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Hold Augie Accountable Protest collection

Identifier: MSS 408

Content Description

The Hold Augie Accountable Protest collection, 2014-2016, largely consists of printed material related to the protest, as well as buttons, audio files, and archived web content. The bulk of the collection comprises three folders of material loosely arranged chronologically.

The first folder, Leadup to the protest/creation of free expression zone, 2014-2016, documents the events immediately preceding the Hold Augie Accountable protest. Materials primarily include printed news articles and emails. Included in this folder are the original email from the Dean of the College in response to the chalking incident; articles on the incident from Campus Reform, KWQC News, and WVIK (see CD-0408/1 for audio files of soundbytes included with the WVIK article); a blog post written by the vice president of the College Republicans taking responsibility for the chalking; an excerpt from Augustana's Code of Social Conduct, which the perpetrators were accused of violating; a list of demands issued by students of color in 2014, which students believed had gone unanswered as of October 2016; and a series of slips of paper containing quotes by Augustana administrators related to diversity and inclusion with hashtags such as #HoldPrezBahlsAccountable and #HoldCampbellAccountable. These slips were anonymously distributed throughout campus classrooms in the week leading up to the protest.

The second folder, Homecoming protest and rally, 1 October 2016, contains papers documenting the protest march and rally held during Homecoming on 1 October 2016. Papers include a press release announcing the march, transcripts of speeches given at the rally, printed news articles documenting the protest, and photographs of the march and Homecoming football game protest taken by Marlen Gomez.

The third folder, Response to the protest, October 2016, tracks various responses to the protest and chalking incident. Included in this folder are a series of buttons created and worn by faculty members in support of students of color; printed news articles about institutional responses to the protest, including the launch of a diversity campaign by Augustana's Student Government Association and amendments to the college's strategic plan; artwork; and reactions to the protest captured on Twitter and Facebook.

In addition to the physical materials in box 1, this collection also includes a series of archived web content related to the protest. This includse interactive archival copies of online news reports related to the protest (some of these articles also appear in printed form in the physical collection) and social media pages created by students active in the protest, including a Facebook page and Twitter account. Archived web content is accessible online at


  • Creation: 2014-2016

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection. Audiovisual materials may be inaccessible pending reformatting. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Augustana College Special Collections and the copyright holder.

Historical Note

On Monday 19 September 2016, sidewalks and steps around the Augustana College campus were chalked with political statements largely connected to the Donald Trump campaign of the 2016 presidential election. The messages were eventually determined to have been chalked by members of Augustana's College Republicans. These statements were regarded by many members of the campus community to constitute hate speech. Some of the statements chalked included "Build the Wall," "Legal Immigrants for Trump," "Hillary for Prison," "The West is the Best," and "Feminism is Cancer." In response to the chalking incident, Augustana administrators established a free expression zone on the sidewalk of the quad between the Olin Center and Hanson Hall of Science. The space was designed to be an officially sanctioned area for students to record political messages, personal viewpoints, and observations in chalk. The chalking incident and creation of the free expression zone received local and national news attention.

In response to the chalking incident, several Augustana community members (primarily associated with multicultural student groups, including Latinx Unidos, Muslim Student Association, the Black Student Union, and Interfaith Understanding) organized a protest on Homecoming weekend. In the weeks leading up to the protest, slips of paper containing quoted statements by Augustana administrators related to diversity and inclusion, which incorporated social media hashtags such as #HoldPrezBahlsAccountable and #HoldCampbellAccountable, were anonymously distributed throughout campus. At 10:15 AM on Saturday 1 October 2016, participants marched from Lincoln Park in Rock Island, Illinois, to Augustana's lower quad and back again, afterwards holding a rally in Lincoln Park. In addition to students, the march was attended by faculty members and representatives of the Rock Island NAACP and Moline LULAC. While marching, students chanted "hate speech isn't free speech" and "whose home is it?" According to a press release issued by event organizers, the stated purpose of the march was to "hold the Administration of Augustana College accountable for not living up to their promise of making Augustana an inclusive community for students of color and other marginalized students." At the rally, speeches were given by Evan Marzahn and Hannah Griggs. Following the rally, about fourteen students staged an additional protest before the start of the Elmhurst and Augustana Homecoming football game at Lindberg Stadium, in which participants kneeled or remained seated during the playing of the National Anthem in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality. This form of protest had been popularized by San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick earlier that season.

Reactions to the protest were mixed. Participants in the march reported incidents of harassment and hate speech by white alumni as the protesters moved through the crowds gathered for Homecoming events on the quad. Among these, one participant reported a white alumnus shouting "Most of them are candidates for deportation!", and another reported being spat at and receiving racist taunts from a group of white alumni. In the wake of the protest, Augustana's Student Government Association launched a diversity campaign called "It's On Us" with the goal of encouraging conversations about issues of diversity, inclusion, and free expression on campus. President Steve Bahls also announced amendments to Augustana's strategic plan, Augustana 2020, emphasizing a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity. The week after the protest, students, faculty, and alumni met with Bahls, Provost Pareena Lawrence, and Dean of Students Evelyn Campbell to discuss the campus environment for students of color. As of January 2017, discussions surrounding issues of inclusion, diversity, free expression, and responses to the 2016 presidential election continue to be held regularly on Augustana's campus.


0.2 Cubic Feet (/ 1 box)

Language of Materials



The Hold Augie Accountable protest was held in October 2016, following an incident involving racist statements chalked around Augustana’s campus. This collection documents the chalking incident, the protest, and the immediate aftermath of the protest, including policy decisions made by Augustana administrators and students’ reactions. The collection includes agendas, speeches, news articles, photographs, recordings, artwork, artifacts, and web content generated during the protests.



Custodial History

While the bulk of the collection was received from participants of the protest, some materials (such as faculty buttons and administrators' quotation slips) were collected and added to the collection by Special Collections staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from Evan Marzahn and Samantha Crisp, October 2016.

Processing Information

Processed by Samantha Crisp, January 2017. Revised by Harrison Phillis, April 2024.

Hold Augie Accountable Protest collection, 2014-2016.
Samantha Crisp
January 2017
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Repository Details

Part of the Augustana College Special Collections Repository

639 38th Street
Thomas Tredway Library
Rock Island Illinois 61201 United States