Chicago State University professor protests high wire act over Chicago River

Chicago State University professor protests high wire act over Chicago River
Photo: Geoff Robins - Getty Images

Chicago State University professor protests high wire act over Chicago River: Calls Mayor Emanuel, Governor Quinn, and aldermen irresponsible for not enforcing a safety net or harness

Dr. Garrard McClendon, a professor at Chicago State University, wants Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Quinn to stop the tight rope walking event of Nik Wallenda.

“I’ve been watching the Wallenda family do stunts for years and the courage and athleticism is spectacular. But Mayor Emanuel, Governor Quinn, and aldermen should force Nik Wallenda to use a harness or net for safety if he wishes to tight rope walk across the Chicago River from Marina Tower to the Leo Burnett building.”

McClendon believes that the city is irresponsible for allowing such a dangerous act.

“There will be thousands of people watching and God forbid anything unfortunate occurs. He should wear a harness that gives him a second chance incase of a mishap. Chicago has unpredictable weather and winds,” states the professor.

The Wallenda Family is known around the world for death defying stunts. There have been fatalities though. In 1978, the Nik’s great grandfather, the great Karl Wallenda fell to his death while attempting to walk a cable strung between two hotel towers in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Other family members have had terrible fate as well.

“I am not protesting the event. I want Nik to be successful as he has been for many years. I am just concerned with the leadership of Mayor Emanuel and Gov. Quinn for allowing such a feat with children watching, and no protective measures for a fall,” McClendon says.

McClendon supported and cheered for Wallenda when he walked across Niagara Falls. It was a prominent blog post on

“I thanked God, Nik Wallenda survived the swirling winds, noise, and mist of Niagara Falls,” says McClendon. “The human spirit still thrives.”

Nik Wallenda says he walks “to inspire human beings around the world.”

McClendon states, “He is definitely an inspiration for all the things we can achieve, but in Chicago, he should have a net or a harness.”


McClendon is a  graduate professor of Education at Chicago State University.

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