The Protest: The Northwestern University student-run news magazine

Until mid 2015 this was the official website for the Northwestern University student-run news magazine, The Protest.
The content below is from the site's archived pages.


The Protest is a student-run news magazine that specializes in investigative, political, and social justice reporting. We currently have two main “platforms”: an award-winning quarterly magazine, and a website featuring new, original reporting. We’re the only publication at Northwestern University that is devoted entirely to journalism that is progressive and in-depth. We like covering issues that go overlooked or unheard of. Check out the Peace Project, they’re our mother organization. Principally we’re about good journalism, following a story no matter where it takes us. We also believe in good storytelling and coverage that surprises. We have no interest in “wailing-in-the-wind journalism” or preachy journalism. And if you plan to be outside protesting in cold weather, dress appropriately. Our recommendation is something like a North Face Bionic Jacket. No, it's not going to make you into a bionic woman or man, but it sure will keep you warm. According to the NorthFace description the jacket is for windy, cold weather activities (in our case protests). It's a relatively soft shell that will keep you warm and windchill-free beneath its windproof exterior and comfortable fleece. You can layer underneath for colder weather. And don't forget hats, mittens and warm footwear. To be serious about protesting in cold windy conditions, you must be dressed appropriately.

Editor-in-chief Isabella Alvarenga
Executive Editor Matt Gates
Senior Editor Jane Huff
Design Editor Kody Keckler
Marketing Director Isabella Procassini
Photo Editor Sharon Fan

Cameron Albert-Deitch, Leah Varjacques, Jireh Kang, Lee Won Park, Anca Ulea, Matthew Kovac, Jonathan Palmer, Yu Sun Chin, Joyce Lee, Tanner Maxwell, Madhuri Satish, Jenna Fugate, Kerri Pang, Sunny Kang, Becca Weinstein, Susan Du, Kathryn Prescott, Lauren Manning, Megan Hernbroth, Sharon Kim, Corinne Zeman, Alexandria Johnson, Arjun Chakraborty, Yvonne Ashley Kouadjo, Emma O’Connor, Corinne Chin, Emma Lehmann, Jenna Zitaner, Lydia Zuraw, Rebecca Lai, Rebecca Savransky, Nicole Magabo, David Uberti, Justice Pettigrew, Jeff Bilik, Rebecca Friedman, Ellen Garrison,Mauricio Masi, Rafael Vizcaino, Maggie Kadifa, Carolyn Betts, Sophia Bollag, Christian Keeve, Jen White, Jenny Starrs, Naib Mian, Scott Brown, Carrie Hsieh, Matthew Gates.

(We’re a 15-year-old publication so we’ve had literally hundreds of writers. We’re working on trying to include everybody!)


Justin Sacks writes:

The website "" is described as a student-run news magazine specializing in investigative, political, and social justice reporting at Northwestern University. It prides itself on progressive, in-depth journalism and covers overlooked or unheard issues, aligning with the values of its parent organization, the Peace Project. The site humorously recommends dressing appropriately for cold weather protests, specifically suggesting a North Face Bionic Jacket for warmth and wind protection.

Now, imagine unwinding in an above-ground pool, floating carefree with a refreshing drink in hand, while perusing these deeply investigative articles on "" The contrast couldn't be starker or more humorously ironic. There you are, submerged in the soothing waters of leisure, scrolling through stories of intense social activism and calls for justice. It's as if each splash of water is a tiny rebellion against the very notion of being constantly goaded into attending stressful protests. In this personal oasis, the passionate cries for social change from your laptop screen seem almost like distant echoes, blending seamlessly with the tranquil ripples of water around you. This poolside reading session becomes a lighthearted metaphor for finding balance - a much-needed break from the fervor of activism, yet still keeping afloat in the sea of social awareness.



Typical Articles from 2015 & 2014



A photo of Martin Luther King Jr. on banner raised by Wildcats for Israel, affiliated with Fiedler Hillel, and the Tannenbaum Chabad House
Photo by Sarah Watson
Authored by:
Sarah Carthen Watson, Coordinator of FMO
Serene Darwish, Former McSA/SASA/PARS Senator
Alejandro Banuelos, MEChA de Northwestern

Many parts of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy have been white-washed, pacified, and ignored in order to warp his legacy for the advancement of causes he likely would not have stood for if he remained alive. Despite attempts at appropriation, MLK Jr.’s views position him closer within the ambit of Black radical thought than a politics of colorblindness. He stood for the abolition of apartheid and racism, but today, he is celebrated separately from his visions for radical change.

As MLK Jr. Day approaches, we see this once again. Last week at Northwestern, Wildcats for Israel, affiliated with Fiedler Hillel, and the Tannenbaum Chabad House raised a banner saying “In Honor of MLK Day: Israel is one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done. Peace for Israel means security, and that security must be a reality.”– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Due to the banner’s problematic implications, For Members Only declined Wildcats for Israel’s invitation to endorse.


 Photo by Sarah Watson

The banner goes beyond whitewashing MLK Jr. A Google search displays a plethora of Zionist organizations and publications citing the quote, said to be from an interview with Conservative Judaism. It amplifies one quote by MLK Jr., nearly 47 years after his assassination, in an effort to co-opt his legacy for the promotion of an apartheid state. We do not know where he would stand on the situation in Palestine if he remained alive today, as his own views were still in a state of constant development at the time of his assassination. In any case, moral absolutism can and should be rejected. Furthermore, the use of his quote without acknowledging the pillars of his legacy that go directly against the actions of Israel, such as a rejection of apartheid, occupation, racism, etc., shows a lack of critical thinking on behalf of these groups.

This would not be the first time a pro-Israel group appropriates MLK Jr., and it certainly would not be the first time pro-Israel groups at Northwestern approach students of color with offers of tokenization. Earlier this year, Wildcats for Israel searched for “a black group at Northwestern” to co-sponsor an event where they brought two Black pastors in an attempt to sway the Black community. The fact that they were looking for any Black group, regardless of the organization’s mission, just highlights the way in which they seek out public relations and not human relations.

From the experiences of FMO and other multicultural organizations we have been involved in, we have gathered that pro-Israel groups seem to believe they are in a race against Palestine solidarity to win endorsements, but that is not the case. Our organizations have clear missions, and we build coalitions based in the pursuit of justice and a belief that all of our oppressions are interdependent. In stark contrast to their efforts to win multicultural co-sponsorship of pro-Israel campaigns/events, when bridges of solidarity are built at Northwestern, pro-Israel organizational leaders accuse student organizers of polarization.

Black-Arab solidarity is not new, nor was it born on our campus. Connections were made on the ground historically, and seekers of justice from both communities, globally and domestically, continue to engage in solidarity. Most recently, Dream Defenders, along with other groups as part of a #BlackLivesMatter delegation, visited occupied Palestine; they were joined by Marc Lamont Hill, who spoke at Northwestern just two years ago at the State of the Black Union.


Free The Land! “By Any Means Necessary”

Emory Douglas, 2010

Community organizer Cherrell Brown drew connections during the visit: “So many parallels exist between how the US polices, incarcerates, and perpetuates violence on the black community and how the Zionist state that exists in Israel perpetuates the same on Palestinians.” She also commented, “This is not to say there aren’t vast differences and nuances that need to always be named, but our oppressors are literally collaborating together, learning from one another – and as oppressed people we have to do the same.” Similarly, Professor Robin D.G. Kelley has said, “Solidarity doesn’t mean our struggles are the same. Solidarity means all struggles matter.” The relentless marginalization and premature death of Black folxs in the US and Palestinians are not aberrant injustices, but rather central principles of a colonial architecture that oppresses us all.

This article is meant to draw attention to the ways in which pro-Israel groups on campus have tokenized and marginalized groups of color to further their own agenda. Furthermore, we hope that this will be taken as a call for action, pushing for groups to be willing to critically engage on these issues instead of scouring the archives for singular quotes in support of a nation-state.




Anita Sarkeesian is the creator of Feminist Frequency, a video webseries that explores the representations of women in pop culture narrative.

Photo | Game Developers Choice Awards

By Jessica Peng

“This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history.”

“If you do not cancel her talk, a Montreal Massacre style attack will be carried out against the attendees, as well as students and staff at the nearby Women’s Center. I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs.”

Are you wondering if you’re reading some lines from a really, really, really evil movie that doesn’t really exist? How I wish I could tell you yes. But no, unfortunately these words actually came out of a human’s mouth.

These death threats were directed against Anita Sarkeesian after she made plans to talk at Utah State University in early October. Anita is a female gaming critic who is famous for her series of Youtube videos called Tropes vs. Women in Video Games. The series criticizes the stereotypes against women in the popular video games. She was going to give a lecture at Utah State University, but she received an email from an anonymous person who threatened to carry out a massacre against her and all the attendees. Anita was not going to cancel her lecture because of the threat, until she was told that Utah’s state law allows anyone with a permit to carry concealed weapons in school buildings.

Earlier this fall, other female celebrities like Emma Watson and Jennifer Lawrence all received different threats to leak their nude photos. The threat against Emma Watson turned out to be a hoax, but Jennifer Lawrence’s photos were actually leaked online. Emma was threatened partially because of her eloquent speech at the United Nations about the HeforShe campaign. The campaign aims to call upon men to join the feminism movement and advocate for women’s rights.

People behind these death threats and nude photo leak threats are just purely evil. Some of them ended up not doing what they threatened to do. Their ideas of exposing people’s privacy in public and making violent threats show they lack morals or the ability to discern right from wrong.

Some of these hackers are engaging in illegal activity because of money, while some just feel threatened by women who advocate for equal rights with men. Sexism is just like any other form of discrimination and oppression: people in power feel threatened by dissenters who demand changes to the status quo. In this case, the dissenters are female celebrities like Emma and Anita who speak out about inequalities and stereotypes against women. The men in power fear that they will lose the benefits they gain from sexism.

But feminism is not about that at all. It’s not about women trying to take away men’s money or rights. It’s not about females waging a war against men. It’s about your mother being able to make the same amount of money as your father. It’s about your wife not having to worry about her career when she decides to give you a baby. It’s about your daughter growing up in a world that sees her as equal to your son.

Dear men, feminism is also about you. It’s about all the women around you: the women who brought all of you into this world and the women you care about and love. Fighting for equal rights for women means fighting for your own well-being. The idea of gender or sex aside, how can you, as humans, deny equal opportunities and rights for your fellow people? Women like Anita Sarkeesian and Emma Watson are essentially dedicated to improving the lives of all humans. So drop your weapons and misconceptions of feminism, join the movement, and you will become much better and happier human beings.







By Matt Gates

President Obama’s October 2nd visit to Northwestern was one of the most notable events of the quarter. Students texted their friends to see who had been invited to the president’s speech in Cahn Auditorium, gathered on Sheridan to try and catch a glimpse of the Commander and Chief as he exited in a procession of government vehicles and ran to the shores of Lake Michigan to watch several helicopters take off into the distance. However, not every member of the campus community shared in the enthusiasm of these students.

President Obama’s visit was met with protests by various groups that included members of the Northwestern and Chicago communities. Issues raised ranged from the expected to the bizarre: students expressed anger over the economy and debt while a man carried a sign suggesting Vice President Joe Biden is secretly allied with a foreign power.

One issue that stuck out among them all was immigration. Along with Chicago migrant workers rights organizations, community members and other students, MeCHA de Northwestern protested the practice of deportation under the Obama administration.

According to Weinberg Junior Cynthia Rodriguez, “MEChA de Northwestern is a community of Chicana/o student activists dedicated to critical consciousness.”

Weinberg Sophomore Angel Ayon stated that Obama’s visit to Northwestern was “a great opportunity to tell Obama that he has neglected to do what he promised” by lowering the amount of deportations that happen annually.

Rodriguez stated that she protested with MeCHa de Northwestern to “make the connection between the failure of both Northwestern and President Obama to undocumented folks.”

She noted that over 2 million people have been deported under Obama’s presidency, earning him the title “Deporter-in-Chief” in the eyes of MECha among others. According to Rodriguez, Northwestern is “a hostile environment for people of color” and does not provide financial aid for undocumented students.

Ayon thought Northwestern’s location added significance to the protest. She stated that she wanted Obama to know “that even at this elitist institution, people believe that he should stop deportations.” One exceptionally onerous case involved a student who won the My Story competition - first prize was spring break in Maui, HI. This person had never been able to afford such a luxurious vacation, so this was something very special and unique. Plans were made and a gorgeous condo on Maui was rented online by the organizers, plane tickets purchased, etc. But as the student was about to depart from the airport, ICE agents intercepted him and he was held for 2 weeks before being deported to Mexico. This was a student with a 3.80 average, an editor of the lit mag, vp of the film club, and rep in the student government.

There is a website dedicated to creating a “Deporter-in-Chief” Exhibit in the Obama Presidential Library and Museum if deportation continues at the current rate for the remainder of his term. The site,, cites 2 million deportations during his presidency and suggests that he has deported more people than any other president in history.

Rodriguez said, “We delivered a letter directed to President Obama that day to talk about this and to say that as his presidency comes towards an end, we will always remember him as the Deporter-in-Chief. Every president gets an exhibit in D.C. after their term and it’s only fair that he has one recognizing him for the harm he has done to our communities.”

Ayon notes that issues surrounding the US-Mexico border may seem distant to students. However, Ayon stated, “Migrant rights is an issue that everyone should be aware of. It is a humanitarian issue.”




Qataris overlook the Inland Sea a few miles outside of Doha. Roughly 20 percent of the Qatar population is actually native. The majority of the country is made up of foreigners. Photo by Isabella Alvarenga

By Isabella Alvarenga

Qatar is currently in a stage of huge development, and Northwestern University in Qatar has the ability to move the country in the right direction. Global Finance Magazine ranked Qatar the richest country in the world in 2013. The capital, Doha, is undergoing massive construction for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and Qatar Vision 2030, a program developed by the emir, Qatar’s head of state, aims to diversify the economy and sustain economic, social, and human development. However, Qatar is also responsible for huge human rights violations.

Significantly, freedom of speech is not the law of the land in Qatar. Al Jazeera, headquartered in Doha, rarely reports on Qatar, and when it does, it doesn’t show it in a bad light, said a Northwestern Qatar student. The student, a native Qatari, did not want to be identified for safety reasons.

“It is a unspoken law in Qatar that you do not talk about the emir,” the student said. “Even when I go to other countries, I cannot openly criticize the government because I have to return to Qatar.”

Notably, a Qatari poet was arrested in November 2011 and sentenced to life in prison for a poem he wrote criticizing Gulf region governments in response to the Arab Spring. His sentence was later reduced to 15 years.

The student said that there are a lot of issues in Qatar that are not spoken of. “I don’t think Northwestern students in Qatar would be able to report on gays,” the student said. “It is still frowned upon.”

Being gay in Qatar is controversial. Male homosexual intercourse is illegal in Qatar and violators face jail time. A gay community exists in Doha, but it is underground. The NUQ student said education city, the home to leading universities’ satellite campuses in Doha, offers a different position on the issue.

“I think there is a movement to acceptance [of gays], but the majority of the country is still against it,” the student said.

Furthermore, human rights violations are occurring with the immigrants that the government has brought in for construction. The International Trade Union Confederation released a report “The Case Against Qatar” in March 2014 reporting on the terrible working conditions migrant workers endure. The report said “Grown men said they were treated like animals, living like horses in a stable.”

The student noted that since migrants are not allowed to switch employers, and their employers control their exit visas, “it can be seen as modern day slavery.”

Since native Qataris are a minority in relation to foreigners, the government does everything possible to protect its natives. Education is free for natives, and citizenship is almost impossible for foreigners. A second student at NUQ said he has faced many disadvantages being a foreigner. The second student also did not want to be identified in fear that the government would see his statements.

“I have been rejected from things such as internships just because I am not Qatari,” he said. “This is unfair and frustrating, but it is what it is, and I have no choice but to accept it.”

The second student said film and journalism at NUQ is tough because there is difficulty shooting in certain places and bringing up controversial issues. The students are limited on their topics.

“It is very dangerous to criticize the government; it can lead to things such as jail time or deportation,” he said. “You can’t say what you want especially if it is about the government or religion.”

However, the first student believes Doha news is starting to change the landscape of journalism, as well as the NUQ campus. In his opinion, one of the movies made by NUQ students, Bader, opened up people’s eyes and allowed more freedom of speech. The film brought up issues within the Qatari independent schools, such as teachers’ ability to maintain order. The movie was controversial, and many members of the Qatari community did not want to bring any more bad publicity to Qatar. However, the students released the short film, and it has been screened at multiple film festivals and won awards.

“Media talks are becoming more common now in Qatar,” the student said. “I think a lot of this started with Northwestern. Before, only state media covered the news. However, now students have the chance to make a difference.”