Sledgehammer-wielding Dartmouth College students, saying they want to restore "pride and sparkle" to their campus green, today destroyed a shantytown that was erected on the campus to protest apartheid.
The group called itself "The Dartmouth Committee to Beautify the Green Before Winter Carnival," an annual campus festival scheduled for next month, and argued that the shantytown "does not constitute an allowable protest."
Frank Reichler, a Dartmouth senior and publisher of the Dartmouth Review, an off-campus newspaper funded by national conservative groups, said the Review supported the action and paid for the rental of a truck to cart off the wood.
Dartmouth spokesman Rick Adams said two students were sleeping in the shanties at the time of the 3 a.m. incident, but there were no injuries.
The group of about 15 students managed to knock the walls out of three of the four shanties before campus police broke up the attack.
Adams said there were no arrests and Dartmouth is looking into the incident but plans no disciplinary action at this time.
The shanties were first erected in November in an effort to bring pressure on the college to divest its $63 million in holdings in companies that do business in South Africa.
Students had been sleeping in the shanties almost every night since they were built and the administration had allowed the shacks to remain in place "as an expression of free speech," Adams said.