Conflict at passive protest

By Abigail Keefe
April 3, 2003

Steph Mangold

Different opinions were expressed as students voiced their feelings regarding the war with Iraq outside Founders Hall on Wednesday, March 26.

Conflicting viewpoints were evident as students formed two separate groups of protestors, anti-war and pro-america.

Anti-war protesters feel that war is unnecessary. They want a peaceful resolution as opposed to a violent one. They are against the death of American soldiers who are supporting the war cause. Those in support of the war stand by our troops and support their actions in “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

Mary Laver, coordinator of Community Outreach, said, “I’m supportive of the student opinion. There is an obligation for any person to find out what’s going on. You need to have an honest answer to the question, ‘What do you believe?’ You, then, need to express your opinion.” Laver said, “We’ve stopped short of diplomatic reasoning.”

A news helicopter hovered overhead as the protest progressed. Reporters from channel 3 and The Philadelphia Inquirer were scattered around Founders Hall.

“College students have opinions that need to be expressed. This isn’t just an adult topic,” Nancy Santos-Gainer, director of Marketing and Communications, said. She wanted the voices of Cabrini to be heard.

President Antoinette Iadarola said, “I support both sides of the protest and am glad students are talking and voicing their opinion.” Iadarola supported the pro-war students.

Senior Amy Gassen was present in the group of students protesting peace. “Iadarola showed a bias. I felt neglected as a voice of the student body,” she said.

The mock-death protest was surrounded by yellow caution tape. Four girls mocked death by lying down on the grass, their bodies outlined with white spray-paint. Junior Haven McMickle justified her actions by stating, “I believe in humanity and am taking a stance against violence. I want to put an end to the war.”

Another student involved in the protest, junior Marian Gibfried, said, “I’m showing solidarity for those who died in war. Soldiers need to be recognized as people. I think there is a fear on campus to express opinion and that’s significant.”

Many negative feelings arose concerning the mock death protestors. Cabrini student John Clemens said, “Someone should do something about this. If they don’t like it they should go live in Iraq, and see how they like that.”

“Their protesting is a joke. This is when our country needs us the most and this is what they’re doing,” freshman Mark Martino said,

The anti-war protestors drew chalk outlines of dead soldiers with the words “missile strike” on the road. Sophomore Michael Sofia, who has an older brother and cousin in Iraq, was disgusted. “The dead body drawings are highly insensitive,” he said.

Across the street from Founders Hall about twenty students protested in favor of the war. There stood freshman Ray Croce holding an American flag high above his head.

“War is in our best interest as the Iraqi people need to be liberated,” Croce said. “I respect their protest, but where were they when Saddam was killing and torturing his own people?”

The protesting went on throughout the early afternoon. Charlie Shaffner, director of public safety, and three other public safety officers watched on. Shaffner said, “Everyone has the right to express their opinion. As long as it’s peaceful I encourage it.”

Many voiced their opinion that afternoon. Junior Matt Gallagher said, “I give the protestors credit. It takes a lot of heart.”

Posted to the web by Stephanie Mangold

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Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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