Atlanta University Center Students Stage Sit-In PDF Print E-mail
By Anastasia Semien - Black College Wire   

Woodruff Library
More than 150 Atlanta University Center students staged a sit-in in the Robert W. Woodruff Library at midnight Dec. 3 in an attempt to keep their library open 24 hours.

Students from Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College filled the lower level of the Woodruff library demanding that the library extend its hours of operation. Instead of it closing at the scheduled time of midnight, the students wanted it to be open all night so that they could study for their final exams.

clark_inside108829.gif"I'm here because I really need to study," said Crystal Helton, a Freshman English major. As she took a break from studying, she added, "I support everyone's cause because it's my cause."

Morehouse sophomore Adam McFarland said this protest was not only to keep the library open all night, but to ensure that a situation like this one would never happen again. "From apartheid in Africa to civil rights, students have constantly been at the forefront of change. We're here tonight to make a statement to those in power- a statement that screams: we want change," said McFarland, a biology/ music double major.

"I believe that everything starts somewhere," continued McFarland. He, along with several other Morehouse students, led the negotiations between the library administration and the students.

Many students openly voiced the concern with the library administration that if the extended hours would have started Sunday night, then this protest would have never had to happen. "This doesn't make sense that they start the 24 hours [of operation] Monday night when people have exams to study for tonight," said Monique Hill, a Clark Atlanta freshman criminal justice major.

Many students also said that their tuition costs are too high for injustices like this to occur. "I pay $28,000 a year, and this is unacceptable," Hill added.

Some students attended the sit-in simply to hang out with friends. "Basically, I came to look at the ladies. I did all of my studying already, so I'm just here for them, " said a Morehouse freshman business management major who did not wish to be named.

Many Morehouse and Spelman students also complained that they had been experiencing Internet difficulties within the past two weeks. They stated that Internet usage was pivotal in completing assignments and studying for tests.

This sit-in stemmed from a smaller one in Woodruff Library on Friday Nov. 30. There was also a Facebook group, Two Hundred at 12, which has a little over 200 members.

The library stayed open 24 hours to accommodate the students due to help from CAU's public safety. Many students said that if sit-ins or protests are what it takes to get the positive changes in their communities, they are ready to take action.

"A commonality shared among this consortium of schools is that we as students have declared education as a top priority," said Candace Smith, a Spelman sophomore political science major. "Therefore any obstacle that threatens to impede our educational advancement has to be removed. As agents of change, this sit-in was inevitable and is a perfect example of the strides we'll take to ensure our academic prosperity."

Anastasia Semien writes for the Panther, the Clark Atlanta University student newspaper, which originally published a version of this article.

Posted Dec. 12, 2007

Posted Dec. 11, 2007
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