Saturday, October 3, 2009

G-20 Extra Credit

To be honest I had no idea G-20 was going to be in Pittsburgh until the first day of classes, when professors mentioned we may have a schedule change on the day of G-20. I also had no idea what G-20 was about. I knew it was important, I knew Obama and other world leaders would be here and I knew Pittsburgh would probably be chaotic.
Before I talk about the actual G-20, I want to bring up how disappointed I was with the way the University handled the event. The last minute class cancels or lack there of, should have been planned better. I would have liked to see Thursday and Fridays classes canceled. This way students that wanted to get out of the city could have done so on Wednesday.
Since I live off-campus, I took it upon myself to stay inside on Thursday and Friday...I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm just as curious as the nest Pitt Panther, but after hearing about people saving urine to throw at G-20 participants (or as close as they could get to that), and the possibility of huge, reckless riots, I felt the best thing for me to do was just stay home. So, consequently, my experience of G-20 was through YouTube videos and news stories. By choice, I refrained from getting caught in the first-hand G-20 madness. I did find that, once I finally left my house, several businesses on Baum Boulevard had been vandalized, including busted windows. From what I was told, Forbes Avenue had it's fare share of vandalized businesses as well. After looking at these, I immediately thought of the SuperBowl riots, and how similar the two had been. The only difference was, I felt totally different about them both. For some reason, I was inclined to be present, at least to watch, during the Steelers riots, but for the G-20 Summit, I had no incentive to even leave the house to watch. To me, the G-20 vandalism and disruptions seemed much more damaging than the SuperBowl celebrations. Maybe it was the difference in ideological motivation that made me feel differently about G-20--instead of celebrating with my friends outide, participating in the G-20 protests would require a strong political stance and willingness to independently protest.
Outside of protesting, I was told about several stories dealing with the unorganized manner in which police handled the crowds on campus. I heard students telling horror stories about being locked out of their dormrooms, all the way to students being gassed out of public buildings. From what I could gather, it seemed like miscommunication was the overwhelming problem on capus during the Summit. Groups of students were frequently misdirected around campus, by police, campus security, etc. I understand that the police's goal was to control the campus environment, but I've heard that the average students were often confused with protestors, which I strongly disagree with. Overall, I think G-20 was good for the city of Pittsburgh, but unfortunatley, there were mismanagements on campus that left a bad impression for many of the Pittsburgh students. However, for the city as a whole, I think the Summit was handeled well. I even read that the Summit generated $35 million for the city. Go Pittsburgh!

-Justin Lovett

No comments:

Post a Comment