Fire on the lawn!

By Emily Smith

During Tuesday’s lunch hour, a small group of students burned apathy. In effigy, that is.They were reacting to what they perceive as a general trend of apathy and neutrality toward political issues, but specifically the war in Iraq.

Students gathered shortly before 12:30, suspended the effigy from a coat rack and dribbled lighter fluid on it.

It was made of pants and a sweater (bearing a small American flag patch) stuffed with newspaper–or, as one student said, “He was stuffed with indifference.”

Its head-a carved pumpkin-had a label that read “Apathy II,” though at least one vocal participant wanted to name it Neutrality.

The day’s cold wind proved problematic: flaming wads of newspaper threatened to spread the fire.

“MacCares is going to protest!” an onlooker shouted.

Vice President for Student Affairs Laurie Hamre passed by en route to Weyerhaeuser, but said nothing.

Security Officer Robbie Seals approached the students and confiscated their lighter fluid. He did not threaten disciplinary action.

Nearby, students passed out Macalester Students for a Democratic Society’s Call to Strike. A sign by the scene read, “Impatience is a virtue.”

Students who planned the event chose Tuesday because it was the day that classes would have been cancelled in favor of anti-war action if the faculty had voted in favor and President Brian Rosenberg had approved it.

The date also coincided with a similar event a year ago, when some students burned an effigy named Apathy.

The effigy burned in just a few minutes, and students came out of the campus center, wondering aloud if they’d missed it.

Those who planned the event intended for it to be quick and fun. They didn’t expect to have a major effect, merely to draw some attention.

“We’re not going to end the war by burning an effigy, and we’re pretty conscious of that,” said Brendan Rogers ’10, an anti-war activist.