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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New semester at N.C. State begins with Hofmann Forest protest

Posted by on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 7:13 AM

Receiving cheers from several onlookers and strange looks from others, about 60 people protested the sale of the Hofmann Forest and marched across the N.C. State campus Monday afternoon. Their destination: Chancellor Randy Woodson’s Office.

Shortly after 1 p.m. the group of students, faculty members, alumni and other people enraged by the sale of the forest entered Holladay Hall, the building in which Woodson’s office is located, wielding a petition with more than 11,000 signatures calling for university administrators to stop the sale.

“Save the forest! Save the trees! Chancellor Woodson, won’t you please!,” protestors chanted outside of Woodson’s office.

Woodson, who was reportedly in a meeting, did not come out of his office to greet the protestors, who were crammed in the hall outside his door. But his staff did take the petition, which was more than 1,000 pages long.

Upon hearing that Woodson was not going to come out of his office, Andrew Payne a former N.C, State student body president and member of the UNC Board of Governors, prompted his fellow protestors to chant louder. “He will hear us through the door,” Payne said.

Payne was among several impromptu speakers who led a rally in the Brickyard, a central gathering place for N.C. State students, before the protest moved Woodson’s office.

“I was once a member of the Chancellor’s Circle, the people who give the most money to the school. No more!” Payne said over the cheering of fellow protestors. “I said, ‘Screw you!’” And if Dean Watzin goes ahead with the sale of the Forest, then she can get the hell out!”

Payne and other speakers accused the university of betraying its mission to students and to protecting the environment.

“I’m not a protestor,” said Jim Steward, an 81-year-old alumnus of NC State who spoke at the rally. “I’ve never protested anything in my life, but this is wrong. It’s greed over foresight.”

At its height, the protest was about 90 people strong.

It took place in conjunction with another protest staged at Deppe Park in the Hofmann Forest, which drew about 75 people, according to Protest Organizer Ron Sutherland.

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