Students at Berkeley form a chain gang. (Photo courtesy of Patricio Yrarrázaval)
1. Beyond Chapel Hill
In January 2013, we, together with two other students and a former dean, filed an Office for Civil Rights Compliant and Clery Act Complaint against our alma mater, UNC Chapel Hill. As survivors, we both witnessed the lack of support when trying to report our assaults, and after hearing over fifty similar stories, reached out to students at Amherst and Yale, and created an underground network to begin to hold UNC and other schools accountable. We learned the law, and realized that the pervasive culture of sexual assault at UNC is a violation of Title IX, and as 20-somethings (without attorneys) began consulting others survivors across the country.
—Andrea Pino and Annie Clark
2. Newark’s Youth Uprising
On April 9, the Newark Student Union mobilized a mass walkout of class and marched to a hearing of the New Jersey Assembly Budget Committee as it considered Governor Christie’s proposal to take funding away from low-income and ESL students. The budget would shortchange New Jersey schools by $1.4 billion and lead to $56 million in local cuts for Newark, while at the same time giving away over a billion dollars in tax breaks to corporations and the richest 1 percent. Over 500 students rallied outside the hearing, and several testified before the committee to demand that legislators put students ahead of corporations and the wealthy by following the school funding law and rejecting Christie’s cuts. The event was inspiring and empowering, but it’s just the start of our campaign—we have until July 1 to stop Christie’s cuts.
3. Arizona Lawmakers Stifle Student Autonomy
Following in the footsteps of the failed Prop 204, Arizona’s HB 2169 is a direct attack on Arizona students. Signed on April 5, the bill makes it illegal for student organizations to use fee money to advocate, electorally or legislatively, for students. Under the lead of Jan Brewer and John Kavanagh, select conservatives and the Arizona Board of Regents have stripped students of their constitutional rights. Rather than allocating money towards education in Arizona, elected officials have balanced the budget on students' backs. We will not stand by as our education is hijacked. We are working to collect signatures and write letters to editors and legislators to gain support. We will storm the capitol if necessary.