The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 9th

University Day ProtestWas a Call to Action,Not a Callous Disruptio


I am writing in response to the editorial of Oct. 17 ("Off on the Wrong Foot") and Dr. Richard Smith's letter on Oct. 19 "Chants of Protesters Disrupted Ceremony, Damaged Their Cause," both of which shared the same view: The housekeepers' protest on University Day alienated the very people they needed to convert.

Both authors warned darkly that the support for the housekeepers would be taken away if they continued to make trouble. I find this attitude disturbing, because in essence it says: "We sympathize with you, but only as long as you play by our rules."

The chancellor may be new, but the administration remains largely the same. If the University community is truly sympathetic to the housekeepers' cause, why, then, after all these years, are they still poorly paid and badly treated? Why weren't there undergraduates and faculty members chanting alongside the housekeepers and graduate students?

"Genuine goodwill" is fine, but it only goes so far. If it is not backed up with action, it amounts to nothing more than benign neglect.

I, too, am uncomfortable with disruption and protest. But we shouldn't blame the protesters for our own discomfort. I take my unease for what it is: a warning from my conscience that I should do more.

Real sympathy requires action.

Robert C. Spirko

Teaching Fellow

English Department


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