On the evening of Feb. 15, a large group of Lewis & Clark students physically picked up the bus shelter previously located across from the graduate campus entrance and carried it from Gate 3, lower Griswold, where it had been moved, back to Gate 6. Campus Safety drove alongside the students, but did not intervene.
Students felt urged to mobilize after a video of the bus shelter being moved by Facilities was posted on social media. The shelter had reportedly served as a hub of student life for the LC community.
“It felt like they had robbed us a little bit,” Liv Ladaire ’24 said. “It felt like an invasion of our cultural center.”
Ladaire and her friends decided to organize an 8:30 p.m. vigil where attendees were instructed to wear all black and bring candles. Ladaire posted a flier on her story advertising the vigil.
That evening, around 20 students gathered at the bus shelter’s original location and told “sweet stories” and memories about the bus stop. They ended the gathering with a game of “down by the banks.”
“We were just reminiscing and making lighthearted fun of the situation, even though underlying, we did feel really sad,” Ladaire said. “In that sense, it was a very wholesome gathering.”
At 10 p.m., another wave of LC students showed up at the bus stop. Various other LC students had shared Ladaire’s idea to organize, and a second event had been scheduled for that evening. This group, however, had different goals.
According to Ladaire, a student with a megaphone showed up and immediately took charge. The student, along with around 20 others, went on a mission to find the location of the bus shelter. They returned with a call to action: The bus shelter had been relocated at lower Griswold, but they needed help moving it.
A large group of students marched towards the shelter, physically picked it up and began carrying it uphill. While the group took turns, only around 15 students were carrying it at a time.
Ladaire was not surprised that students mobilized for this issue.
“It was a very clear injustice, they took our bus stop and we want it back,” Ladaire said. “It was a very easy entry point into protesting what people were upset about … it was an easy way to mobilize.”
The bus shelter was placed back in its original location, and students began celebrating, both on social media and in-person. One LC student climbed and stood on the domed roof of the structure. The group eventually dispersed later that night. The structure was removed once again by Facilities the next morning.
Both on social media and in-person, the reaction to the evening’s actions remained mixed. A number of students were dismayed that LC students rallied so quickly for this issue, but have failed to do the same for other causes in the past.
Adelle Kelly ’23, a member of the Prison Abolition Club and Feminist Student Union, believed that the energy displayed that evening could have been re-directed towards more important issues in need of a large student voice, such as the strike organized by the Bon Worker’s Union.
“My perspective began being very, very upset and feeling embarrassed to even be part of a campus that the largest gathering that we’ve had is because of the structure of a bus stop being moved,” Kelly said.
On Feb. 18, Vice President of Student Life Robin Holmes-Sullivan held a public forum at 4 p.m. in J.R. Howard Hall regarding the bus shelter removal. Associated Student Body (ASB) President Sarah Lind-MacMillan sent out an email inviting students to attend, also reposting a screenshot of it to the ASB Instagram story.
“This is an opportunity for students to engage in a dialogue with Robin about the bus stop and student community spaces,” the email stated. “Robin hopes to work together with students to find a solution that will work for the entire LC community (students, faculty, staff, neighbors, etc.). We hope this will be a productive space and allow student voices to be heard and start finding solutions.”
A number of international students were present at the forum, including Lila Khammash ’23. The shelter had served as a hub for the international community on campus, many of whom reported meeting close friends at the shelter.
Khammash opened the conversation by expressing a desire for a structure to replace the bus shelter.
“We don’t want much, the only thing we need is a covered structure where we can actually sit, right where the bus stop was,” Khammash said. “I don’t think it needs much planning.”
Holmes-Sullivan responded to the request with a resounding “Done.”
During the hour-long forum, students expressed a variety of feelings with Holmes-Sullivan and Assistant Dean of Student Engagement and Executive Director of Career Center Rocky Campbell. One common sentiment was that students were frustrated that administration had not communicated with them regarding the bus stop removal.
Holmes-Sullivan said she chalked the night’s actions to “students taking some control back.”
According to Holmes-Sullivan, both she and Rocky were unaware of Facilities’ plan to remove the shelter. The bus stop had reportedly been decommissioned a long time ago, and a work order had been filed for it to be removed months ago.
While not explicitly stated, student behavior at the bus stop had been a source of concern by LC. Students often gathered at the shelter to drink and smoke marijuana or cigarettes. According to Holmes-Sullivan, members of the Palatine Hill neighborhood had been complaining about the noise and student behavior for years.
However, Holmes-Sullivan remained open to finding a student space on campus. The VPSL proposed forming a small committee with student representatives, dedicated to solving the issue. The committee would work with Campbell.
In addition, she revealed that Student Rights & Responsibilities would be reviewing the actions that took place on the evening of Feb. 15 and subsequently determine if the LC’s Student Code of Conduct had been violated.