Walkout for peace

Aaron Vehling

The collective chants of hundreds of students rallying outside of Hibbard Hall could be heard throughout some of the building’s classrooms Wednesday as protesters returned to campus after a march against the potential U.S. war with Iraq.

UW-Eau Claire students and professors, area high school students and military veterans gathered at the clock tower on Campus Mall late Wednesday morning. some with anti-war signs and others using only their voices to state their opinions.

‘Walkout for Peace’ Slideshow

The Eau Claire campus protest was not the only one on Wednesday. Organizations at universities nationwide synchronized their anti-war efforts with a walkout at 11:05 a.m., according to the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition Web site.

Senior Mike McRaith, one of the people most closely involved with organizing the Eau Claire demonstration, described the crowd’s turnout as “awesome” before leading a march across the footbridge.

Following McRaith, the march’s leaders began crossing the Water Street bridge as the last few participants climbed the footbridge’s stairs to cross the river.

Marching along State Street before returning to campus, senior Scott Meyer told his reasons for walking with the crowd.

The United States hasn’t been provoked, Meyer said, and “war will accomplish nothing except more people dying.”

Senior Kelly Heyer, in regards to Bush’s policy on Iraq, said, “I don’t believe it’s the best answer.” Heyer, who had a noon class, said he would skip it to take part in the planned anti-war activities.

Senior Bryan Sedlock conducted a survey of 96 students at the protest, asking each their major. He found that social sciences and communication majors made up almost half of the rally’s crowd.

Designing arts and crafts related to the anti-war effort was one of the activities featured during the day-long protest. Students also could combine their ideas and write letters to local politicians.

Petitions were passed around throughout the day to get Student Senate to pass a resolution opposing the war on Iraq.

The anti-war event ended with a performance by Day Old Bread at Higherground.