Group simulates dead bodies
Issue date: 9/24/08 Section: Campus News
Media Credit: Justin Coleman
About seven protesters covered themselves in fake blood and held the names of people said to have been killed in connection with either the CIA or Raytheon. About 16 others handed out literature to passersby at the fair, which was sponsored by the Career Development Center. Five lied down near the adjacent booths of the two organizations, slightly obstructing the paths of students and creating some traffic in the back of the room, while two others were positioned near the entrance of the hall.
Protesters passed out small slips of paper that said "Raytheon Kills" because it produces weapons and is the fifth-largest military contractor in the world. The paper also declared the CIA to be "a human rights abuser" because of its "long history of illegal detainment and torture of civilians and overthrowing of democratically elected governments."
During much of the four-hour fair, students attending the fair passed by a male student in a white T-shirt and blue jeans lying next to a pool of fake blood as they filed into Sayles. Behind him, a cardboard sign read:
SDS members demonstrated inside Sayles for about 25 minutes before administrators and police officers asked the protestors to clean up the corn starch they had used in a demonstration and get up off the floor, citing health and safety concerns.
"They clearly made their point, but at what cost?" said Terry Addison, associate dean of student life. "They certainly have the right to protest - no one denies that - but it causes others to be unduly disrupted."
The SDS protest was largely aimed at the University, attempting to dissuade the CDC from inviting the companies back to campus, said Michael da Cruz '09, a member of the activist group. The CIA had an information session early this week, and Raytheon representatives said more employees would come to the school later this month.
Last year, the group sent an e-mail to the CDC and dropped off a letter at its main office, asking them to stop inviting the companies, da Cruz said.
Kimberly Delgizzo, director of the CDC, said she never received the letter and vaguely recalls reading an e-mail about a protest. In a brief interview after the career fair, she refused to comment on whether the protest would affect the relationship between the University and the targeted companies, but justified the center's reasons for allowing the companies to recruit.
SDS members also wanted to reach out to students, especially those interested in working for the two companies, SDS member Alexander Wankel '11 said.
Student reactions were mixed. While many stopped to read the cardboard signs and accepted the literature describing problems with Raytheon and the CIA, several gave the protesters little more than a second glance as they stepped over and maneuvered around them to pass.
Some seemed slightly annoyed. As Michelle Moses '09 accidentally stepped into a pool of the dyed corn starch, she grimaced. The protest was inconsiderate to some of the students, she felt.
She also doubted the effectiveness of SDS's approach.