Northwestern Silences Loud Student Fan 'The Shrieker'

Paul Steinbach Headshot

Emily Harriott is a senior at Northwestern University boasting a 3.9 grade-point average, but it's her presence outside the classroom that has caught much attention. Too much attention.

Harriott is "The Shrieker" — her voice so distinct and loud at Wildcat basketball games that she could be heard clearly during radio and television broadcasts. As president of the Northwestern Wildside, the official NU student section, Harriott has been leading cheers with such enthusiasm that fans actually began to complain.

"It gets their attention; some of the kids are on their phones and not dialed into the game," Harriott told the Chicago Tribune. “Plus, enough people say it’s annoying, so I figure it must be annoying to the opposing team." In fact, after the Wildcats pulled out a two-point victory Sunday over Illinois, some Illini twitter accounts singled her out. Read one tweet accompanying a photo of Harriott, "THAT'S HER, OFFICER! THAT'S ONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO RUINED MY SUNDAY."

After that game, NU officials asked Harriott to hold her tongue. She regularly meets with Heather Obering, the athletic department’s director of marketing, and at the end of their last conversation, Obering brought up the shrieking, asking, "How about we not do that anymore?"

"It caught me a little by surprise," Harriott told the Tribune, "because I've been doing it for the last 3½ years."

So she didn't do it Wednesday night when the Wildcats hosted Iowa at Welsh-Ryan Arena. "It was different," she said. "Quieter."

Northwestern lost the game, 73-63. 

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