April 25, 2007

This Week in History

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On April 29, 2005, eight students, who came to be known as the “Redbud Eight,” shut down Day Hall in protest of a proposed 176-spot parking lot at University Ave., Willard Way and Lake Street, then home to Redbud Woods.
The protest began when three students met with then President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 in his office in Day Hall to voice their concerns about the value of the woods and their significance to campus sustainability. Six hours later, a total of eight students faced citations for resisting arrest and trespassing.
According to The Sun, once in Lehman’s office, five of the students chained themselves together in a circle using PVC piping. The other three students provided support. During this time, various members of both the student and Ithaca community sat in the Day Hall driveway, blocking the way of a police car holding two of the offending students. The protest was accompanied by a “Rally for Redbud,” which relocated to the lobby of Day Hall, singing the Alma Mater.
The group within the office delivered a statement of demands via cell phone, expressing its willingness to remain until Lehman met these demands, The Sun reported.
The five demands were as follows: protection of the Redbud Woods by a joint committee of students, faculty and community representatives, no new parking lots constructed on current green spaces, a public apology from Lehman to the city of Ithaca for “three years of strong-arming the city,” a public endorsement of Ithaca zoning restrictions and complete amnesty for all Redbud activists.
Susan Murphy ’73, vice president of student and academic services, stated in response to the protest, “When it comes to the parking lot, we are not changing our position. We believe in the design of the parking lot as part of the West Campus Residential Initiative.”
Despite the drastic efforts of the Redbud Eight, the parking lot was constructed.