Three Students Arrested for Civil Disobedience

Ran Barton ’93

Copy Editor

January 29, 1991

Three Trinity students were arrested for civil disobedience during initial protest against the American attacks on Iraq last Wednesday. Distressed over the turn of events in the Persian Gulf, many Trinity students protested at the Hartford Federal Court House, starting early Thursday morning. Peter M. Hodgdon ’93, Sami T. Kitmitto ’93 and Jennifer B. Ingersoll ’94 were arrested and released Wednesday after posting bail.

Students started early, first gathering at Trinity before heading down to the Court House. Once there, the organizers presented students with the option of protesting from across the street, or engaging in civil disobedience. Those who chose civil disobedience met at the First Baptist Church where they again broke into two groups: one made up of those willing to be arrested, and the other as a support group for the first.

After instruction and explanation, the protesters arrived at the Court House doors at 8:30 and sat down, blocking the main door. After the main door was locked, the protesters moved to the alternate doors, and when those were locked, they again moved to the Court House garage doors.

After approximately two hours of sitting in front of different doors, the police arrived and informed the group that they would be arrested if they did not move, then proceeded to arrest all of them. All protesters cooperated with police and complied with all police requests.

The three were taken to a local courthouse, and were followed by Patricia A. Canavan ’91, David Friedman ’91 and Jessica E. Reinis ’91, whose task it was to see all the protesters through the legal procedures of the next few hours. At the courthouse, the students were booked, photographed, fingerprinted and held in detention cells.

They were eventually arraigned on charges of first-degree criminal trespassing, and though the judge released Mr. Hodgdon and Mr. Kitmitto on a ‘Promise To Appear,’ Ms. Ingersoll’s bond was set at $500. Without posting bail, she would have had to stay in jail. In order to raise funds, Allison C. Carey ’91, Deborah E. McBride ’93, Caroline M. Leopold ’91 and Eleanor L. Traubman ’91, all part of the support group, returned to Trinity and raised upwards of $280 from both students and professors.

Ms. Ingersoll was bailed out and eventually all three were welcomed back to Trinity. Ms. Ingersoll admitted she “didn’t really plan on getting arrested until the police arrived. I was very scared.”

Mr. Hodgdon centered on the simple need for each person to make their voice heard. “I believe that what we’re doing in the Gulf is wrong. I do not support it, and it is my responsibility to voice my opinion as loudly as possible in a democratic society.”

Actual reaction on campus was mixed, but nearly all students felt that the three deserved respect for how strongly they stated their opinions, even if they did not share them. Mr. Hodgdon is convinced that the “opposition grows by leaps and bounds with every hour and every minute.”

Mr. Kitmitto was quoted as saying, “If I had to have anything on my record, this is what I want it to be.” That sentiment confirms Mr. Friedman’s impressions as well. “I think it meant a lot to the individuals who were there.

“What they were trying to say is simply, ‘You have got to begin with yourself and if you don’t do something, can you really expect anyone else to?” As the war continues, so too does the ordeal of the three students, who are currently scheduled to appear in court on January 24 and 25.

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