Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

ANC Views New Dorm Plans

This wasn’t your parents’ sit-in.

For one thing, most of the people who rallied against administrative tyranny in the `60 are now administrators themselves. The temporary residents of Healy Hall were allowed bathroom breaks, gifts of coffee and taco salad, and fairly regular Domino’s deliveries. There were no menacing security officers dragging away skinny kids in steel cuffs; instead, there was a Department of Public Safety officer who played a mean game of Scattergories with the protesters.

These protesters weren’t wild-eyed radicals. They were clean-cut and socially conscious. There was even a kid with a tie, which stayed knotted the whole weekend, and looked only a little droopy by the end.

Most of the sit-in participants said their parents knew about the sit-in, and had no problem with it. A few said their moms and dads even wished them good luck.

This was an information age sit-in. Cell phones, video cameras and laptops were the order of the day. At one point, protest leader and past president of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee Ben Smith (MSB ’99) walked through the office with two cell phones in hand – one for each ear. These protesters were connected.

The Washington Post described it as “an orderly sit-in” in a Saturday story about the protest. Secretaries placidly continued their work on Friday until 6 p.m. and nonchalantly stepped over the newly installed human addition to their office as more than a few protesters worked on economics and physics homework.

Reporters and other visitors added to the overwhelming feeling of dense humanity that naturally accompanied the approximately 25 temporary residents of Healy 207. But the air was free of the smell of cigarettes – in marked contrast to their ’60s counterparts, these protesters didn’t smoke.

The Hall of Cardinals adjoining the office of University Presiden Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J. served as both an official meeting room and an impromptu mess hall, with entrees of Chex Mix, Ranch-style Doritos and cold pasta. Continuing the culinary theme, a cappella group Superfood sang to the protesters Friday night. The DPS officer on duty seemed to enjoy the show, but didn’t say whether it rescued his night of unplanned overtime, especially one that came “on the first night of the NBA season.”

Students of Georgetown, Inc. donated breakfasts of coffee and bagels each morning, part of a long line of gifts for the sit-in participants. Pizza deliverymen made regular visits to the president’s office, courtesy of benefactors, anonymous and otherwise. A sweet-faced, elderly gentleman who did not wish to identify himself came with a plate of cookies and pastries for “the kids.”

And a steady stream of well-wishers brought blankets, computer disks, orange juice and anything else requested by those inside. Dominique Gonyer (COL ’01), who sat in from Friday on, even had her shampoo imported Saturday.

DPS wasn’t allowing anyone else to join the sit-in – and yes, quite a few did ask – but that didn’t stop the hardy souls who truly wanted to be a part. One group slept on the landing outside O’Donovan’s office on Saturday and Sunday nights.

The protesters didn’t even miss church. On Sunday, Brendan Hurley, S.J., performed a special mass at O’Donovan’s office for the Catholic students inside; the walk across Dahlgren Quad wasn’t one they were going to be able to make.

In the end, the protesters went home to hot showers and soft beds. The memories they will carry in their minds of this weekend will not include violence, or drugs, or even creative hair. Instead, what they gave the world – and their parents – were memories of a late-century sit-in, Georgetown-style.

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