NORTH PARK — A man rushed the stage to interrupt an event Northeastern Illinois University that featured President Donald Trump’s widely-criticized former press secretary Sean Spicer.
Spicer spoke Thursday as part of the Daniel L. Goodwin Distinguished Lecture Series, which also brought veteran political strategist Donna Brazile to campus to discuss the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. “Chicago Tonight” host Phil Ponce moderated the discussion.
During the event, a man in the audience climbed onto the stage. Once he was up there he sat cross legged holding a white piece of paper while people from the audience started the yell, “Sit back down,” “Get out of here,” and “Sir, Phil Ponce has disinvited you.”
Three campus police officers and two men in red shirts escorted the man off stage and out of the auditorium a few seconds later.
On his way out the man said, “We should not cage immigrants. We should not put immigrant children in cages. We should not kill black people…We should not ban trans people.”
After the man was removed from the auditorium, police detained him but he was not arrested or charged, NEIU spokesperson Mike Hines said.
Hines did not say whether the man was a student or employee of the university.
Due to Spicer’s history of lying to the press and public during his White House tenure — as well as the Trump administration’s stances on immigration and reproductive rights — some university staff and students protested his appearance at the event Thursday.
“NEIU should not provide a home for racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry,” a representative with the NEIU Coalition for Campus Justice said in a statement this week.
An NEIU Coalition for Campus Justice representative could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
Hines said there were “a couple of minor disruptions” but overall the event “did what it intended to do which was give debate to important topics of the day.”
“And we were able to have peaceful protests on campus, so people who choose to protest made their voices heard inside the auditorium and were heard by media coverage of the event,” Hines said. “We absolutely respect their right to do that.”
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