The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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‘Jena 6’ protest today on campus

Members of the SMU community will hold a protest today to raise awareness of a group of high schoolers now known as the Jena 6.

The peaceful protest is against the charges of six black students at Jena High School in Central Louisiana. The protest will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the fountain in front of Dallas Hall. Each hour is for one of the six students. Those who will participate in the protest are encouraged to wear black.

Mychal Bell, 16, and five other black students were potentially facing up to 100 years in prison if convicted of attempted murder, conspiracy and other charges for the December 2006 beating of the white student, who was knocked unconscious but not hospitalized.

Bell was found guilty on second-degree battery charges June 28 by a six-member, all-white jury. Before the case was overturned by the state third Circuit Court of Appeal, his sentencing had been set for Thursday.

The court said Bell, who was 16 at the time of the alleged December 2006 beating, shouldn’t have been tried as an adult.

The incident was the result of building racial tensions at the highly segregated high school. Tensions reportedly began after several white students hung nooses from a tree in the school courtyard that were supposed to intimidate black students.

David Bowie announced Wednesday that he would donate $10,000 to a legal defense fund for the six black teens.

The British rocker’s donation to the Jena 6 Legal Defense Fund was announced by the NAACP as thousands of protesters were expected to march through Jena on Thursday in defense of Bell and the other five teens. Bell remains in jail because he is unable to post $90,000 bond.

“There is clearly a separate and unequal judicial process going on in the town of Jena,” Bowie said Tuesday in an e-mail statement. “A donation to the Jena 6 Legal Defense Fund is my small gesture indicating my belief that a wrongful charge and sentence should be prevented.”

– By Nima Kapadia with contributions from the Associated Press

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