Actress Donates Fee for DePauw Lecture After Student Protests

April 20, 2018

Actress Jenna Fischer will donate her fee for a Tuesday talk at DePauw University after students interrupted her presentation to protest racist messages found on campus this month.

Fischer, who was on campus to meet with theater students, do a Q&A session and sign her 2017 book The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide, empathized with protesters in a tweet Wednesday, saying she would donate her pay to the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League and the Trevor Project.

“The student protesters spoke about their experiences and about the hate they have been encountering. I could feel the pain, sadness and fear coming from these students. No student should feel at risk, or have to suffer the kinds of bigotry and hate these students have encountered. These students need to be heard and they need change,” she wrote.

About 15 minutes into Fischer’s talk, an onlooker blew a whistle, prompting about 100 students to fill the aisles of a campus auditorium, The Indy Star reported. The anti-racism protests continued Wednesday when students from DePauw’s Association of African-American Students interrupted a news conference with Mark McCoy, the university's president.

Student protesters gave McCoy a list of eight demands to increase their sense of security on campus, including asking for a safe space for students of color. McCoy announced Wednesday that DePauw would make several changes to increase student safety, including a designating an interim safe space for students, increasing the presence of public safety officers and hiring another counselor. DePauw asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist its investigation into the racist incidents, and is offering $5,000 in exchange for tips.

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