At 1:58 yesterday afternoon, rising College junior Zev Rosen stood in the middle of College Green reading Peter Singer's Writings on an Ethical Life aloud.
But nobody seemed to be listening.
Rosen was taking part in a mock filibuster to protest Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's (R-Tenn.) opposition to the use of the filibuster in the Senate.
The sparsely attended efforts at Penn, organized by rising College senior Daniel Mims, were inspired by an earlier and more successful filibuster protest at Princeton that started April 24.
Princeton students, staff and community members spoke for over 380 continuous hours in protest outside of the Frist Campus Center at the university.
Princeton students then traveled to Washington, where they continued their filibuster in front of the Capitol building with the help and support of numerous political figures, including Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Jon Corzine (D-N.J).
Mims first heard about the Princeton protests from his brother, a Princeton student who has been present for almost all of the Princeton filibuster. Mims' brother has been working to instigate similar protests at other schools and successfully inspired him to start one at Penn.
"The right of senators to filibuster is essential to prevent the wedding of constitutionally separated branches of government," Daniel Mims said.
Daniel got approval from the University and brought a microphone and speakers to College Green. He was planning on filibustering from noon on Tuesday until 6 p.m. Wednesday, although unlike their Princeton counterparts, the Penn protesters took the night off.
Mims said that speakers stopped by throughout the day to read or talk for a few minutes.
Mims had sent out two e-mails to the Penn College Democrats saying, "Anyone and everyone in support of the right to filibuster is welcome to speak about most anything and everything."
The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin and the lyrics to "Hit Me Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears were among the works read.
Mims, who is working in Philadelphia this summer, blamed the end of the semester for the small number of protesters. However, he said that education and spreading awareness were secondary goals of the filibuster.
Mims said that the main goal of the Penn filibuster is "to call [Pennsylvania Sen.] Arlen Specter. It's hard because his number is often busy, but we keep trying."
Mims had set up a table with Specter's phone number and a sample script, in case a student actually got through to the Republican senator, who is considered a possible swing vote on the filibuster issue.
"I think this is important even if there's a lack of turnout because it's important for students to be informed," said rising Wharton junior Brandon Celestin, who stopped by the Penn filibuster.
John Pollack, an English graduate student who was playing Frisbee on College Green yesterday, did not know too much about the filibuster protests but said, "College campuses are a good place to be protesting."Comments powered by Disqus
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