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.”