Cornell Profs Build Shanties

In a show of solidarity with students who were arrested after building pro-divestment shanties this fall, professors at Cornell mounted a similar protest last week.

More than a dozen Cornell professors nailed plywood and stretched plastic sheeting to build the two shanties, said a reporter for the Cornell Daily Sun.

The professors and their families staffed the structures for two days before security officers tore the shanties down Saturday night, said Cornell Assistant Professor Ronald F. King, who said he took part in the protest.

The protest aimed not only to protest Cornell's investments in South Africa, but also to challenge a court injunction that Cornell secured to limit the scope of political protests, the professor said."

"Our objective was, on the most obvious level, to run a major, visible anti-apartheid protest," King said.

"The other dimension is that the shanty is a visible symbol of South African apartheid, and university officials have declared that it is not a permissible symbol," he said.

Cornell last year secured an injunction that prohibits the use of shanties in protests. This fall, the university has used the court order to bring charges against 23 students who constructed shanties in connection with protests.

In contrast with the student protests, the action by the Cornell professors has prompted little response from the administration.

Cornell Dean Geoffrey V. Chester said that administrators "simply felt that the climate on campus would be much better if they did not enforce the injunction strictly."