The board had invited two representatives from Mountain Justice to sit on a panel with them for the first half of the meeting. What the board didn’t realize was that those same students were positioning themselves to grab the microphone and disrupt the proceedings. The chairman of the Board Investment Committee, Chris Niemczewski, was in the middle of delivering the opening PowerPoint presentation—which, incidentally, estimated the cost of divestment at $200 million over 10 years—when more than 100 student protesters burst into the room, waving signs and shouting.
One of the student panelists grabbed the microphone out of turn and handed it to a line of protestors who delivered speeches that condemned the “liberal script” in the name of “radical, emancipatory change” and “institutional transformation.” Afterwards, my classmates defended their behavior because they were smashing “hegemonic power structures” and “flipping the power dynamic.”
About 10 minutes after the takeover, I stood up and reminded the protesters that other members of the college were there to hear various perspectives. But rather than listen to what I had to say, the students began to shout and clap in unison, drowning out what I was saying. Professors sat silent in the audience. Neither Dean of Students Liz Braun, nor the college president, Rebecca Chopp, spoke up.