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February 15, 2001

Along with four students from Barnard College and New York University, the co-chair of Vassar Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) was arrested in New York City at a pro-Tibet protest after, dressed in corporate attire, infiltrating the British Petroleum Amoco offices in New York City. The action was part of an “International Day of Action Against BP Amoco” that involved similar protests in Denver, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Beijing. The protesters’ complaints against BP Amoco centered on the company’s investments in a Chinese oil company that planned to build an oil pipeline through Tibet, against the wishes of the Tibetan people.

Reaching a vice president’s office, said Ashley Spicer ’01, “We took off our suits, revealing our Students for a Free Tibet t-shirts and told the secretary we wanted to speak to the vice president about BP Amoco’s investments in China…. We declared we would not leave willingly until they left Tibet.” After blocking a doorway and chanting for two hours, the women were arrested. “Honestly,” said Spicer, “I’ve never heard five girls chant so loudly.”

Writing about the experience in The Miscellany News, she said that, being alone in a cell “encouaged deeper relflection about what had happened and why I had done what I had done…. Overall, because of our race, our age, our crime and the prestige of the colleges we attended, we were given a relatively cushy experience in jail compared to the majority of people who go to jail in our country, let alone those who are thrown in jail in Tibet and other countries under oppresive régimes…. As we were leaving, a sargeant ask us, ‘so was it worth it, girls?’ We looked him square in the eye and answered resolutely and honestly: ‘yes.’”

The Miscellany News

The Years