By Christine Patterson
The BYU Honor Code office is considering disciplinary action against a student who was arrested Monday, March 24, in Salt Lake City for protesting the war in Iraq.
Caleb Proulx, a junior from Marietta, Pa., majoring in photography, was arrested with eight other individuals in a peaceful protest, blocking the entrance to the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building.
“Fighting for political change, you make sacrifices that you don”t see the benefits of right away,” Proulx said. “Martin Luther King”s ”I have a dream” wasn”t fully realized in his lifetime, and hasn”t been yet.”
To affect political change, individuals have to get the word out, Proulx said. He believes the media is a conduit for the message, and that they love sensational stories like arrests.
Proulx is also willing to use his status as a BYU student to get message out. He said he was willing to face university disciplinary action “from the get-go.”
Proulx stopped by the Daily Universe office to tell his story on the way to turning himself into the Honor Code office early Tuesday afternoon. He said he thought the chances were good he would be expelled, but that stood he by his actions in Salt Lake City.
“I came to the decision to be arrested after a lot of thought,” Proulx said. “I fully understood I could face expulsion.”
Proulx came into the Universe again after speaking with the Honor Code office, which reportedly told him he would probably not be expelled, but that some action would be taken. The office requested a written statement and said they would begin to review the case.
The nine arrested and cited activists are the only members of the Utah Citizens for Peace, a group dedicated to voicing opposition to the war in Iraq.
The point of the group”s act of peaceful civil disobedience was to be arrested as a way to get attention and have their opinions heard, Proulx said.
The BYU Honor Code states that students who sign it must, “Obey the law and all campus policies,” which entails, “Obedience and steadfast support of the properly instituted governments in all lands.”
“What I told the Honor Code office was that I”m not planning on another arrest right now, but I”m not ruling it out either,” Proulx said. “I”m still committed to a group, so I will be involved in arrest situations and supporting those who are arrested. But, there are no plans for me right now.”
Officers from Utah”s Homeland security office arrested the group.
The protesters were extremely compliant with the officers and no one resisted arrest, Proulx said.
He said the officers handled the situation and the arrests well and they were all well trained and polite.
Officers took eight of the individuals to a holding facility where they were padded down. Proulx said the ninth member, an elderly woman, was cited but not taken into custody because the officers could not accommodate her motorized chair.
Utah Citizens for Peace, which has no appointed leader and acts on a consensus basis, has plans for similar actions in the near future. Each member of the group commits to accept the consequences of their actions.
“I think BYU is a great place,” Proulx said. “I”m privileged and grateful to attend, but I”d say I am convinced what I did was the right thing to do. So, I”m not repentant for it, and that may have some bearing. I accept the consequences of my decision to be arrested.”