Two arrests during protest of ROTC on Marquette campus

14432941_10205278340436506_5238763204262211371_n-2from a report by Bob Graf

Today, September 24th, is the 48th anniversary of the Milwaukee 14 nonviolent action that burned thousands of class 1-A draft cards, a draft that forced young men and women to “kill or be killed”.

On September 22, 2016, 14 people – Omar, Don, Roberta, Tiffany, Bob, Harvey, Sue, Joe, Phil, Eugene, Tom, Sue, Jim and Don – gathered on the Marquette University campus to close down the Department of Defense’s (DoD) new system to teach young men and women to “kill or be killed”. Since before 1968, students, faculty and citizens have asked Marquette, a Catholic, Christian University, to be faithful to the Gospel and close down the military, ROTC, NROTC and AFROTC DoD divisions on campus.

We gathered on the campus for a rally reminding of us of how Pope Francis, Salvadoran Jesuit Ignacio Ellacuria, Ignatius, Founder of the Society of Jesus, Jesuits, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ all resisted military training “to kill or be killed”. Harvey Taylor played the bugle and read a poem, and the March to Close Down ROTC marched through campus. At the ROTC building, we gathered in front of the doors. We symbolically chained the stores closed and called for the closing of ROTC on campus.

After our gathering had ended, a Marquette police officer ran to the open doors of the building and tightly handcuffed Don Timmerman, who was standing next to the door with a chain in his hands. Another Marquette police officer appeared, and yelled at the rest of the people to disperse or be arrested for trespassing. As we left, one young woman in the group was startled by armed police, and hesitated for a second before she tried to leave. She was also handcuffed and arrested.

Both of them were taken to the Marquette Police station on campus. After a while, the young women was ticketed for trespassing and released. She had been traumatized by the police action. Don was kept at the Marquette Police Station. The tightness of his handcuffs was so severe that he lost feeling in one hand. An ambulance was called, and he disappeared for a while. In the early evening, after many tries, his wife Roberta was able to locate him at the Milwaukee County Jail. Around 1 a.m. the next morning she was told she could come down to the jail to bail him out. At about 4 a.m. in the morning, Don was released on $150 bail. For this peaceful protest on the Marquette campus, he was charged with disorderly conduct.

Speaking for myself, Bob Graf, a member of the original Milwaukee 14, I am more determined that we need to renew our nonviolent efforts to Close Down the Military presence (ROTC) on the Marquette Campus. Next time we take an action to stop teaching people “to kill or be killed”, we will have 114 people telling Marquette to Be Faith to the Gospel and Be Faithful to the Gospel.