Walk-Out to Protest Heat Ends in Tragedy
Like a scene out of a dystopian novel, thousands of students stood from their chairs at once and took to the halls, flooding the hallways of the EPB, the Adler, and the John Pappajohn Business Building. Some were carrying signs. Others were singing hymns. However, regardless of what these students were proclaiming, they all positioned themselves onto the lawn of Hubbard Park for one reason and one reason only: to protest the heat.
This past week, Iowa has seen temperatures unfathomable to the average Midwesterner. Not only have we reached upwards of a hundred degrees at some parts of the day, but we’re also feeling the pain of humidity levels of 50 percent and higher. Yuck!
The University of Iowa has done little to push back against the heatwave. Despite increasing calls from students to build a really big fan on the Pentacrest, the administration have seemingly made no plans to do so, instead setting up portable fans in hallways and advising students to not set their A/Cs lower than 69 (nice) degrees. When the school’s leadership so blatantly refuses to listen to the demands of the student body, there’s only one route we can take: complaining.
The walkout was first started by Jordann Colander, a third year student who has been denied from student government for the last two years. We had the chance to sit down with him and pick his brain before the protest actually began.
“We can’t just sit here and take the heat,” Colander said as several beads of sweat dripped from his hairline and into the creases of his mouth, though he didn’t offer any reaction to the salty taste. “If the administration refuses to build a really big fan on the Pentacrest, then we’re gonna refuse to study!”
And thus, the protest began. Thousands of students stormed out of their classes, leaving their backpacks and laptops behind for any money-hungry thieves to steal and sell on Ebay (link in bio). Those hymns continued to be sung on the lawn of Hubbard, and, as thousands of dollars in student loans continued to ring up on our checkbooks, Colander took to the podium. The crowd fell to a hush, as if Robespierre himself had returned from the dead, the people eager for a revolution listened to their glorious leader.
Sweat still dripping into his mouth, Colander screamed into the microphone, immediately blowing out the speakers. “What do we want?”
“A big fan!” the crowd yelled back.
“When do we want it?”
“A big fan!” the crowd yelled back again.
However, just as the protest reached its zenith, students began to falter. Women were getting pit stains. Men were getting swamp ass. That one girl’s Hydroflask was getting really hot on the outside, and it hurt to drink from it. And at that exact moment, it occurred to everyone that, by protesting the sweltering heat, they had walked into the very maw of their despised enemy. A panic set over the crowd, and the students began to rush back to the safety of indoors, where those portable A/Cs continued to spit out that much needed cold air. Freshman were trampled. Seniors fainted on the lawn. Theater majors were struck with panic attacks. What had begun as a beautiful proletariat revolution had now devolved in a mass stampede of mania, sweat, and fear.
All the while, Colander begged his people to show some decorum, but the speakers had been blown out, and no one could hear him. His forehead dripped more sweat, and soon, he found himself drowning in his own bodily fluid.
By the time the crush had ended, seventeen people had lost their lives, fifty were injured, two hundred had to be treated for heat stroke, twelve hundred reported sun burns, and five thousand had to receive counseling for overstimulation. Colander’s body was never found. The celebration of student pride and vigor had ended, now overshadowed by tragedy, fear, and confusion. All the while, the heat continued to beat down on us all.
However, the story doesn’t end there. The disappearance of Colander’s body has sparked theories that the crush was an inside job, led by the administration to put down the protest. Several of our on-the-ground sources have reported seeing men clad in all black drilling holes in water bottles at the beginning of the rally, while others claim that drinks handed out by volunteers tasted more like saltwater than Gatorade.
Was this truly just a case of mass hysteria, or were there higher powers behind the scenes ensuring that this rally would end in tragedy? The Doily Allergen will continue to update you on developments in this story as your ONLY trustworthy news source.