Last spring, The Nation launched its biweekly student movement dispatch. As part of the StudentNation blog, each dispatch hosts first-person updates on student and youth organizing. For recent dispatches, check out January 27, February 10, February 26, March 7, March 21, April 8 and April 23. For an archive of earlier editions, see the New Year’s dispatch. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or tips. Edited by James Cersonsky (@cersonsky).
1. On May Day, California Students and Workers Unleash
On May 1, students marched, rallied, walked out and sat-in across California. Within the University of California, students continue to resist former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s undemocratic appointment as UC president, support the UC student-workers union’s fight for the rights of undocumented graduate students and demand that charges be dropped against the UC Santa Cruz 22, who were arrested while striking at a legal picket action. In the California State system, students are organizing to stop the implementation of “student success fees” at Dominguez Hills, San Diego and Fullerton—with San Jose State recently rolling back these fees—pressuring administrators to open up Dream Resource Centers on campuses and rallying in support of ethnic and women’s, gender and sexuality studies. At Los Angeles Valley College, students protested budget standards that strip community college campuses of resources while placing the burden of campus deficits on the backs of students through two-tier unit pricing. These actions were supported by networks like No 2 Napolitano, Students for Quality Education and the California Student Union.
—California Student Statewide Coordinating Committee
2. As Richmond Sits on Schools, Hundreds Walk Out
On April 28 at 8:30 am, 150 students from Open High School in Richmond, Virginia—almost the entire student body—walked out of class and to City Hall to protest deplorable conditions in Richmond Public Schools. There, we were met by fifty fellow students and parents from other RPS schools. After marching around the building, the mayor, Dwight Jones, invited all 200 protesters inside. We asked him questions about unpopular commercial development projects that were rapidly approved at the same time as school infrastructure problems like rats, snakes, mold and black water that drips from the ceiling are getting worse. Mayor Jones explained his position that commercial development would generate revenue that could be put towards enhancing our schools—but that it would not be available for years. That night, we turned to the city council for funding. We will continue pressuring government officials for more money for our schools.