lasted 45 minutes.
“Being AU and knowing about the days they protested Karl Rove, we knew there was probably going to be some trouble,” AU College Republicans President Todd Carney said.
Carney said Brewer would have only spoken about 10 more minutes had she not been interrupted.
“I think it’s unfortunate that it happened,” said Carney, a junior in the School of Public Affairs. “People were free to submit questions. It just makes the school look bad and it’s bad for dialogue.”
Prior to the mic check, Brewer spoke about the current state of the country and what she thought President Barack Obama has done wrong.
Brewer defended her actions when she met with Obama in Phoenix on Jan. 25 on a Phoenix airport tarmac. Brewer made headlines for pointing a finger at Obama during what appeared to be a hostile conversation between the two.
Brewer told the press after the encounter that Obama was a disturbed by her memoir, “Scorpions for Breakfast,” which defends SB1070.
At AU, Brewer told students that the encounter was her telling Obama “You have one more year,” and holding up her finger to indicate one year.
“The meeting wasn’t as hostile as the media pointed out,” she said.
Brewer maintained that Obama needed to be reminded of his duty to the country and to the state of Arizona.
“The president needs to be reminded that he is the president of a federal republic and not a King,” she said.
Brewer spent the rest of her time criticizing the Obama administration for raising the deficit, failing to decrease the unemployment rate and for his rejection of the Keystone Pipeline.
Brewer left the room soon after the protesters stood up. After filing out of the room, the protesters drifted from MGC to the Quad and back again.
“We did not impose on her freedom of speech at all,” Gonzalez said. “We let her speak, we let her finish her speech. Afterwards, we mic checked her.”
A previous version of this article said the protestors chanted “U.S.A.,” but the chanters were part of a different group. The story also said the protestors said “The people united will never be detained;” they said “defeated” not “detained.” Editor’s note: Two Eagle staff writers and two Eagle contributing writers were involved in the protest. None of those writers were involved in The Eagle’s news coverage of the protest.