You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Campus Protests’ category.

This occasional roundup of student movement stories is put together by Isabelle Nastasia, a CUNY undergrad, New York Students Rising organizer, and friend of this site. 

Featured Campus of the Day: Emory University

As American as … Compromise – Emory website (Trigger warning: this is super racist.)

Controversy Over Wagners Column - Emory Wheel

Emory President Holds Up Three-Fifth Compromise as Noble and Honorable  – Salon

Emory President Praises Three-Fifths Compromise as a “Pragmatic Solution” – Gawker

Faculty Censure Wagner, Consider Voting No Confidence - Emory Wheel

Important perspectives on education injustice:

Conservatives Declare War on College – Salon

Truth and Justice Report – Colorado Progressive Coalition

Universities Overtake Prisons in Gov. Walker’s Budget – JS Online (Maxwell Love of United Council of UW Students says “Before you start patting the Governor on the back: we lost $350 million and [UW students] get back $100 million…”)

Why Do Black and Latino Youth Struggle in School? – Colorlines

Sallie Mae Sells Interest - ZACKS

The Revolution Will Not be Televised: Deconstructing the News Briefing on Higher Ed Funding – Restructuring Public Higher Ed

Student Loans Unable to Refinanced - TIME

Free Education – McGill Daily (MOOCs are a growing part of the education crisis in Quebec as well in the U.S.)

College Students Struggle to Complete Education – The Knight News

Deferred Cooper Union Applicants Feel Like Collateral in Board’s Beef with Art School - Village Voice

Another Dark Day for Indiana’s Public Schools – Journal Gazette

Whether we are occupying buildings or writing bills,  we are students taking action!

CCSF Students Occupy Conlan Hall – Golden Gates Express (ABC Local covered this as well.)

Students, Faculty Call for Leadership Overhaul of Wilberforce – Springfield News

Speech to the University Regents – Student Union of Michigan

The New Deal for Students – USSA

Steps forward on the policy-change front:

Denver Takes Bold Step Towards Eliminating its School-to-Prison Pipeline – Colorlines

DMW releasing Drivers Licenses to Many Immigrants – WRAL (Colorlines tells us why they are still problematic for many DREAMers, here)

No Salary Increase for UC - Changing Universities

Bookstore punts Adidas Gear From Shelves – The Santa Clara

Essays on student movement-building and radical organizing strategy:

Charging Through the Archway of History: Immigrants and African Americans Unite to Transform of Labor and the Power of Community – Portside

Hidden in Plain Sight – Free University NYC (Commissioned by Tidal 4 – Occupy Theory. This piece is a collaboration between myself, Manissa McCleave Maharawal, Conor Tomas Reed and Zoltan Gluck–faculty and students at CUNY.)

Developing Militant the Lefts Minstrel Show and How College Educated Revolutionaries of All Colors Keep the Working Class Shucking and Jiving – Fire Next Time

What is a Strike?  –  IDS News

The Board of Regents of Connecticut’s state university system is meeting today to consider a $778 fee increase, and a group of students and activists are promising a system-wide walkout it the hike goes through.

In the last two years, state funding to public higher education has been slashed by more than 15 percent. Today’s planned hikes would amount to an aggregate fee hike of 11.8 percent in the same period — bringing in-state costs to nearly $9,000 a year. As recently as 2004, tuition and fees at Connecticut’s four regional universities — Central, Eastern, Southern and Western — stood at just over $5,000.

But not all students will see tuition increases if today’s proposal is approved. Facing declines in lucrative out-of-state enrollments, the Regents plan to cut out-of-state tuition for the second year in a row.

Public universities nationwide have been raising out-of-state tuition and increasing out-of-state enrollment to close budget gaps — at the University of California, out-of-state students now pay more than they would at Harvard. But only four percent of students enrolled at Connecticut’s regional state universities are out-of-staters.

In advance of today’s vote, a group called Students of Connecticut Universities for Democracy called for a system-wide walkout in the event that the increases pass. The Regents are meeting now, and supporters of the walkout are livetweeting at the hashtag #hikemeanswalk.

Check it out.

Wednesday Update | The Board of Regents delayed the vote on the proposed tuition increase until their next meeting. Their current proposal calls for a 5.5% increase for in-state students, coupled with a 2.6% cut for out-of-staters. The regents’ finance committee will consider the plan at a March 5 meeting, with the full board scheduled to take up their proposal on March 21.

A new report on a 2011 CUNY protest that saw more than a dozen arrests leaves core questions unanswered while misrepresenting evidence of police violence.

On November 21, 2011, City University of New York students and faculty assembled with others at Baruch College for a public meeting of the CUNY board of trustees. The gathering, which took place six days after police rousted the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park, was large and boisterous, and turned confrontational after police and CUNY security blocked most of those in attendance from the room in which the meeting was taking place. Fifteen demonstrators were arrested in the clash that followed, amid reports of rough behavior from baton-wielding cops.

In the weeks after the confrontation CUNY commissioned an independent report on the incident, and that report, prepared by the Kroll consulting firm, has just been released. But the 65-page report fails to confront the exclusion of most protesters from the trustee meeting, a central issue for the demonstrators and a crucial question for CUNY to address going forward. Additionally, it misrepresents the state of the public record on the question of whether police used inappropriate force during the course of the demonstration.

The Kroll report documents that CUNY administrators expected, and prepared for, a large turnout for the public hearing on November 21, which was staged to allow comment on proposed tuition hikes. Administrators and security officials held a series of planning meetings and police trainings in the run-up to the hearing, at which some 79 security officers were made available to manage crowd control. Despite this planning, and the fact that the purpose of the hearing was to facilitate public comment on CUNY policies, the meeting was held in a room which the Kroll report describes as having a capacity of just 120 people, while an “overflow” room with a one-way video hookup was provided in an entirely different part of the building from the hearing itself.

Protesters’ frustration with their exclusion from the meeting was the primary source of conflict that day. The Kroll report makes that clear. The report, however, never so much as raises the possibility that a different choice of venue might have led to a better outcome, or engages with the question of whether CUNY might have done more to facilitate public access to the hearing. This omission is particularly striking given the fact that the report’s witnesses note that the room was filled to capacity nearly an hour before the hearing’s scheduled start time, leaving more than a hundred members of the public — a large majority of them, by all accounts, students — unable to participate. (Barbara Bowen, the president of the CUNY faculty union, has described the hearing room as having a posted capacity of 300, which would have provided ample space for all those present at Baruch that day. It’s not at all clear where the Kroll report’s figure of 120 came from.)

The most generous interpretation of CUNY’s meeting planning is that the university prioritized crowd control over the university community’s ability to provide input into the institution’s tuition and governance policies. A more cynical observer might reasonably conclude that the trustees’ intentional restriction of access was itself a root cause of the conflict that followed. That these questions remain unexplored is a glaring defect in the Kroll report.

A second, and more dramatic, flaw in the report is what can only be described as a fundamental misrepresentation of the available evidence of police misconduct. Alleging that its investigators “found no evidence to suggest that any of the protesters were injured during the struggle,” the report claims that the CUNY department of public safety “received no complaints indicating that anyone had been injured, even superficially,” and that Kroll did not “find any evidence to the contrary,” either in its interviews with participants or “in its review of public records, social media, and video evidence.” (Emphasis mine.)

The first contradiction to this sweeping declaration comes in the very next sentence, in which a reporter from the Hunter College student newspaper who interviewed a number of protesters is said to have described several of them as “banged up and bruised.” My own research, moreover — which took the form of a twenty-minute Google search — turned up the following:

  • A New York Times story on the demonstration described protest organizer and participant Carlos Pazmino, a City College student, as having witnessed CUNY public safety officers “hitting … students with the batons.” The Times quoted Pazmino as saying that he had seen “two people knocked down by cops … and one guy’s head was bleeding.”
  • In a Daily News story, Hunter alum Michelle O’Brien was quoted as saying “the officers were attacking us,” while Baruch undergraduate Brittany Robinson said police “started pushing us and beating us” without provocation.
  • A Daily Kos liveblog declared that a journalist who covered the hearing had been injured when police threw her into a revolving door, and that witnesses had described another participant as having been “taken away bleeding from the head or face.”
  • A story in the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that one witness had told their reporter that “several students had been struck” with batons. The Chronicle reporter himself said he had seen “a young woman’s head on the floor, under an officer’s knee.”
  • In comments on an NYU Local piece, Hunter College student newspaper staffer Tiffany Huan said that she had been “beaten” and “sexually harassed.”
  • In an article on the CUNY faculty union website, Huan said she was grabbed by her hair and thrown to the ground, leaving her “in so much pain … I could barely stand up.”
  • In an article in the Baruch student newspaper, demonstrator Kevin Tighe said that “a lot of people got beat up really badly,” while demonstrator Denise Romero alleged that there were injuries among the protesters.
  • In a blogpost, Brooklyn College student Zachary Poliski said that officers struck demonstrators with batons, and that one student’s head was bloodied.
  • A commenter on a YouTube video who described him or herself as an eyewitness said that “students were beaten” by police.

By my count that’s seven witnesses, five of them named, who claimed to have seen police beating protesters. Three witnesses, two named, said they saw a demonstrator bloodied, and at least four witnesses alleged other injuries. And again, that’s what I found in twenty minutes. But in a yearlong investigation, Kroll says, they found no evidence — none — “that anyone had been injured, even superficially,” in the demonstration.

Only one of the eight named eyewitnesses I cite above is mentioned in the Kroll report, and that witness, Tiffany Huan, is named only in the context of a dismissal of her charges of sexual harassment. Her claim that police violence left her “in so much pain [she] could barely stand up” is not addressed.

I’ve written to Kroll to request comment on these issues, and I’ll let you know what — if anything — I hear back.

Representatives of the Darfur Student Association say that 140 students were arrested and 180 injured in protests at the Omdurman Islamic University on Tuesday when government agents and ruling party supporters attacked activists and burned dormitory buildings. Dozens of students are reportedly still missing.

As I reported on Tuesday, that day’s clashes followed an incident last week in which four Darfuri students were found dead at Al-Gazira University after participating in a sit-in against the university’s refusal to waive their tuition fees as mandated by peace agreements in effect in Sudan since 2006. Their bodies were found in a local canal where witnesses say protesters were chased by supporters of the regime.

The Darfur Student Association says that 450 dorm rooms were destroyed in Tuesday’s attack and that hundreds of laptops and mobile phones were looted. They say that police, troops, and supporters of the ruling National Congress Party delayed fire trucks and ambulances’ attempts to gain access to the campus, and that harassment of Darfuri students continued on Wednesday.

Students were also reportedly beaten and tear-gassed in simultaneous protests in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

Amnesty International on Wednesday said that “Sudanese security services have clearly used excessive force since the first peaceful murmurings of dissent at last week’s student sit-in,” demanding that the government “respect the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”

A US representative echoed Amnesty’s statements, calling the students’ deaths “shocking.” Given the government’s failure to live up to its obligations, Ambassador Dane Smith said on Wednesday, “it’s quite reasonable, it seems to me, that Darfuri students are protesting.” The United States has been, he said, “very unhappy about the excessive force used against Darfuri students demonstrating for their rights under the agreement.”

Student protest has been swelling in Sudan since the Friday discovery of the bodies of four student activists from Darfur, with reports now saying that one university’s dorms have been burned to the ground today.

The four students were reportedly found dead in a canal after their participation in a sit-in protesting Al-Gazira University’s refusal to waive their tuition fees as mandated by peace agreements signed in 2006 and 2010.

Eleven students were arrested in the anti-tuition protests on December 2, but the demonstrations continued. Witnesses say that when police broke up a sit-in on December 5, they pushed protesters toward the canal where the four students’ bodies were later found. Administrators say the students drowned, but authorities have refused to release medical examiners’ reports, arresting one student’s lawyer when he requested it.

Police say 47 students were arrested in protests on Sunday, and on Monday the administration of Al-Gazira University announced that it was suspending classes indefinitely.

Protests have continued, however, and today reports charge that supporters of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) have burned the dormitories of Omdurman Islamic University.

10:45 am Eastern Time Update | Twitterer @SuperMojok is on the ground at Omdurman Islamic University (OIU). He reports that the dormitory fire was blazing for an hour before fire crews arrived, but that many students likely got out safely because they had been driven from the buildings by tear gas before the fires began. He reports that students say the number of arrests today is “very very high,” and that in the last hour police have left the scene, replaced by representatives of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).

12:30 pm ET | Reuters reports that police have used teargas today on student protesters in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital. They also quote a student leader as saying that demonstrators at OIU were driven to the dorms by police and NCP agents using teargas and batons before the fires at the dorms broke out. Meanwhile, a representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights yesterday described Sudanese government attacks on students as “a worrying trend,” and called for an independent investigation of last week’s murders.

About This Blog

n7772graysmall
StudentActivism.net is the work of Angus Johnston, a historian and advocate of American student organizing.

To contact Angus, click here.

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