Student arrested in Reg

While UCPD claimed the student was charged because he refused to show officers his identification or leave the library for unruly behavior, witnesses deny that police asked the student for ID or that the student was causing a disturbance.

University police arrested a student in the A-Level Wednesday night for criminal trespass and resisting arrest.

While UCPD claimed the student was charged because he refused to show officers his identification or leave the library for unruly behavior, witnesses deny that police asked the student for ID or that the student was causing a disturbance. They also said the arresting officer was inappropriately aggressive.

Witnesses identified the suspect as fourth-year Mauriece Dawson, who was taken into custody at around 8:30 p.m. and spent the night in jail. UCPD officers were responding to a complaint by a Regenstein clerk that said Dawson and his friends were making too much noise.

“The policeman put the young man in a choke hold and wrestled him to the ground. The young man did not resist,” according to an account written by first-year Ariel McCleese and signed by more than 10 other students who were in the A-Level at the time.

The incident began when clerk Lynn Franco heard Dawson and fourth-year Sahara Robinson laughing loudly as they walked from the first floor to the A-Level, Robinson said. According to Robinson, Franco told the two to be quiet without identifying herself as a library employee.

Dawson and Franco declined to comment.

“We were baffled [at Franco’s reaction] and continued down to the A-Level where our noise was appropriate,” Robinson said, referring to the fact that the A-Level is often noisy late at night.

Franco walked through the A-Level several minutes later and passed Dawson, Robinson, and their friends. Franco approached them and “in a very angry tone of voice, from what I could hear, said, ‘If you don’t be quiet, I’ll call the police,’” said McCleese, whose account was confirmed by five witnesses who were sitting with Dawson.

UCPD Sergeant Eric Grays entered the A-Level soon after with Franco, who pointed at Dawson from across the room, said third-years and witnesses Krystle Frazier and De’Azia Baldwin.

Witnesses said the officer repeatedly demanded that Dawson leave the building, and that Dawson asked calmly why he was being told to leave. Grays handcuffed Dawson and placed him in a choke hold while Dawson protested, witnesses said, but they disagreed as to what he said.

According to many witnesses, students in the A-Level were staring at the incident by this point.

UCPD spokesman Bob Mason said the arresting officer asked Dawson for ID, but none of the five witnesses interviewed heard such a request. After securing Dawson, Grays demanded Frazier follow him as well, but did not ask Frazier for ID; he had mistaken her for the female student Franco had identified as disruptive. Upstairs, Franco corrected Grays.

UCPD chief Marlon Lynch said asking for ID is typically part of UCPD protocol. “Upon contact [in those types of cases] the officer proceeds to those who were involved and makes the request for identification,” Lynch said.

University spokesman Steve Kloehn said students might be charged with trespassing if they resist a UCPD officer’s request for ID while on University property. “One of the agreements of being a part of this community is that, if I’m asked to ID myself, I have to ID myself. That’s been a long standing, basic condition to being a part of this community,” he said.

Students e-mailed 10 administrators about the situation, including President Robert Zimmer, Dean of the College John Boyer, Dean of Students Susan Art, and Vice President for Campus Life Kim Goff-Crews. Kloehn said those administrators were aware of the arrest and were planning a response, but did not comment on specifics.

“In any event like this, University officials representing all the units that might be involved get together and do a thorough review of what took place and what needs to happen next. Those meetings have begun,” Kloehn said.

  • Frederick

    There is justice in the world! That guy is extraordinarily loud and obnoxious. We can only hope that this sets a new precedent for the treatment of people who routinely disrupt the academic sanctuary of the library, rendering it veritably uninhabitable for the likes of the studious and the civilized.

  • this is silly

    Gee, how weird. They asked for his student ID and he calmly asked why and then they wrestled him to the ground.

    Actually I consider this pretty funny considering two years ago we were loud and obnoxious in the A Level cubicles winter quarter finals week for almost 100 consecutive hours, including bringing down pizza, booze, and music without ever getting arrested.

  • _

    I know Mauriece and Sahara, they are really freaking loud, but being arrested for that is kind of stupid. What this article does show is lack of communication between Uchicago staff and students. Franco clearly should work on being more polite, and it is also clear that students claims of what happened are a little too far on the “everything was peachy” side. I wish there was a way to tell people to quiet down without things getting out of hand.

  • Emale

    Let’s clear the air of all bias.

    Whether or not you like Mauriece is aside from the point of the situation.

    Loudness in the A-Level is expected. It’s the A-Level. Certain weeks, it actually is a giant party with pitstops to do homework. They even posted signs in the A-Level warning students of this.

    That said, I can guarantee you that when the police officer did whatever he did to Dawson, that he assuredly responded as such – calmly and respectfully. He may be loud, as many students that have a social life at this school are; however, there is no need to use that against him.

    This situation is inexcusable in the way it was handled. If you’re reading this, think about the last time that you were “loud” (if that’s even possible) in the A-Level. Were YOU arrested? No. So what makes this fair?

    *And for the record, please refrain from describing his behavior as not “studios and civilized.” It’s subconsciously the first step towards being a conceited prick. There’s just no need, especially for hard workers like Dawson.

  • Rhema

    What I want to know is, would this have happened if these students had been white? I think not.

  • Angie

    The punishment should fit the crime though. Being loud should not result in you being put in a choke hold. I have seen intoxicated people who were underage, tents and parties be had in the A-level. This is crazy.

  • Outraged

    Frederick, I’m sure there exist people who consider you to be extraordinarily loud and obnoxious. That however, does not mean that they should condone your arrest, and likewise you should not condone Mauriece’s arrest. The A-Level of the Regenstein has certainly never been the academic sanctuary that you imply it is, which every student on campus knows. Those who seek a sanctuary head upwards to the fifth floor, those who wish to socialize head to the A-Level. Certainly, if you were the studious and civilized student you imply that you are, you would have realized this during O-Week of your first year.

    Regardless of one’s opinion of Mauriece, to arrest a student within the Library is absurd. If one student gets arrested for laughing too loudly, what’s to say that you won’t be arrested next for sipping on your much-needed coffee? I personally do not find that it makes the campus secure, but rather makes me distrustful of the UCPD and the power that the library employees will now believe that they hold.

    I believe that a formal apology, from the UCPD and the University is in order. With any common sense, they’ll see that that is their best course of action. Shouldn’t the administration attempting to rid itself of the “Where Fun Comes to Die” motto stand behind the student clearly enjoying his time in the library? To support the UCPD will essentially spread the message to students that fun is not tolerated on campus. Perhaps they should seek out the unruly cheers at sporting events next.

  • Jonathan Lykes

    This situation is about more than one student in the library. This brings to light and surfaces the stories I heard as a prospy, the experiences I had as a first year student, and what I continue to hear from others now as a second year. This outrage is about how the police treats students of color on this campus. It is a symbol of why police-black and white- slow down when they see a black or brown male walking down a street in hyde park. It is a representation of what needs to change on this campus. Last year I was just walking down the street (in front of my dorm, Max) and I got stopped by the UCPD and they asked to see my I.D. Some say this is protocol, but my question is if I was a white student doing nothing else but walking down the 56th street would I have been stopped then? Anyone who knows me, also knows I express myself through poetry, here is a poem I wrote about that experience.

    Are you afraid of the dark?

    It happened, to me

    they told me that kind of stuff only happens

    to those block dudes running the street, but,

    it happen to me…

    they said “excuse me sir can I see your ID”

    can you see my ID???

    I was walking down the street that I live on,

    in the new college campus that I reside on.

    12 years of public education that I stood on,

    accepted into a private university,

    and I just got racially spit on?

    Because, what they see is something that doesn’t

    look like he belongs on these educated street.

    In my attempts to breakdown stereotypes

    and be the resister of being a victim

    of surroundings that are less than safe,

    they look at me and feel like their less than safe.

    And this plea for minorities to be free,

    makes some feel less than safe,

    but their glances at night make me feel less than free,

    All because some are afraid of the black they see.

    Because with no other probably cause then the tint of my skin,

    they ask to see my ID,

    said it looked like I was conducting

    some type of suspiciously activity

    thinking back to when I was eight years old,

    watching a nickelodeon TV show called

    “are you afraid of the dark”…

    and now I felt like I was in one of those new reality shows on MTV,

    only this one was called “are you afraid of the darkboy.”

    Because I had to realize even in 2010 we live in a world

    where people are still afraid of black cats,

    and black men, and those hoods that hebitate little black children.

    And I feel them, their eyes avoiding contact with mine,

    glances that call me a “n—–”

    not even 5 seconds after the first blink of seeing me

    and my black skin blend in with the absence of the sun.

    I walk, they fear, I walk ,they clasp hands tight

    as if Im the big black boggieman that hid in their closet dat night.

    They walk in a single file line when passing me,

    not racist yet afraid, not racist yet shaking, not racist,

    yet chanting in their heads “I wont be afraid, I wont be afraid, I wont be afraid

    this fear…

    rooting from lessons taught in adolescence,

    they are still afraid of the dark-boy.

    many who only know dark skin from TV shows

    and the 6 o’clock news shootings,

    many from rural and suburban neighborhoods

    not knowing how to not be afraid of the dark-boy…

    when its systemically tied into how they should react when passing

    a dark man with dark cloths when its dark outside…

    So I ask you…Are you afraid of the dark?

    Because Im nothing to be afraid of.

  • TJ

    I remember asking UCPD officers for ID last quarter and their condescending reluctance and hesitance to provide proper identification. They treated us rudely, and threatened to “write us up”.

    Regardless, I don’t think it’s fair for Outraged to attack the administration and suggest the administration should encourage unruly behavior in the library just because a student was “clearly enjoying his time in the library.”

    Still — spending the night in jail for being loud in the a-level? Come on… that’s just ridiculous.

  • Hannah

    You know, I was once asked to show my ID on campus and I refused. I got a few sharp words from the UCPD officer and then I walked away. I wonder if this difference in treatment has anything to do with the fact that I’m a white woman? I expect much better from our school.

  • This is not ok.

    I am equally outraged by this. The UCPD is already problematic, but this is an entirely new level. To arrest a student in the Reg for doing essentially nothing wrong is absurd. It shows the unchecked power of the UCPD, and the security paranoia that exists on campus in the first place for a Reg employee to call the police over loud laughter. The fact that a student can be arrested like this does not make anyone safer, and certainly does not build any sort of community. Furthermore, it is especially isolating and frightening to students from communities frequently subject to police violence (students of color and queer students, for example). I would like to see an apology from the university. Also, depending on the wishes of the students involved (who should be given the space to decide how they want to respond to this), I would like to see a strong student response to this incident.

  • Wow

    Last year during finals week of winter or maybe spring quarter a few students set up a tent in the A level. They where beyond loud and far beyond disruptive. However, were the UCPD make any arrests? No!

    The UCPD have been using, “show us your id or we will arrest you for trespassing” alarmingly frequently and for unreasonably wide variety of situations. If he doesn’t have a student ID, how the hell do you think he got into the library? Just the other day I was walking by the bookstore on Ellis, when I witnessed the UCPD stop, and then continue to question and harass a black man. They asked him for his ID, he said he left it at home. They continued to threatened to arrest him for trespassing. He explained he was a research assistant at the University and had simply forgotten to carry his ID with him. The police continued to tell him they would arrest him for trespassing on private property in an intentionally rude and intimidating tone. Since when does walking around without an ID warrant police arrest. Are we living in apartheid South Africa?

    I think the students involved should sue.

  • Anon

    Honestly, if you think that the A-level is an ideal place to study, you should get your head examined.

    Frederick, you clearly have never studied there. If this is where you go to get your work done, then clearly you are just confused and intentionally seeking trouble. Perhaps you should step outside of the Reg for once, explore the campus a bit, and maybe you’ll find one of the dozens of quiet environments open throughout the day where you can get your stuff done.

    From my many experiences, people come there to socialize with friends, be somewhat obnoxious at times, and actually take a breather from school work. Noise and light disruption is a given. Lynn Franco was clearly having a bad day and decided to take it out on a couple of easy targets.

  • Gerry

    “Where Fun Comes to Be Choked and Jailed”

  • Reader

    Obviously an overreaction by the UCPD, but I hope this will discourage more people from being intentionally disruptive in the Reg. It’s still really annoying when people don’t shut up in the Reg. Sounds like this guy was the worst of them.

  • U

    a poem, really?

  • John

    According to the contract you agree to with the University, you pretty much agree to show your UC ID on demand?

    Did you know that as soon as he was asked to leave and didn’t, he was trespassing? The other information is just fluff.

  • Re: Jonathan Lykes

    This is kind of off the point. But Jonathan…EVERY THING IS NOT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO SHOW OFF! This is not about you or your poetry dude.

  • Dani

    All I have to say is…if it were you…would you have wanted the same punishment?

    I don’t think so.

    And the individual who brought up the fact that you need an ID to even get into the library made a very important statement. Considering that, the police officer probably did not ask him for his ID. Oh and that clerk is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO rude. ALWAYS! She needs to get arrested.

  • Aaron

    lol to the guy above. But no, Jonathan I understand your intent. It’s a great poem, and I think the point is that what happened to Mauriece is ridiculous, but somehow common. And that is absurd.

  • RE: RE: Jonathan Lykes

    I apologize if anyone thought I was putting my poetry on the page to show off. I was simply trying to express a situation I had when I was a first year in the college, which was blatant profiling. Poetry is my release, especially when it comes to justice. Does anyone think its wrong to profile anymore? It seems like some suggest it is acceptable to say black men look “suspicious” for just walking down the street. Showing my I.D. is not the problem, showing my I.D. because I look “suspicious” is a problem. I will reiterate what someone commented above…University of Chicago is not Apartheid South Africa, especially when I’m walking down what I thought was a public street in a free country, on my liberal college campus.

    In the mean time, this conversation is moving to 5710 S. Woodlawn Tuesday, March 2nd, 6pm-8pm. This is In partnership with SCRS to provide a safe space for students to share and process their thoughts and feelings.

  • Sophia

    I am absolutely outraged. This certainly appears to be a clear example of racial profiling and of police brutality, both of which absolutely unacceptable. Period.

  • nathan michael

    Maurice constantly pushes the system he has no respect for authority except when he is actively afraid of being disciplined. The UCPD has constantly protected the student body as opposed to Maurice who is a constant disturbance, I trust the UCPD did the correct thing, one can only hope that Maurice is expelled for his behavior, which has been a constant nuisance since he entered this school

  • Anon

    While I think this particular incident was an unfortunate culmination of a perfect storm of events, let’s be aware that the UCPD has to deal with a good number of reports of break-ins, stolen items, etc. particularly in and around the hospital. (If you read the police reports, you’ll know what I mean).

    While racial profiling had ugly undertones, it’s fair to say that I do it and we probably all do, to a certain extent. If I’m walking around late at night and see a “suspicious” black man walking in my direction, I might be “street smart” and cross the street.

    And while I do think this particular incident deserves more exploration, let’s not be naive and pretend that crime doesn’t happen or that racial tensions don’t exist, because that doesn’t get anybody anywhere. Let’s at least concede that being asked to show a UCID at any time, anywhere is fair, given that the police request KINDLY and respond APPROPRIATELY.

  • Johnae Strong

    While it is apparent that some have taken the liberty of turning this incident into an opportunity to jump on the soapbox about your personal aversions to the person(s) involved. I believe that it is important to look at the “crime” and ask ourselves if the punishment handed down was appropriate. If ANY student went to the A-level and was “loud” was subject to being arrested then there would be routine sweeps. It is more about the possibility of this happening than it is about this specific incident. It is crucial for some of you whose comments I have read to understand that as long as we treat Mauriece as someone who is not like us and/or treat the way the UCPD acted as an isolated event, then these situations will continue. I have heard several similar students from many students across creeds, races, and religions: this is not a race issue. It is just as much of a campus security issue as the security alerts we all get in our emails. Therefore, I challenge this community to be concerned and most importantly be active. Bring these private conversations to the forefront and articulate what is wrong and how you want it to change.

  • Rachel

    Everybody bitching, but if this unruly student had been the type who ended up harming other students, everybody would be maligning the UCPD for not doing enough to heed warning signals. And huge shocker that the race card is being played. If this student was out of line and refused to shut up when addressed by staff, then refused to show his I.D., I personally would prefer the cops err on the side of keeping other students safe by taking him down. As a serious grad student, everybody reading this may rest assured that I will NEVER be in a situation in which the cops will have to decide whether or not to put me in a choke hold, simply because I am respectful and they wouldn’t be called in the first place. If this guy wanted to act like a thug, he should be treated like a thug. I personally thank UCPD for keeping this campus safe.

  • Upset

    I was at the U of C for years and I used to go to the A level to work on the computers there. I KNEW IT WOULD BE NOISY. It is just the place where people make noise. I just used my earphones and that was it. If I did not like it, I could go somewhere else. I understand if someone asked for silence, but arresting a student… that is unacceptable. What the police did was unacceptable, and there should be a formal apology.

    Frederick: you said about students who make noise: “Perhaps not put to death; but only because of the lawsuits that would doubtless result.” What you are saying is pure and simple apology of crime. Are you crazy?

  • John

    “Also, the notion of mandatory identification and submission to unbridled authority is bullshit- someone there should’ve taken a swing at that cop once he pulled that choke hold.”

    That’s bull.

    A) The University is not the Government. So it can require ID be shown, especially on its own property.
    B) Attacking a police officer or advising violence against them does not help your case, ever.
    C) You don’t argue with the cop, even if the cop is wrong. You do what the officer says and file your complaint and/or lawsuit later if you want redressing.
    D) Yeah – you have to show ID to get in, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be too difficult to get in without using your ID.

    And I bet we don’t have the whole story – everyone’s rushing to the students defense and claiming racism. There are 3 sides to every story – yours, theirs, and the truth.

    (And if he just did what he was told, which was LEAVE when he was asked, there wouldn’t have been a problem – just complain/sue/whatever later and none of this would have happened).

    So life lesson for all you out there – don’t argue with the police – just do what they say and take the arguing to your day in court.

  • RE: ANON (on the idea that “we all do racial profiling”

    Dear Anon, whomever you are

    You say that “we all do racial profiling.” That is not true. You are mixing things up to justify something horrible. What you call being “street smart” is one thing, what the police did is quite another. I lived for many years close to the poor black neighborhood on 61st street. There were robberies and I have to say that if I saw a young black guy late at night and I was alone, sometimes I would avoid the person by crossing the street. That is one thing, racial profiling by the police is quite another. I am Latino and if I were in an area where Latinos are more likely to be involved in crime I could understand that someone would be scared of me late at night if it’s just the two of us walking by the street. It would bother me and I would find it unjust, but I would understand it because it has happened to me to be on the other side. However,
    I would have never demanded the police to do racial profiling just to make me feel safer. That is racism, and has nothing to do with being “street smart.” Skin color is no proof of violating the law. African Americans have been marginalized by this society and in some areas crime may be more likely to be committed by a black person precisely because of their marginalization. The way to change that is to stop the marginalization of African Americans. The solution is not racial profiling. Besides, racial profiling only makes white people safe. The rest of us are not safe with racial profiling, as we become the victims of that profiling. The university police has a long history of racial profiling and brutality against African Americans. They specifically harass black people on campus because they just take for granted that every black guy walking is a robber. That is racist and the police needs to change it immediately.

  • Johnae Strong

    RE: Rachel
    I encourage you to read the article again. Mauriece was not asked for ID nor was he posing physical danger or any danger for that matter to those surrounding him. I am glad you are a serious student and I wish you the best but it is unacceptable how you have described the young man. Whether or not he subscribes to your way of living does not mean that he is a thug. Mauriece is a serious student to have come into his fourth year at this institution as well as an active member of this community as director of the Gospel Choir as well as a former board member of a campus organization. Unless you have heard him profess himself as a thug, I have to ask that you not misrepresent someone based on your personal bias.

    All the best.


    I think that it is crazy to think that laughing in the reg is a sign that you are likely to harm other students. If that was true then I think almost everyone that is in this school would end up being in a choke hold and put in jail at least once in the time that they are here. When you say, “If this guy wanted to act like a thug, he should be treated like a thug,” especially makes me upset. How does laughing and asking questions in a calm manor the same as acting like a thug? I think thug-like behavior is stabbing a student while drunk. It is crazy how that (the stabbing) happened and no one was arrested. How can stabbing a student be a less thug-like and arrest causing offense then laughing in the reg with friends?

  • Dave

    RE: Nathan Michael

    Just because you got kicked out of the Shoreland (and subsequently decided to leave the university) for saying something racist to Maurice doesn’t mean you can make offensive comments on this Maroon article. Just thought I’d clear up your statement for everyone else commenting here.

    (P.S. I hope you’re the Nathan Michael I am thinking that you are–let us hope there is only one Nathan who would make a comment like that.)

  • Karim Diane

    “I am absolutely outraged. This certainly appears to be a clear example of racial profiling and of police brutality, both of which absolutely unacceptable. Period.”

    Wow. Real quick to make such a heavy statement.

    Now… I am not saying anything did happen, or didn’t happen, but clearly this situation is starting to blow up into something none of us would really hope for, so maybe its best we wait until more of the plot unfolds before we make such a top heavy statement. Don’t you think?

  • the word of reason

    this has nothing to do with if he was loud or not. the police were called and he probably made a simple task difficult for them. they dont care if he was loud or not.

  • RE: JOHN

    To John:

    I don’t care if the university and its police have the legal right to ask for IDs. The point here is that what they did was totally out of place. The student had no right to make noise, but hurting him and jail for a night are not the answer. That is plain wrong.
    Also, you say we are just siding with the student based on assumptions. There are 5 witnesses who disagree with the version provided by the police. There are no witnesses who agree with that version. Sounds quite clear to me. Also, I do not know how long you’ve been in Chicago, but it has a history of mistreating black students. They ID them ALL the time, and African American students rightfully resent that, sometimes refusing to show their IDs. A few years ago another black student was asked for an ID in the street, he did not have it, and spent a few hour in jail too. This was the case even if the other students who were with him told the police that he was a fellow student. So, think twice before you talk, or you may end up justifying horrible things.

  • Johnae Strong

    RE: why rely on “probably” when you have facts to go on. Please people stick to the incident at hand; people are just going on personal tirades at this point. Let’s have a progressive mentality about this; we have an opportunity to correct any wrongdoing we’ve known on the behalf of the UCPD and some of us are squandering it on personal attacks/and or generalizations.

  • Emale

    Last statement. I promised.

    Let’s leave the racial profiling aside. That’s a whole extra issue that need not be dealt with at this time (because y’all ain’t ready – truly).

    The main issue that needs to be addressed is the need for police to take such action on *any* student and why anyone assumed it appropriate to call the police on a *student* in the A-Level that is armed with nothing but a loud mouth (as are the rest of the *students* in the A(nimal)-Level).

  • Anon

    If it looks like a duck, talks like a duck, and quacks like a duck then it is racial profiling.

    Even the most die hard deniers have to admit that no student has ever been arrested for making noise in the library. I, at least, have never heard of such a response to what is essentially noise in a place that is well known to not be especially quiet. Someone could scream in the reg and it would surprise me if the police were brought in.

  • The old man

    Racism is as American as apple pie. It didn’t die with the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement, or the election of Barack Obama, so sit down for the show, because it is not over. To my young brothers and sisters I say to you that trying to explain the problems of racial profiling to those who have not been on that side of the stick is futile. Most know what they know about other cultures comes from what they see on television and read in books and such, so don’t waste your breath on them….they’ll get it….eventually. As for the “he deserved what he got because he’s an ass” folks out there, if we were to follow your philosophy then your family member who dresses provocatively deserves to be sexually assaulted…etc… Nobody deserves to be choked for asking a police overseer why you want to see my ID. In my years I’ve been called “the word”, profiled, and been witness to black men being shot in the back by the very police that are to protect. As you shouldn’t expect to go to the A-Level to “study”, you should not expect anything to be different on this “liberal” campus. I worked in law enforcement in the south, and how it saddens me (but never will surprise me) to hear this has happened to this young brother, I am quite rejoiceful that the ONLY thing that happened to him was he was choked. I’ve seen and heard a lot worse. My advice going forward is to understand the consequences for your actions, justified or not, and that if you feel the need to assert your rights, do so with pride and conviction, if not, show your ID and move on. With that said, do we continue to meet and talk about this or do we hold the police accountable for their actions as well as the young brother.

  • Bro

    As long as the po stay away from my meth operation in the stacks, I’m happy. Have your fun on the A-Level; hit up the 4th floor stacks if you really want to party.

  • Black Warrior Princess

    The University is not the only campus suffering with this. It is happening at Northwestern, U of Cali., you name it. it has a name. Institutional Racism. Its in all our institutions. You either fight it, or your part of the problem.

  • A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr.

    I suppose that I’ve become accustomed to disappointment with our supposedly-illustrious student body. This remains an incident that – as it was reported – makes very little sense. What is clear, contrary to the numerous and dubious assertions to the contrary, is that there are at least two sides to this story: the officer’s, the “witnesses'” (read: friends of the accused), and (perhaps) the student’s, were it to diverge substantially from the perspective of his colleagues.

    What is also clear, and regrettably so, is that a sad, familiar cast of characters – juvenile campus activists and peddlers of identity politics – have endeavored to, and succeeded in twisting what remains a bizarre, poorly-understood incident into some sort of race riot. Less savory elements of our student body have created a lynch mob, in essence. Somehow, these students have imputed a racial bias into an arrest of an African-American student by an African-American police officer. In doing so, these students have absolved Mr. Dawson of any misconduct, despite the fact that the one detail everyone seems willing to agree upon is that Mr. Dawson was quite loud.

    That the full story remains yet untold does not bother our activists, though. They have found their story, and they are sticking to it. So who will stand up for a just cause, and call for calm in the face of popular outrage? Where are these passionate advocates of social justice and fair treatment? They are on the side of the mob. If the officer’s conduct mirrors the testimony of Mr. Dawson’s colleagues, then he should be punished. But we do not know that it did. What we do know is that we have let ourselves down.

  • Sarah

    What should have happened is that the kid should have been asked either to quiet down to a more acceptable noise level or to leave. If he continued to be disruptive he should have been asked to leave. If he refused he should have been escorted out of the building and not allowed back in for a couple hours. Thats it, no arrest, no jail.
    There are two issues here: Police misconduct and student misconduct. Obviously, the police misconduct was much more severe. But I do think a lot of students are right to point out that there is an issue with disrespect from students, but maybe if it were handled in a more appropriate manner there would be less of a problem.
    I think most of us are aware of both of these problems, and so we should try in this discussion not to claim that people don’t think that the police were out of line or that the kid was probably being too loud.

  • G

    Haha!! Nice job @ Dave! I remember that Nathan Michael. He was pretty sour after his nasty little comment to Mauriece got him kicked out of the Shoreland.

    Mauriece is quite outspoken and loud, but let’s not kid ourselves… the A-Level is not for serious studying. It’s a social scene for not-so-serious studying and people come in all the time talking to each other like it’s a party, making their rounds, etc. Everyone knows that if you’re pulling a SERIOUS all nighter you get a study room in your dorm or you go to Crerar. Mauriece is a hard worker, and yeh, he can be loud and get on some people’s last nerves, but this whole thing is ridiculous. nobody deserves to be arrested for talking loudly in the A-Level. They can’t even break up a campus party (it has to be CPD) for being too loud!

  • DJL

    It is my understanding that this fellow was charged with trespassing, but I am unsure what the grounds for this are. As a member of the University community, he has the legal right of an ‘invitee,’ under my understanding of the law. This invitation cannot be revoked simply because he refused to show his identification. That is to say, even if we assume that Mr. Dawson was in fact asked for ID, the fact that he did not show it does not mean that he did not have it. This excuses the arrest (if not the forces), but does mean that now that it is clear that he was able to be there, charges on that count should be dropped.

    The property owner here is the University and Mr. Dawnson, although not an official representative of that body, is an enrolled member and therefore afforded the rights included thereby. Imagine if we were to accept that a student could be denied entry to the University campus simply because one relatively low level university representative disliked the way that he was acting- a way that was not putting anyone in danger and was not wildly out of line with the actions of those generally in the area. That violates his rights as a member of the University, or so it seems to me.

    This has happened at other Universities across the country and the general precedent is that charges are dropped. Hopefully the UofC will follow suit.

  • GG

    people of color discriminate against people of color all the time. i had a similar thing happen to me at the crear library, except in my case the clerk was an african-american student and she threatened to call security on me for bringing food into the library (when every other person walking through had bags of food). she literally would not let me go up stairs and get my things. she told me i had to leave my food at the ciruclation desk or she would call security on me…and what makes it even more ridiculous was that no less than 3 other people walked right passed her with food.

  • not trying to be called a racist

    students have been arrested for stupid things in the reg before. a couple of years ago a student was arrested for bringing a pizza into the reg. i don’t recall anyone claiming “racial profiling,” so i suspect he was white. they also claimed that he refused to show ID.

    also, just some semantics, it may be discrimination, but it’s not racial profiling.

  • In favor of privacy

    This is irresponsible reporting on the part of the Maroon for not respecting the privacy of Dawson. Any future employer doing a customary internet search on Dawson will come across this article. Your reporting potentially harms the future employment opportunities of this student.

    Certainly, making this issue known to the University community is important, though I am not convinced it was important to reveal the name of the student— particularly since he did not cause ANY physical threat to any other students or community members.

  • R. Hubarb


    Dawson’s future employment prospects will be far more threatened by having an arrest on his record, not a student newspaper article. The solution to your criticism is to have the UCPD and the University make sure that this ridiculous situation doesn’t make it on his record.

    I don’t understand why people continually criticize the Maroon for reporting news, which is its sole function. The same criticism was pointed at the Maroon for reporting on the Zimmer Affair. If the Maroon doesn’t report on these major issues that have serious implications for the University community, then who will?

  • Rodrigo Pinto

    The punishment was simply right. Cut the crap about Racism. If it were me, I would be the first to say that I was wrong and the police of UofC cannot be punished for doing their work.

  • Reba

    I may be just out of the loop on this, but what I am most disturbed by is that this is the VERY FIRST incident I have heard of where ANYONE was arrested in the Reg (don’t we usually get notices about that kind of thing?), and it’s a student who’s only crime apparently could, potentially, depending on who you ask, be being inconsiderate.
    I have heard of people being sexually harassed in the library. I have heard of people witnessing pickpocketing in the library. I have heard of people coming in drunk and starting fights in the library. I have never heard that anyone involved in any of that was arrested. Maybe I’m just out of the loop and people HAVE been arrested for that kind of thing (I hope so), but that’s what shocks me.
    The first time *that I have heard* anyone’s arrested, and it’s a student, who seems to be guilty of the crime of being loud and black. I’m so ashamed of us.

  • Gerald

    On the one hand the harshness of the punishment and racial undertones bother me. On the other hand, I would thoroughly enjoy it if more loud people in the library were savagely beaten.

  • ES

    As a student, I find some of these comments (i.e. “He’s annoying!”; “The library is for quiet!”) frankly a little embarrassing.

    Perhaps instead of airing our pet peeves, we should focus on the alleged crime (being disruptive & not showing ID) and the punishment (a choke hold & a night in jail). The librarian clearly overreacted–I mean really, loud students in the A-Level, is that really cause to alert the police? As the situation is portrayed in this article, there’s a leap from telling the students to be quiet to threatening to call the police–she didn’t even bother asking them to leave the library herself. The police were probably expecting more of a threat than they encountered but reacted true to form. The whole thing seems shot through with racial profiling (I mean seriously, would this happen to a loud white girl?) but even if that weren’t the case, how do we as a community accept ARREST as an appropriate response to, ultimately, being disruptive? It’s purely an exercise of power. If he was the nuisance people say, he should have been repeatedly ASKED TO LEAVE, first and foremost, *obviously*, and at the most escorted out of the building. Being loud is hardly grounds for being put in a choke hold, cuffed, and made to spend the night in a jail cell.

    I hope the UCPD finds this whole incident deeply embarrassing.

  • Alex

    I don’t know the kid, and I’ll grant that he could be the most obnoxious loudmouth on campus, but laughing and talking loudly does not come anywhere close to the most ridiculous shit I ever saw pulled on the A-level. Once, during finals week 3 or 4 years ago, I was jarred from my reading by a chorus of frat boys shouting “POO DOLLAR! POO DOLLAR!” over and over again. They had – you guessed it – wrapped a piece of feces in a dollar and waited for someone to pick it up. No one said word one to them – they finished their chant, replaced the poo dollar, and waited for the same thing to happen again, twenty minutes later.

  • halfway

    If anyone could get arrested in the Reg… it would have to be this guy.

    Still, UCPD, can we not do the choke hold on a handcuffed student in a library? I was under the impression that the choke hold was only permitted for situations that threatened an officer’s life (not merely were really REALLY annoying).

    One word of advice from a recent alum: You want to get work done? Go to Crerar.

  • W

    Does anyone think the police would have responded in the same way if the student were white? Poo-Dollar Fi-Gis suggest no.

    Would anyone think this was justified if you didn’t already dislike this student? Most of the arguments here approve of corporal punishment when directed toward a student you dislike. It’s really cute, but police violence is no joke. If this is how police act IN A LIBRARY IN FRONT OF HUNDREDS OF STUDENTS WHO ARE LIKELY TO DOCUMENT AND HOLD THEM RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS, how do you think they act in alleys in North Lawndale?

  • Billy

    “If this is how police act IN A LIBRARY IN FRONT OF HUNDREDS OF STUDENTS WHO ARE LIKELY TO DOCUMENT AND HOLD THEM RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS, how do you think they act in alleys in North Lawndale?”

    As long as it prevents me from getting robbed I don’t care. Since when was OUR police force supposed to work for non-paying locals? Nonsense. Maybe you don’t pay full tuition, but I sure as hell do, and I don’t care much for freeriders.

  • K

    Choreographed dances have taken place in the A-Level; choreographed dances with loud stereos and people in eccentric costumes. Some of them weren’t even current students. People have set up beds and tents in the A-Level. People take Nalgenes of hard liquor into the A-Level all the time. They eat food there. They do all of these things very loudly. It’s the A-Level, not the B-Level (scary quiet), or the fifth floor, or Crerar. The A-LEVEL.

    Amazingly, none of these people have spent a night in jail for their transgressions on the A-Level. Even if you don’t think this is a race issue (it clearly is, and it’s shameful so many of those commenting don’t see it that way)the student’s arrest makes no sense at all. Like, for serious, no sense at all. A choke hold? Seriously?! He didn’t hit the cops, he didn’t yell at them, he was just loud and then didn’t want to leave the loud section of the library he pays good money to use.

    As for the cops doing their job: busting on loud students in the library? How much of a threat could a loudmouth be? A choke hold just doesn’t seem at all necessary in this situation.

  • Mary J. Wilkerson

    I am absolutely appalled at the arrest of Mauriece Dawson and his being kept in jail overnight for being “loud” in the library, and for allegedly refusing to show his ID. I know him well. He has always been a good student and a good person. He has counseled his peers about doing the right thing and working hard to reach their full potential in spite of obstacles. He has worked very hard to be a successful student and citizen. What bothers me the most is that this could possibly negatively affect his future plans to go to law school and his future employment opportunity. Employer and others routinely “Google” candidates. I wonder if he can sue for damage of reputation.
    I think the Maroon, the U of C Police and administrators should write a letter of apology and publish it in the Maroon. Then anyone googling can see that Mauriece was definitely wronged.

    I strongly believe that if he were white he would not have been aggressively handled. He certainly would not have been taken to jail.

    I have spent most of my life being a civil right activist and advocate. I am glad to see that other students are speaking out.

  • not trying to be called a racist

    Try to let your mind make your decisions, not your political dogma.

    Also, I wish I could tip Mary J. Wilkerson off her “civil right (sic) activist” soap box. She’s using the Jesse Jackson’s play book: spinning yarns to support moral arguments and two heaping servings of self-serving advertisements. Sweetheart, you’re not old enough to have “spent most of [your] life” on anything other than having your mother pick up after you.

  • RE: MARY

    I can’t believe someone would ask for the Maroon to apologize for reporting on news like this. The guy is an adult, this is on his record, its public information. The Maroon’s job is to report on campus events – would you prefer that they censored every story so that no story ever had a negative impact on anyone? I’m sure that version of the truth would be better for everyone, right? Are we living in China? Even if the arrest is unjustified, it happened. Henry Gates was unjustly arrested this summer – should no one have reported on the arrest just because it was unjust and he didn’t deserve that kind of publicity? If you are going to trumpet civil rights activism, the best thing that can be done is for the story to be told, not covered up.

  • Kind of Crazy
    Everyone should really read this article. Its a maroon opinion column asserting that Maurice should have indeed been arrested by two self proclaimed “white guys discussing racial profiling”. The article doesn’t talk about racial profiling as much as it defends and justifies Maurice’s arrest. It is an illogical argument formed around the pretense of reason but grounded in the assertion that people should submit to the police without question, regardless of the situation…because..oh well, they are the police, they are the law and as long as law is law, anyone who question law, is in violation of the law and should get arrested–or so argue these crazy kids.

  • Andrew Wells-Qu

    We have more than one problem here, so it would make sense to have more than one solution. For now, let’s leave aside the higher-order community problems like racial profiling and noise pollution. Instead, let’s restrict our attention to what is immediately solvable on the individual’s level: the legal grounds of the arrest.

    Although the UCPD claims that the student committed criminal trespass and resisted arrest, all the other published eyewitness accounts deny this. An officer’s word might outweigh one student’s word, but it can’t outweigh twenty students’. Unless the UCPD can irrefutably prove that (1) the individual refused to show his ID and (2) the individual physically resisted, then the arrest was not warranted. In that case, the officer should be disciplined and both the UCPD and University should issue formal apologies.

    Before addressing systemic problems, we can achieve some immediate justice within the system by demonstrating the arrest’s illegality. Let’s not dilute the individual’s problem with our flood of community problems just yet; let’s first solve the most pressing injustice.

  • John

    Andrew Wells –

    He didn’t commit criminal trespass by refusing to show ID – he committed criminal trespass by not obeying a lawful order by the officer to leave the library. He should have left and filed a complaint later.

  • Not JOHN

    Re: JOHN

    He did not refuse to leave the library; he simply asked “why” he had to leave. He was not verbally responded to by the officer. Instead, he was tackled to the ground and placed into a choke hold.

  • Andrew Wells-Qu

    John –
    I wasn’t there, and you’ll have to forgive me for my limited knowledge of the law. But I think your apologist stance misses a few things: neither the legality of the officer’s order itself nor the student’s disobeying has been established.

    Let’s grant that officers have the authority to arrest whenever an individual disobeys a lawful order to leave property. But what makes this order lawful? Is it that an officer can ask an individual to leave a property whenever the officer deems it fitting, or isn’t it rather that the officer needs to establish legal grounds first? It could be disturbing the peace or public obscenity, but there must be some reason under the law that the individual should be removed. In this case, the University’s stated grounds are criminal trespass. I’m not aware of any other means to determine trespassing in this case than to verify ID. Yet this crucial step was not taken. [We won’t here attempt to argue that the officer could have guessed if the individual had an ID, seeing as he was in a restricted-access library with other students.] Without ascertaining whether or not the individual was trespassing, the officer could not lawfully order him to leave.

    Furthermore, you assume without question that the student disobeyed at all. It seems to me that the individual wasn’t given enough breath to either obey or disobey before he was choked into submission. I’m puzzled as to how you even think that saying “Why?” means the same as “No.” According to eyewitness accounts, the individual was doing what we should all be doing now: ascertaining the legality of the officer’s order. It is not hard to picture how violently someone could have conceivably disobeyed, so it is odd that you condemn this individual’s neutral reaction. It is what I, what any reasonable student would have done in the same hostile situation. The officer responded to this perfectly natural query with brutally excessive force. As others have already noted, being loud in the A-level has never before been punished with choking and arrest and a night in jail.

    I’ll leave it to you to imagine how the University can revise the charges, but it is clear that the stated charges are not legally feasible. Nor is the officer’s use of force defensible on grounds of the student’s resistance. Words are not the same as physical belligerence. If members of the University are to live together without fear, it makes sense that the law must ground all legitimate use of force. Otherwise, we are permitting others to override our rights at the whim of a single officer.

    Unquestioning compliance with figures of authority would not improve the situation. On a practical level, the suggestion of a post-facto complaint is not very realistic. It subscribes to the assumption that solely a complaint would prevent such injustice from recurring, and this implies faith in the enforcement system with unfailingly protecting citizens’ rights. Unfortunately, this faith would privilege the right of the police to trample rights at the moment of dispute, while it would relegate the right of the citizens to a distant possibility of future redress. This naive faith might instead allow rampant police abuses, which could then be apologized for upon later complaints. I don’t think that we should make room for illegal police action at all. We are fortunate that we can rely on the law in addition to the higher law of justice, and here at this University, both hold at all times without exception. Otherwise, the police are no better than criminals.

    Such an apologist stance is also difficult to reconcile ethically. To pretend that the individual deserved his fate is to pretend that we are somehow different. Unlike him, we would have quietly complied. Unlike him, we would have bowed down and agreed to whatever the authority figure told us to do. Unlike him, we would have submitted a complaint at a later time, and we would have quietly resolved the situation without fuss. Then again, there have been many times in recent American history where compliance or non-compliance would not matter. Like him, we might have been beaten. Like him, we might have been killed. We can hope that the later investigation would exonerate our name, but it does not excuse cowardice at the moment of dispute. To lay aside our moral convictions at any convenient moment is to completely abandon them.

  • mary j. wilkerson


    I received my MBA from the U of C. I am over 65 years old and I have indeed spent more than 50 of them involved in equal and civil rights issues. It has been a very long time since my mother picked up after me.

  • Carol

    @Mary J. Wilkerson. Thank you! Now, can anyone tell me what happened to the “white frat boys”?

  • Igor

    This makes me deeply embarrassed to be a student at UofC. Thank G-d I don’t live in Hyde Park.

  • Anonymous

    On second thought, I saw this student at a campus dining hall the other day. I can see now why someone would be prompted to call the police with him at the A-level. Behavior like that certainly warrants such an action!

  • Don

    This reminds me of why I went to a historically Black undergrad.