Interviewer: Please introduce yourself.
Hunter: My name is Hunter MacConnell I am a student at Georgia State University
I: Why were you going to the capitol building when you did?
H: I’ve gone to the capitol building a few times, and both of them were for protests aginst the HB51 campus rape bill.
I: Can you explain what that bill is?
H: It’s a bill that would force faulty at campuses across Georgia to mandatorily report… I forget the exact word, just to mandatorily report felonies to the campus, and then the campus would have to report them to the police, therefore entangling the victims of the felonies in working with the police instead of being able to go through the campus for justice.
I: What was your role in these hearings?
H: Just sitting in and watching. Both times I worse stuff that signified I was harshly against the bill.
I: Did you know where to go for the hearing that you were there for?
H: Both of them I knew where to go, but actually getting to them was difficult.
I: How did the space of the hearing feel?
H: It was… cramped, very very cramped. There wasn’t enough space for everybody who actually went to the hearings to sit down, which is partially on account of there being so many protesters and media people there. But both times I had to stand up in the back to even get a chance to see what was going on.
I: To you personally, did it seem like a lot of people were there?
H: Yeah there were a ton of people at both of them but there weren’t, or wasn’t, enough space in either room to house everybody.
I: How did that lack of space make you feel?
H: It made it really difficult and it made me… I guess just feel cramped and like I was kind of stuck where I was. I had to stand in front of the door the second time that I went because there wasn’t enough space, and if I stood anywhere further up I’d be standing in front of groups of protesters.
I: Did the feeling of the space matter to you as that role of a protester?
H: A little bit? I thought it was… I probably would have stood up regardless, even though it was like a two hour long hearing both times, just because I want to make my presence known, but there were plenty of other people there that were very clearly not comfortable with having to stand for such a long period of time, and there were a few people who had to sit on the floor in front of the door just to last the whole two hour hearing.
I: Did you notice anything specific about the acoustics or the visuals of the space?
H: The visuals were a little messed up. It was set up so that there were three different sections of visitors and protesters and media and people who were called to talk that day. And there were, at least the second time, there were two pillars between the rows on both sides and they completely blocked off view for a lot of seats of any of the house members and definitely of the speaker at the time.
I: wWere you able to see the speakers from a sitting or standing perspective?
H: I could see them when I was standing, but there wasn’t enough space for me to sit down in a seat, so if I had sat on the ground there was no way. Even if I had sat in some fo those seats, like I said there were pillars blocking view of like the entire house and of the speaker.
I: Were you able to hear the speakers?
H: Yeah I could hear the speakers relatively fine, they pumped it through two sets of speakers that were above the chamber but they didn’t have ones on the sides, like behind those pillars. Those were like the main problem with seating there, was that you wouldn’t, it would be harder to see for sure and to hear because of the placement of the speakers.
I: Going back to the beginning of your experience at the capitol, can you describe how it was entering the capitol building?
H: The first time was easier, I had somebody to go there with me and show me the ropes. The second time entering was a lot more difficult. The outsides of the building that the hearing was at the second time, there are like little plaques next to the doors that say whether they’re for public entrance or not public entrance, but the sign that says public entrance and the one that says not are the same color and the same size and next to the same type of door in that building. So I ended up wandering into the wrong building the first time just because it was the first door that had a differnt sign on it that said public entrance, and then the security guard told me , after I had gone through the checkpoint, that I was in the wrong building and I needed to go back out and back around to the other side to enter the right space.
I: And did that make you feel welcome as a protester?
H: Not particularly. It was… I… it was… I was anxious when I entered the second time, mostly because of that, I couldn’t find a door and the one that I had gone into was the wrong one and the only other place that looked like, from a distance, it was the right place to go required you to talk to a security guard through the loudspeaker because it was a handicap entrance. And that didn’t even lead directly into the building, it led into a small courtyard between all the buildings, so I didn’t really understand why I needed to go through, or why I needed to leave the first building and go through the second when there was clearly a courtyard that led to more than one building.
I: As a protester, what did you think about the space of the capitol building as a whole?
H: The outside of the capitol building is very clearly not designed for groups of people to be. It’s very clearly designed as just a building the middle of the city, which makes protesting outside of the capitol difficult and protesting inside the capitol building in those rooms is difficult, as well just because of how small they usually end up being and the amount of people that go overflowing the room, you not managing to get in because of that and even within the building the numbering of the rooms was not laid out in a way that makes it understandable. I ended up wandering around for about ten minutes on the floor that the room was in because I couldn’t find the room itself.
I: Thank you for your time!
H: No problem.