Drowsy Hopkins startled to find police behind trees

January 29, 1993|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,Staff Writer

The student protesters stood outside of Shriver Hall with loud and urgent messages for the big shots from Washington.

"Racism Must End Now!"

"L.A. was a Symptom!"

But when it came time for class the demonstrators jammed their pickets into the lawn and disappeared.

"Quite a statement in itself," said Erin Chrvale, who works in the School of Continuing Studies.

That was civics in action yesterday on the Homewood campus of the Johns Hopkins University as the Democratic Caucus of the House of Representatives came to town to discuss the nation's economy.

"I think its fascinating," said one student. "Every third tree had a policeman hiding behind it."

The visit by Vice President Al Gore, Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, Budget Director Leon E. Panetta, White House chief of staff Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty and about 170 House Democrats to discuss the nation's economy brought quite a buzz to the usually drowsy campus.

In fact, it had 18-year-old Rachel Haugh jumping up and down.

"I'm so excited. I just followed a Secret Service agent across campus," said Ms. Haugh, an 18-year-old writing major from Norfolk, Va.

"You know how you can tell a Secret Service man? They all wear little matching pins and they have the coiled wire behind their ears."

Good or bad, it's just the kind of thing Hopkins needs, said Miriam Hoffman, a freshman literature major from New York City. "This campus is so inactive, the student body is so unaffiliated. Everybody comes to Hopkins to be a pre-something major."

Classes were canceled as certain buildings were searched by security men; a long yellow "Do Not Cross" police ribbon stretched around the outside of the Andrew White Athletic Center, where Mr. Gore gave a luncheon speech.

Serious-looking people with name tags were everywhere, some of them drinking coffee and talking into portable phones simultaneously.

In the lobby outside Shriver Hall auditorium, young men who described economics as "fun stuff," stood around for a critique of what they had heard in a big room filled with Washington politicians.

"I think half of them were sleeping and the rest were writing speeches for some other day," said Chris H. Gress, 20, an electrical engineering major. "But its good for Hopkins; we get our little logo on C-Span."

"Some students brought their resumes to pass out to congressmen," said Aaron G. Millstone, a 20-year-old economics major. "It was a lot of speeches with a lot of statistics."

The young friends then broke up their hobnobbing to attend a class on the black market economics of the cocaine trade.

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