Onlookers flock to naked demonstration

On a chilly Wednesday afternoon, 18 unclothed Geneseo students arranged themselves into a peace sign on the College Green in a demonstration dubbed "Naked for Peace."

The April 30 event drew over a hundred observers at 1:30 p.m.

Senior Tori DiPietro, a member of the naked peace sign, called it, "An injection of peace into the daily conundrum," and hoped that people would recognize it as, "an artistic expression of what's important."

In a meeting on Monday, April 28 to discuss the event, participants said the sign was not intended to protest any specific conflict but rather to promote awareness and discussion of peace and what an individual would do to achieve it.

The idea dates back to 2002, when artist Donna Sheenan and 50 of her friends laid nude to form the word "PEACE" in California. Since then, groups around the world have followed suit.

Sophomore John Whelehan first suggested the idea to the now-defunct group Students for a Peaceable Solution in Iraq last semester, where it received a mixed response. He then started organizing the event independently.

"For people to step out of their comfort zone…really proves that they're committed to peace," said Whelehan

He first ran the idea by Dean of Students Lenny Sancilio.

"As far as I can tell, it's protected political expression," Sancilio said. "We have a group of students who want to take a stand on something - I'm supportive of that."

Sancilio said the administration and University Police were made aware of the plans for the demonstration and decided not to interfere.

President Christopher Dahl and Vice President for Student and Campus Life Robert Bonfiglio were unavailable for comment.

Participating students remained naked and in the shape of a peace sign for over 10 minutes, to the periodical cheers of their spectators.

"I think it's awesome," said sophomore Bethan Maher, who observed the demonstration. "I don't think there's enough of this at Geneseo."

"I'm shocked that there's not police here already," said senior Nick Johnson.

Sophomore Nick Crider shared the opinions of many students in his surprise that "they really did it…and it's pretty sweet, I'm not going to lie."