Chronicle of Higher Education revives the Plan A Hoyas debate

If there was ever any doubt in your mind that being chained to a statue with duct tape over your mouth for eight hours sucks, The Chronicle of Higher Education put that doubt to rest.

A new series on the Chronicle’s website called “Say Something: College Life. One Student at a Time,” features recent Georgetown graduate Julia Shindel (COL ’10) in its first episode.

Shindel’s interview revolves around her time as one of the three members of Plan A: Hoyas for Reproductive Justice that chained themselves to the John Carroll statue in March.

The two-minute, 17-second clip begins by Shindel saying that “the duct tape was absolutely disgusting … the glue just kind of tends to just melt with your skin.”

This introduction sets the tone of the rest of the edited-down clip, which seemed to focus more on how Shindel felt during and after the protest, rather than the protest itself.

When discussing the purpose of the protest, Shindel spoke of a mother of a prospective student who is a doctor and supported their cause.  According to Shindel, the mother referred to the policies that Plan A is fighting as “medieval.”

In the end of the podcast, she tells the Chronicle that people saw how serious the protestors were because they could see how uncomfortable the protestors were.

The story sparked over 70 comments as of last night on the Chronicle’s website, fostering a debate over the policies of Georgetown, as well as a number of comments bashing the Catholic Church on a variety of topics.

Even some members of the Georgetown community (or so they claim in their comments) got involved.

Ericqm had a problem with Shindel’s description of the protest.

As a Georgetown undergrad, I’d like to add my thoughts: Ms. Shindel, I believe, would be taken more seriously if she were to avoid such great hyperbole. I was on campus this spring, and the day this group carried out their stunt cannot accurately be described as “freezing”. More generally, readers may be interested to know that I think most students on campus just did not take “Plan A” very seriously.

Mckittrm came to Shindel’s defense against the commenters on the page.

I have taught Ms. Shindel, and I’d rather have her in my class than some of the commenters. They don’t seem to have learned the first rule of my classroom, which is not to draw conclusions based on your own prejudices coupled with a lack of actual information. Is it perhaps conceivable that Ms. Shindel is exercising the faculties of critical thinking we are seeking to cultivate in our students? That she finds the policy a selective application of Catholic doctrine? 

Georgetown University does not follow Vatican teachings to the letter in a number of matters, and its promotional materials emphasize many aspects of the University beyond its Catholic heritage when it seeks to attract applicants.

Vox recommends that all future protestors take heed: use something other than duct tape for your mouths, and bring a sweatshirt if you think it’s cold out.

Check out the Chronicle’s podcast and the comments here.

9 Comments on “Chronicle of Higher Education revives the Plan A Hoyas debate

  1. My favorite part of the protest was when one of the kids repeatedly removed the tape from her mouth to enjoy a GUGS burger…replacing it in between bites. That’s dedication.

  2. Can we stop having reruns of this incident forced down our collective throats. Face it: Plan A’s revolution was televised and no body watched. The student body has moved on, so should Vox.

  3. @ Jacob,

    You make a fair point about the coverage. But, when a student pops up somewhere like the Chronicle of Higher Education, we think its newsworthy. (And c’mon, didn’t the duct tape quote make you chuckle?)

  4. I covered the protest, and I thought it was too bad (although understandable) that the Chronicle didn’t mention that nothing much got accomplished from the protest. Which wouldn’t be bad on its own, if the protesters hadn’t declared victory after receiving a letter from Todd Olson, then refused to show the press the letter.

  5. Indeed Jacob! Vox, immediately redirect your legions of writers away from people chaining themselves to a statue of a sitting person to support free speech and the right to have safe sex to far more pressing and newsworthy endeavors- for example the excellent lecture in the Gervase Center on the effect of proto-Marxist thought on the economic development of the four Asian tigers during the years 1980-1986 (excluding South Korea because it followed a depressingly conventional neo-bourgeois approach) as interpreted by some “renowned” Canadian historian who just happens to have a friend on the Center’s staff. Such coverage would draw thousands of readers and make Vox the envy of every publication besides the always riveting Manchester Daily Home and Garden and Old People news publication (which the Hoya’s blog has bravely attempted to emulate).

    In other words, stuff it Jacob.

  6. @ Not Greg Monroe

    I guess its too much to ask that our news sources cover new issues rather than old ones. But point taken, I look forward to Vox’s coverage of Georgetown’s 1985’s protests against apartheid. FREE NELSON MANDELA!,+protest&source=bl&ots=11iUMW4Fy1&sig=jC6b6nDpMuAmxkAjzZY6YXLdvJo&hl=en&ei=SjgpTJmlMYSclgfegOWsAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CC8Q6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=georgetown%20university%20apartheid%2C%20protest&f=false

  7. Pingback: Disgraced ‘Historian’ Michael Bellesiles’ Fishy War Story |

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