Students Hold ‘Ask Me’ Demonstration on the Tour Guide Path of Get Acquainted Day

Anna Perry '21 speaks to a student as part of the "Ask Me" protest (Photo Mary Frasier/The Gettysburgian)

Anna Perry ’21 speaks to a student as part of the “Ask Me” protest along the tour pathway of Get Acquainted Day (Photo Mary Frasier/The Gettysburgian)

By Gauri Mangala, News Editor

During Get Acquainted Day (GAD), Saturday, Apr. 13, a group of students stood on campus outside of Servo and all throughout the pathway of the tours holding signs stating “Ask me about the Gettysburg Experience” with specific statements of their personal experience, like being a woman in the economics department or being a transgender student on campus.

The students handed out pamphlets with the mission statement and demands of the protest, read the pamphlet here:

Protest Pamphlet 1

Protest Pamphlet 2

Students also held petitions to sign and have gotten signatures both from current and prospective students.

Anna Perry ’21, who held a sign saying “Ask me about the trans experience at Gettysburg,” said “I’m protesting the false narrative that GAD day gives to prospective students. When I came here on GAD day as a prospective student, I thought that I was going to be coming into a welcoming community and that’s why I chose to attend this college over other colleges and then I got here, and it was a completely different story. Narratives like mine are excluded from GAD day and its unfair to marginalize students who are weighing their options. So, that’s the main reason. I’m also here because I created a list of demands that I stand very passionately by that are based on my personal experiences and observations from bias reports, from inadequate representation in faculty and administration, and from unfair hiring practices. ”

A student holding a sign beckoning prospective students and their families to ask about her experience. (Photo by Joshua Wagner/The Gettysburgian)

A student holding a sign beckoning prospective students and their families to ask about her experience. (Photo by Joshua Wagner/The Gettysburgian)

In addition to the tour pathway, students were also stationed around Stine Lake and other main pathways in the center of campus, sharing their experiences.

The group plans to take their demands to the college and ask for a more diverse and inclusive Gettysburg.

Vanessa Martinez ’19, the media liaison for the group, said, “We’re coming all together just for different things. We see that Get Acquainted Day is the day where Gettysburg College talks a lot about different programs for diversity and things going on and really promotes these programs, but at the same time these programs are not as robust as they could be. So right here we are together, to really speak about our experiences that aren’t necessarily talked about or are part of the marketing. Just really getting to tell students like ‘hey here we are and here we are speaking about our own experiences, and we want you to know about these experiences — not because we don’t want you to come here, but because we want you to be informed about what exactly is happening on campus and how we exactly feel about it.’ We’re encouraging students to be a part of this if they decide to come here and also for them to know they have a community here. They have a community that although were all different and we all have diverse experiences but we can all come together in this moment to really speak about the need to highlight these experiences and the need to really encourage these experiences through the different demands that we are making.”

Dean of Students Julie Ramsey said in an email, “Students are raising some important issues that reflect their experience on campus and doing so in a respectful manner that engages fellow students as well as prospective students and parents.”

She added, “Of course, I wish that students didn’t experience frustration with the college, but I deeply respect their desire to express  their concerns and their ideas for changes they want to see happen.  My sense is that students feel that we listen to their concerns,  but things don’t always change as quickly as they would like.  I hope that we can continue the conversation with them about their concerns and keep working to address them as directly as possible.”

Director of Photography Mary Frasier contributed to this report.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon with a quote from Julie Ramsey. (-B. Pontz)

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Author: Gauri Mangala

Gauri Mangala '21 currently serves as the News Editor for the Gettysburgian, a position she has held since May of 2018. Gauri is originally from Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Aside from her work with the Gettysburgian, Gauri is the treasurer for the Owl and Nightingale Players. She hopes to study International Affairs and Anthropology during her time at Gettysburg.

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4 Comments

  1. I really applaud the students for this and I agree that the college tries to paint its best picture for GAD just like every other college/university during days like these. At the same time I saw two students on campus arguing over a certain issue. Not even conversing, arguing. This is a problem because if you want people to be an ally to your cause, you don’t shame them. You don’t make them feel bad. You try to understand each other’s views. You invite them to and event, and they invite you to an event. Lets try to understand each other first. Lets look at Daryl Davis for inspiration on how to handle different views.

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  2. Anne Perry ’21 needs to transfer to another institution of higher learning where she (?) can be happier.

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    • To the people saying that these students need to transfer to where they are “happier”:

      Acknowledge your privilege. Not everyone has the resources to transfer.

      Western education was not made for marginalized people. Western education was made by and for the wealthy, white man. Although education has become racially integrated it is still not a system for marginalized peoples. Racial integration is not sufficient. We need gender, race, LGBTQA+, socioeconomic, citizenship status, ethnic, and neurodiverse representation.

      To suggest an easy solution is to forget where you stand in life. We may all live on the same planet but our realities are more different than you imagine.

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  3. Current student here just wanting to point out that this protest is about issues beyond just what GAD is showing prospective students. While these issues are hidden – as would be expected on a day where a lot of students attending are either in the final stages of choosing their college, or have already done so – they are often neglected to the point where we have to take action like this. The issue goes beyond us not being happy with how things are here, its that despite our efforts, the college does little to nothing to improve upon what we have brought up.

    Realistically speaking, the college can do a lot more if they chose to even recognize some of the issues at hand. There have been multiple instances of issues within the bias reporting system (as mentioned in the pamphlet shown above) not only of ignoring issues, but of showing bias within themselves. From a personal perspective I’ve seen how clearly the bias system favors, to speak realistically if bluntly, the rich, white, heterosexual side of campus. I’ve seen bias incidents against fraternities get swept under the rug, and even outright ignored, when those issues pertain to homophobia, islamophobia, racism, etc. Meanwhile, when a member of the queer community says something about fraternities (granted using violent language, but also not realistically and on their private social media page) they are hounded for months, forced to jump through multiple hoops, and made a villain out of it. So people who are being treated poorly based on their sexuality, gender, race and religion are given nice words, but no actions, meanwhile someone acts ‘biased’ against a fraternity (and for the record, being a fraternity is not an ‘identity’ or means to be biased against like those mentioned above) gets hounded and harassed by the people who are, by the college’s words, supposed to be there for us. We’ve even had issues with the man who runs the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities being biased against the LGBTQ+ community, and outright transphobic, issues which have been completely ignored for months as of now.

    Even outside of the bias issues, the college has a tendency to ignore its issues up until their reputation is at risk. The biggest example of this in my time here thus far is when Hanson Hall was found to have black mold in it – over spring break after part of the freshman population, myself included, had been living there for an entire semester – and our living situation was disrupted as a result, with many of us having to stay in hotels so they could fix it mid-semester. I myself have lasting issues which my time in the black mold infested building has been attributed to. The college acknowledged that something happened, but was not going to give the students affected any compensation, only taking minor action when the student senate began to discuss suing the college. Even then, we got a $250 payment (when housing costs ~6,000) and ‘priority housing’ for the next year.

    These issues have happened in the past year and a half, and more has happened before I came here, things I wasn’t made aware of until I was already here. Our goal was to make sure that incoming students are aware of what’s happened and how things work, rather than the ideal that the college paints for one weekend. They should know the reality of what they’re getting into, rather than what the college wants them to think.

    In response to John Deere, while that is a nice sentiment, it is not a realistic one given the situation we are in. If we could all sit down and solve our issues together, demonstrations like this wouldn’t be necessary. But the reality is, despite our best efforts, these are the kind of things that need to happen for change to occur. We’ve tried inviting administrators, faculty and staff to our events, and more often then not we get a “this was a nice event, you spoke well,” and “we’ll look into it” only for nothing to happen. We get pretty words, but no actions to back them up, so we instead chose to take action ourselves.

    In response to what Dave Riechert said, a lot of us see this as beyond our personal happiness, and recognize that even if we leave this campus to find a potentially better place, there are going to be so many students like us who are going to end up in the same situation all over again. While we’re aware that there are places we could be happier, we also recognize that if we do nothing here, Gettysburg isn’t going to get better for those who don’t realize how things are before coming here. We recognize that we’re not the only ones who have been and will be in this situation and as such, we’re doing this for past and future students as much as we’re doing it for ourselves.

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