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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration


Mr. Spanier: Are These Activists ‘Misguided’ Too?

President Graham Spanier has been roundly criticized over the past week for his column in the widely respected higher education news magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education. Mr. Spanier’s article, “Is Campus Activism Dead – Or Just Misguided?” specifically condemns sweatshop protest groups at Penn State.

The type of activism Mr. Spanier would apparently like to see instead at Penn State? Mr. Spanier only makes a passing reference to what he laments as a lack of protests of … wait for it … the War in Iraq.

In light of Mr. Spanier’s recent journey into the ether, a friend of Safeguard Old State sent along the following article, covered in The Brown Daily Herald:

The Brown Daily HeraldSDS tries to enter meeting – Oct. 24 – Corporation members peering out the window of University Hall’s third floor Saturday might have been surprised to see a similar meeting taking place on the grass.

Protesting what they feel is an opaque and exclusive board of governors, Students for a Democratic Society parodied the annual fall meeting of the University’s highest governing body by having some of the group’s white male members – along with a “token female” and a “token minority” – lead a mock discussion.

But the theatrics really started when five group members dashed across the Main Green holding a ladder, which they attempted to use to climb through a window into the meeting.

“Until we have nothing less than complete control of our school, there’s no compromise.” [said SDS member Atilio Barreda.]

Now, anyone paying attention to life at Penn State knows we don’t deal with anything of similar consequence in Happy Valley — it’s safe to say that students are a bit more radical at Brown than at Penn State. Of course, all of this begs the question: would Mr. Spanier classify these activists as “misguided” as well?

Apparently, Mr. Spanier has taken upon himself the right to judge the worthiness of students’ causes on campus. Those he disdains, like students fighting for what they believe is fairer treatment of laborers in the developing world, are arrested.

After nearly 15 in the Nittany Valley, Mr. Spanier’s recent column only confirms what so many Penn Staters have for so long feared. For Mr. Spanier, it’s all about the power.

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