Dickinson’s puzzling protest continues

A student demonstration at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania has stretched into its third day. Students are still occupying an administration building, but it’s clear the student protesters and administration officials have made progress.

About 250 people gathered Wednesday in Dickinson’s administration building, demanding new policies regarding sexual misconduct on campus.  Thursday evening, 85 were still camped out.  Numbers fluctuated today.

The students demanded among other things that the school send out a red alert campus-wide as soon as a sexual assault comes to light, and that anyone convicted of rape also be expelled from school.

Dickinson has already complied with those two requests, and the two sides are still talking, according to Rachel Warzala, one of the protest organizers.  She says talks have come a long way since Wednesday.

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“Certainly, when the process started, it was perceived that it was an us versus them fight, perhaps on both sides,” said Warzala.  “I think we’ve really come together and worked with the administration on initiatives for this campus that are implementable now.”

Dickinson President William Durden says the school has been working on updating sexual misconduct policies for the past 18 months, but that students have been frustrated by what they see as the slow pace of change.  He says the school is cooperating fully.

“We applaud this kind of student engagement.  Welcome it for this generation,” said Durden.  “So I think we’re going to see out of this the result that we all want for the community.  But we have to keep working on this.”

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