Fundraiser puts students, staff in slammer

On the sunny afternoon of Tuesday, April 15, the caution tape was sealed around chemistry professor Cristina Geiger and physics professor Kurt Fletcher, the first two prisoners in the Livingston CARES Jailbreak on the College Green.

"We got in contact with a bunch of well-known people on campus - professors, faculty and students - and we are jailing them," said organizer Amanda Flannery, a junior. "Anybody walking by can donate to have them bailed out or kept in jail."

The prisoners and prison-keepers held jars and campaigned for their respective causes among the passing students. Every 15 minutes, participants checked the distribution of funds and determined the fate of those imprisoned. Though the money was divided between jars, all of it went to Livingston CARES, supporting the efforts to raise funds for future Spring Break work trips.

Another organizer, junior Laura Lonski, is personally excited about the cause.

"We've all been on trips [to Mississippi] through Livingston CARES and benefited from other people fundraising for us," Lonski said. "We know what a wonderful experience it is when you do get to go on the trip, so if we provide the opportunity for more people to go, that would be awesome."

The jailed volunteers shared the enthusiasm.

"I just hope somebody comes and gets me out," Geiger said. Unfortunately, as she handed out her own dollar for a passerby to throw in the bail jar, he dropped it in the other to keep her locked away.

"This is my first time in jail, but I think I'm ready to do the hard time," Fletcher said.

But as one of his students approached, the first of the bribes emerged.

"I've only graded the first four questions on your test," Fletcher said to the physics student.

"I'm not sure if they're going to bail me out or try and keep me here," he said. "If they keep me here until Thursday, they won't have to take their exam."

The Jailbreak is an on-going event and wraps up on Thursday at 3:35 p.m. Geiger and Fletcher were the first in a series of other prominent people on campus.

Livingston CARES chair and GOLD program Director Tom Matthews, senior class President Niki Gaiter, anthropology professor Barbara Welker, philosophy professor Larry Blackman, Livingston Hall Residence Director Ben Delozier, Assistant Dean for Judicial Affairs Tamara Kenney, and six others all volunteered as prisoners, as did several University Police officers to stand guard.