|All Sources > The Manitou Messenger (DA-MM) > The Manitou Messenger (1916-2014) > 1969 > No. 20, Vol. 82|
'Vigil' occupies Olaf Administration Building
Author: Anne Rosen
About 20 people assembled in the St. Olaf administration building at 3:00 p.m. November 12. They were there to begin an all night "Vigil for Peace," the purpose of which came into question and under fire several times during the evening.
Most of the group's problems lay in its lack of unity, not only in agreeing on its purpose, but also in deciding the means by which to achieve it. The original plans for the vigil were to stay in the administration building until 5:00 p.m., at which time it would move to Boe Chapel, where people were authorized to spend the night. Apparently, however, the clause about moving to Boe was added for the benefit of those who didn't want to spend the night in the administration building.
The organizers were going to try to remain there in order to get a result from the efforts of their vigil, by making the college issue a concrete moral statement about Vietnam. Although they voted to move to the chapel at about 7:00, the vigilants did stay in the building at least long enough to informally present their demands to President Sidney Rand.
The president came out and made a statement at about 4:00 at the request of Mark Schultheiss. Rand said that the college as an institution could not make a statement on Vietnam because individuals with varying opinions comprise that institution. He said, however, that he would talk to the Board of Regents when they meet on December 5, and ask them to make a statement.
The group did not have his permission to stay in the building, but he said he would use no force to evict them. However, since it had been stated that the vigil was to move to Boe, he said that if the group refused to move, it would be defying him and would have lied to him.
After Rand's statement, people argued for about an hour about whether or not to stay in the administration building. They finally took a vote and left, but some were disgusted at their action when they got over to Boe.
A meeting was held in the front of the chapel at about 7:20, and the group talked about having another, more effective, confrontation with the administration. The discussion went on and on—about getting the administration, the Board of Regents, and St. Olaf College to take a stand on moral issues in general, about how to confront those groups, and about how to get them to accept the demands.
At 8:30 everyone went over to listen to Clark MacGregor in the science center, to question him, and to invite him to the vigil. He did go over to Boe afterwards, but he said he would not discuss politics in a house of worship. He prayed silently for a few minutes and left.
Later the group passed a resolution with which to formally confront the administration. They decided to ask Rand to speak at the 1:00 p.m. rally on Friday, and to make a moral statement on the war. They also decided to give a copy of their new statement to the Board of Regents.
The 25 people who spent the entire night there went to breakfast about 7:00 a.m.