Hillsdale College put up a fence around the Quad over spring break, to mark the con­struction area for the Christ Chapel to protect people walking on campus. The fence will stand for two years. Nina Huffer | Col­legian

A group of stu­dents is peti­tioning college admin­is­trators to tear down the fence that was erected around the quad and the Ronald Reagan statue last month. The group argues the fence “unjustly divides campus” and bars stu­dents from “paying respect to the best pres­ident in American history.”   

The group, which calls itself the ’89ers, plans to petition the student fed­er­ation for official club status at the federation’s next meeting.

“There is one sign the admin­is­tration can make that would be unmis­takable, that would advance dra­mat­i­cally the cause of freedom and peace,” acting pres­ident of the ’89ers, Donald Feagan said. “I can almost hear the Reagan statue pro­claiming it now: ‘Dr. Larnn, tear down this fence.’”

In addition to arguing that the fence wrongly sep­a­rates the campus and the quad, Feagan also believes it’s an eyesore.

“After all the rain last week, the fence started to rust and the for­merly-white curtain that wraps around the outside of the fence is starting to take on a rusty, iron-colored look,” he said.

In an email to the Col­legian, the administration’s chief admin­is­trative office Mitch Néné called the ’89ers claims “absurd” and “openly provocative, war­mon­gering speech.”  

To ease ten­sions over the fence, admin­is­trative offi­cials have announced a new weekly lottery contest, the winner of which will get to visit the Reagan statue. Starting fall semester, stu­dents will be able to put their name in the drawing on Monday, and on Friday the winner will be able visit the Reagan statue for five minutes under the super­vision of the Dean of Men, Buck Rogers.

But even with the oppor­tunity to visit the Reagan statue once a week, many stu­dents still dislike the fence.    

“Before spring break, I freely walked past the Reagan statue every day on my way to lunch,” said senior Dee Preston. “Then sud­denly, one night over the break, the fence just seemed to appear out of nowhere, and now I can’t see my friend Ronnie any more.”

Preston isn’t the only one the fence has barred from seeing a friend.

“I took a picture with Reagan on my visit to campus as a prospective,” freshman Earnest Freeman said. “Now I won’t be able to show the statue to my grandma when she visits at the end of the year.”

Feagan said he has tried to set up a meeting with Larnn 10 times, but so far all of his reques­tions have been ignored. He said he knows Larnn is busy working on the college’s next five year plan, which he plans to show to donors this summer, but believes Larnn should take the time to meet with him because of the over­whelming unpop­u­larity of the fence.

“I mean, I hate the wall, errr, the fence,” Feagan said, “but I think if I can sit down with Larnn and share the con­cerns of stu­dents with him, we can have a rational dis­cussion about how to improve con­di­tions on campus for everyone moving forward.”  

  • Camus53

    So the college that now wraps its arms around being a “christian school” whatever that means…other than a code word for some and an exclu­sionary term for others…a clever fund raising tool…should perhaps listen to the Pope himself whotold Dunald that it is better to build bridges than it is to build walls or fences for that matter. This fence says every­thing that Hillsdale has devolved into of late and also sug­gests every­thing it is not any longer!

    Is it any wonder when a recent ranking of col­leges that was just pub­lished showed Hillsdale…last…dead last among the 50 col­leges listed for rate of grad­u­ating it’s freshman classes.…with more than a third leaving the school before graduating…telling…telling indeed!