Students organized by the UW chapter of the Campus Anti-War Network (CAN) sat in front of the company's booth, singing anti-war songs and blocking access to the company's four recruiters. The group had a noon rally at the top of Bascom Hill in the center of campus and then marched to the Engineering Centers Building, where the career fair was being held.
Protest organizer Chris Dohls estimated the crowd at 200 people. He stood in front of the Halliburton booth leading the crowd in song.
According to a local blog site police say the protesters can stay camped outside the Chancellors office where many of the protesters have moved until the building closes, at which point, the Chancellor’s office would have to make a decision along with UWPD as to what to do.
Earlier this month CAN leader, UW senior Chris Dols, is also hopeful to have a turnout in the hundreds, and said it is disappointing to see engineers working for a company like Halliburton.
“There are certain ethical standards engineers are supposed to uphold, and they make billions off this war,” Dols said. “I hope we make it impossible for them to recruit.”
Dols said, “Halliburton is not an engineering company that UW students are preparing to work for. We want to help people, not organize the infrastructure of a military occupation, which is what Halliburton has done in Iraq.”
The following is from the Capital Times (Wisconsin).
UW protesters sing against Halliburton at career fair
University of Wisconsin-Madison protesters pushed police and university officials hard today in a spirited protest against the Halliburton company, which was recruiting engineering students on campus.
Given a police escort that cleared University Avenue from Charter Street to Breese Terrace, more than 120 protesters marched shortly after noon from Bascom Hill to the Engineering Centers Building, the site of a career fair with some 100 recruiters from different organizations.
The leaders of the Campus Anti-war Network did their best to skirt rules laid down by administrators. They were allowed to enter the career fair but were told not to chant, so they sang. They were told to use conversational tones, but they did so with a bullhorn.
Protesters around the Halliburton booth sang: "I say from day to day, soldiers' lives are thrown away" and "Hey hey! Ho ho! This racist war has got to go!"
Halliburton is the target of protest because of the oil service company's ties to the war in Iraq and Vice President Dick Cheney, its former CEO. One of Halliburton's subsidiaries, KBR, has received several lucrative contracts from the U.S. government for work in Iraq, although the two companies are now formally separated.
The UW protesters made a point of comparing their demonstration with a famous clash in 1967 between anti-Vietnam War protesters and police over the recruitment of students by Dow Chemical Co., the maker of napalm.
"Dow was the worst profiteer in that war, and Hallibruton is in this one," Chris Dols, one of the protest leaders, said today.
Some engineering students said they resented the disruption of their career fair when they were trying to find jobs.
Renee Miller, a student trying to talk to recruiters said, "they're ruining our career day. I'm trying to get a job."
Mia McKinney, a freshman from Racine majoring in industrial engineering, said: "This is a wonderful example of free speech, but they should be protesting to Bush and Cheney. These people (the recruiters) have no control over whether our soldiers stay in Iraq."
UW police kept a wary watch on protesters in the career fair and officials made sure a pathway was clear for students who wanted to talk to Halliburton.
Halliburton recruiters would say little to the news media, but one of them, Gavin Bell, said "We want to recruit some talented individuals to work with us."