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Political Science Professors Speak on the COF Protest

After attending part of the COF Protest on Monday Dec. 8, Professors Petros Vamvakas, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Adam Silver, Assistant Professor of Political Science offer their comments.

Vamvakas teaches a class on street democracy, which, he says, is a popular voice within a political structure. This voice is often found to be democratic. When politics are brought to the sidewalk, Vamvakas says, they become very charged and very non-compromising.

“Within the context of the American political system, protest is one way of political participation… beyond voting and writing letters… Protesting is part of the popular voice…[a] part of the American experience,” Vamvakas says.

When these other areas of political participation do not get the desired results, that is when protests occur, Vamvakas says.

Vamvakas  says he believes that the protest was a “great way for students to engage in an open forum.”

Silver referred to the protest as a ‘rally’ because, he says, “It’s like…a call to arms in a way, or a call to voices.”

Silver said he thought that the COF protest was a very impassioned, well organized rally, and the protesters got their point across effectively and hopefully started a conversation within the community.

“It all depends what happens afterwards,” Silver says.

In response to the protest, Emmanuel held a discussion on Wednesday December 10. Silver was in attendance at the discussion.

“The discussion…was a positive step, and hopefully we’ll have more productive and constructive conversations when we get back…We can have conversations but what we do, that’s the important thing.”

Both Silver and Vamvakas commented on the discomfort brought about by protests.

Vamvakas says that an ‘uncomfort zone’ is typical of any protest.

Silver remarked, “[I] heard some people [say] ‘oh I’m uncomfortable’…I think that’s a good thing. I think movements or protests or rallies of this nature make us confront ourselves and check…what is our roll in this…It promotes self reflection.”


Abbi Matheson is a staff writer for The Hub. E-mail her at

Posted by on December 13, 2014. Filed under Around Campus,Colleges of the Fenway,Faculty. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.