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Georgetown protester chains self to statue

Who says student protest is dead?

Julia Shindel, a senior at Georgetown, chained herself to a statue of university founder John Carroll a few weeks ago in a three-student protest against lack of access to birth control on the Catholic university's campus.

Her story is told today in a podcast as part of a new series called "Say Something: College Life. One Student at a time." It's a new project of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

(We at the Post, of course, have Jenna Johnson, who chronicles student life and culture more or less full-time, in print and on the Campus Overload blog.)

Julia recounts a rather dreary eight hours, exposed to the elements ("I have never been so cold in my life") and to the comments of visiting parents, one of whom tells her, encouragingly, that Georgetown's stance is "truly medieval".

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By Daniel de Vise  |  June 24, 2010; 11:51 AM ET
Categories:  Students  | Tags: Georgetown University protest, Georgetown birth control protest, Georgetown student chained to statue, Georgetown student chains self to statue  
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Ms. Shindel certainly knew the Churches' stand on birth control before choosing to attend. Why would she expect birth control to be available? Sorry, but you'll have to go off campus to get it. I certainly disagree with the Catholic stance, but would not expect them to accomodate me on a campus administered by them.

Posted by: jckdoors | June 24, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I missed the point I guess? Regardless of religious beliefs, why would it be the university's resposibility to provide its students with birth control pills? Would you like fries and birth control with your education? Is she having a hard time going to a pharmacy like everyone else to get their meds?

Posted by: englundc | June 24, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

a) You chose to attend a PRIVATE JESUIT UNIVERSITY. If you feel a University's place is to provide open access and information about birth control, I am at a loss as to why Ms. Shindel and others in the Plan A: Hoyas for Reproductive Justice group chose to attend Georgetown. The Roman Catholic Church's stance on birth control is hardly new or secret.

I'm not saying I agree with that stance or that they shouldn't catch up with current times and medical realities (especially considering they have an associated medical school), but it would never occur to me to attend a Jesuit school and see open information on and access to birth control.

And *ahem* unlike people my age who were in college a mere 20 years ago, current students have the Internet at their disposal. The very reputable Mayo Clinic web site has plenty of information on the types of birth control - the rest should be discussed with your GYN, ladies, as there are medical side effects to most birth control.

b) Once you're outside of your cloistered university experience (and I use "cloistered" in both senses of the word, as this is Georgetown), you will have to buy your own birth control. Get used to it. There are a couple of pharmacies convenient to campus on Wisconsin Ave.

c) I looked it up online, the protest she mentioned was held on Saturday, March 27. It was, indeed, chilly. However, the protest started at noon. I find it difficult to believe that Ms. Shindel didn't have the opportunity to check a weather forecast, for all she complained about the cold.

True, it is never fun to sit still and on the ground when it's cold, but she had ample opportunity to provide for this situation. If she can not think that far ahead, I do wonder how she spent her time in higher education. Jesuits are generally known for the spreading of their massive erudition, so I find it difficult to believe that students there wouldn't understand that they should check weather reports before exposing themselves to the elements.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | June 24, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I used to think Georgetown students were intelligent.

Posted by: pundito | June 24, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

The protester has ever right to object to GU's and the Cat-o-lick church's stand on birth control and how they treat/view women. It's high time those old men in robes- who parade around with incense,chant and know nothing about sex(other than perhaps some of them abuse little boys) joined the 21st century!!

Posted by: lsf07 | June 24, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"The protester has ever right to object to GU's and the Cat-o-lick church's stand on birth control and how they treat/view women."

She also has the right to go to another school too.

I don't care if it's a Jesuit school or a public school, why is the school obligated to provide students birth control? Pregnancy isn't a disease, she can abstain or obtain BC on her own.

The protestor has all the access she needs to birth control, there's a CVS a couple miles away on McArthur. Sounds like she wants to be treated as an adult, but acts like a kid.

Should be funny to see her at her first real job, walking in and telling the boss she needs some BC pills and he\she has to provide them. Grow up.

Posted by: BEEPEE | June 24, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Five blocks East of the statue to which she chained herself, there is a CVS pharmacy that is open 24/7.

Posted by: TR2010 | June 24, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

The last refuge of scoundrels is a pro-life stance.

Posted by: perryneheum | June 24, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Time to let the middle ages be part of history. she should be able to get BC anywhere there is a health center, including GU's health center. If the rest of you want to be stuck in the middle ages that is your choice,but it doesn't mean others don't want to benefit from science. NEWS FLASH: the world is not flat!!

Posted by: lsf07 | June 24, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse


You're missing the point. I don't think any of us are stuck in the Middle Ages. I don't think most people agree with the Church's stance on birth control - it's outdated and short sighted, considering the breadth of STD's that can be minimized by condoms.

But these students chose to protest the lack of birth control at their private Roman Catholic college. That has got to be one of the largest wastes of youthful indignation I've ever seen.

Do I - and many Roman Catholics - think that the Church's stance on birth control is inane and dated? Yep. But that doesn't change the fact that they still believe in it and Rome doesn't look to be changing its' mind anytime soon. Also, Georgetown is very up front about the Student Health Center adhering to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, which is nationwide, not local. Contraception in that document is a big old no-no.

Do I agree with it? No. But would I expect anything less from a campus so steeped in Jesuit tradition? No.

This is not a school that hides its' religious affiliation, and their attitude on birth control. It is not new or shocking. That is the point - these kids are protesting something that is important to them, that almost any other campus in the country would provide to them (at significantly less tuition, to boot). It's as if they are looking for things to complain about.

If you want to discuss the medieval attitude of the RC Church on birth control (which I share with you, by the way), the On Faith section of this site will provide you plenty of opportunity.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | June 24, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

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