Today marks the fourteenth day that the Darts team has spent camped outside of the Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex. The team of 12 members has not made much progress towards gaining a practice space within the complex. The sports coaches and school administration refuse to acknowledge their status as varsity athletes, and the subsequent protests have not changed their mentality. Faded picket signs and posters lie scattered in front of the main entrance. Slogans such as “Our bullseye lies within this building” and “Not all athletes are built like freight trains” can just barely be read on their propaganda material. The rhythmic chanting that echoed across campus has withered into a whisper, although popular student reception of ambient chanting has prompted the Ciampi community to launch an early morning Gregorian chanting workshop on the Hoval.
At the beginning of this event, the Darts team demanded to gain recognition by threatening to camp in front of Hart until their demands were met. This passive siege started with large numbers of protesters. After two days, the people who simply enjoy shouting left, leaving a small core of dedicated students. The numbers of this brave group have slowly decreased over the course of the first week. The only noticeable decrease in group size this week came this past Monday when the two self-proclaimed co-chairs of the club disappeared. Protestors report that the co-chairs entered the complex on Monday in an attempt to open dialogue with some of the head coaches. It is unclear if they have been detained or if they are simply lost in the labyrinth. Public Safety has declined to comment on its suspicious lack of concern about two missing students.
The presence of this force on campus comes at a time where students are particularly anxious about athletics. The destruction of the Field House, which may or may not finish by the time the Darts team’s siege concludes, has removed a key athletic venue from the campus. The Darts team, Bocce Ball team, Pickleball team, and others have all lost practice space that has been guaranteed to them for decades. The only other athletic space for the students that are not considered varsity athletes is the Estrogym in Loyola Hall, and the teams have deemed this space unsuitable for their purposes. No other fringe athletic team has taken a strong response to the College’s actions like the Darts team, and the worsening situation at the top of the Hill is hurting morale. A fishbowl discussion in Rehm Library is expected to appear in the near future, which will surely lead to a great deal of discussion and no results.