Silent Protest Occurs During President’s Medal for Science and Innovation

2 min read

Rajsi Rana ’26

News Editor

On Feb. 28, 2024 Trinity College awarded its first President’s Medal for Science and Innovation to Eric R. Fossum. This event included a Presidential Distinguished Lecture, delivered by Freeman Hrabowski III. During this event, a silent protest occurred, comprised of students who walked in and sat at the front of the Washington Room. Protestors held signs that read “Ceasefire Now,” “Call out Colonization” and similar messages.

During the introduction of the event, President Joanne Berger-Sweeney quickly commented on the protest. “I recognize the people protesting here, but I also recognize Eric Fossum.” Hrabowski, during the Distinguished Lecture, made a few remarks about the protest as well, discussing the importance of protests and freedom of expression. “I want to take a moment and acknowledge the students who are expressing their truth and their concern.”

His words regarding such protests incited a few questions from the audience. One audience member asked, “I would like to ask your take on social activism in American colleges… is it a sign of critical thinking or its absence?” Hrabowski answered by emphasizing the importance of student activism. “I think it is a sign of a few things: people are thinking about issues and caring about people different from themselves.” Hrabowski elaborated, stressing the importance of ‘civil’ protests. Another audience member asked, “When do you believe showing unrest, being disobedient or challenging authority and administration is appropriate?” Hrabowski said, “One of the values we need to think about is human life. When we have violence in a protest, we do have that challenge of human life being at risk.”

As guests entered the Washington Room prior to the start of the event, they were handed flyers that listed The Trinity Student Coalition for Justice in Palestine’s list of urgent demands as well as a QR code that displayed resources, updates and the full list of demands.

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