Student and Iadarola face off over protest

By Lauren Mineo
April 24, 2003

Undoubtedly, times have changed. Some current protestors are accused of being confused about the issues that they so boldly act out upon and some confused about how to act upon the issues.

Two passionate views have risen. One opinion is from a notable member of the Cabrini College community, President Antoinette Iadarola, who experienced and coordinated anti-war protests in the late 1960s. The other opinion comes from Cabrini junior, Krista Mickalowski, personally affected by the war by knowing a marine currently serving in Iraq. Their backgrounds are very different, agreeing on some issues and disagreeing on others. One happens to be the protest conducted on the commons of Cabrini’s campus on March 26.

President Antoinette Iadarola

Greatly affected by the war in Vietnam, Iadarola spent much of her time exercising her right to protest while a student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in the late ’60s.

As President of the Graduate Student Association at Georgetown, Iadarola was instrumental in creating a haven for protestors that were no longer allowed to protest in the city. The students were not even safe.

“Helicopters were dropping tear gas canisters into the residence halls, but there was no loss of property and no loss of life,” Iadarola said. Their student group provided peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for nourishment, a gym floor to rest upon and Jimmy Johns, or porta-potties, to the protestors.

On another occasion, while walking to a meeting, a canister of tear gas was thrown at Iadarola by a police official. When asked why he attacked her, he replied, “I’m in hot pursuit of an assailant.” The assailant was not Iadarola. The meeting that she was headed to was called to decide whether police force should be allowed on campus. He cast her vote for her.

The combined vote resulted in a unanimous decision to not invite police onto Georgetown’s campus.

It was a life that most students in 2003 would have a difficult time fathoming. The students of almost 40 years ago were roused by their leader, Kennedy.

“Kennedy was more inspirational, for example, when he said, ‘Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you.’ It’s not the same with Bush. He’s a different kind of president,” Iadarola said.

Perhaps this is why Iadarola feels the way she does about the protest that occurred on Cabrini’s campus on March 26. “I think our students today are more knowledgeable about the issues. I think they’re thoughtful, more discerning,” Iadarola said.

“I thought that there were students that were confused. They were concerned about the war, but because of the people over there, they wanted to be supportive of the war,” Iadarola said.

Monica Davey, a writer for the New York Times, comments about similar confusion, saying, “Complicated emotions, including resentment, are experienced by dead soldiers’ families who do not support war in Iraq; some say they wanted to be part of peace protests, but did not want to show lack of support for troops.”

“I think the protest was good. They went about it peacefully and respectfully. The students were exercising their constitutional right to free speech,” Iadarola said.

Krista Mickalowski

One aspect of the protest that Mickalowski would disagree with, was that it was conducted respectfully. “I was disgusted when the protest happened on campus, not because they were protesting, but because they were doing it in such an inconsiderate manner,” Mickalowski said.

She felt as if the demonstrating students were mocking the soldiers. “It is one thing to have a peaceful sit down or a march around school. It is another to lay on the ground mimicking the victims of war.” Mickalowski said.

Agreeing with Iadarola on the subject of confusion among the protestors, she said, “I think people are too quick to protest before knowing the facts about something. People think with their own emotions before rationally weighing out each side and learning other people’s perspectives.”

Mickalowski believes that a “distinct line” exists between those who know the issues and those who do not. About Iadarola’s time as a college student, Mickalowski “thinks that [they] were much more passionate about serving as well as protesting. The protestors then really had their facts straight and believed in everything they were protesting.”

If the opportunity arose for her to protest, she would do it in a way that was inoffensive and not hurtful toward other people. “I would maybe have a prayer service or an educational seminar. I wouldn’t lay on the ground pretending to be heroes of war who were killed for the very people laying there.”

posted to the web by Antonio Masone

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Lauren Mineo

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