UM student newspaper cartoon draws protesters

Police are called to office where 40 people gathered

March 20, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

COLLEGE PARK - About 40 students gathered outside the offices of the University of Maryland's student newspaper yesterday to protest a cartoon it ran Tuesday about the death this week of an American woman acting as a "human shield" in the Gaza Strip.

Rachel Corrie, 23, a student at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., was killed Sunday as she tried to stop an Israeli bulldozer from destroying the home of a Palestinian physician. Witnesses said Corrie, a North Carolina native, knelt in front of the machine, which kept coming and crushed her. The Israeli military said the driver didn't see her in time.

The cartoon in The Diamondback, by UM senior Daniel Friedman, depicted a woman about to be hit by a bulldozer above a caption that offered dictionary definitions of "stupidity" that included: "Sitting in front of a bulldozer to protect a gang of terrorists."

Newspaper staff member Mark Davis said the paper had received about 2,000 e-mails protesting the cartoon by yesterday evening. Campus police had been called to the paper's office, where protesters, including members of UM's Muslim student organizations, said they planned to stay through the night.

Davis said the paper had no plan to apologize for the cartoon, as protesters have demanded. Instead, it will run in today's edition an explanation of why it decided to run the cartoon, he said.

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