A core mission of StudentNation is to highlight the frequent but often overlooked instances of student and youth engagement with critical political, economic and cultural questions. This round-up below offers an incomplete but illustrative survey of the scope and breadth of student activism currently.
Student Protests in Europe and Canada
In England, France, Canada and Italy, students took to the streets this past fall protesting tuition hikes and cuts to social programs. Though the protests received modest coverage in major US media outlets, columnists on the other side of the pond have been debating a new generation’s rise into political consciousness.
See Student Nation’s coverage of the UK’s education cut protests from The New Statesman’s Laurie Penny:
Inside The Millbank Tower Riots [The Nation]
Police Detained UK Student Protesters En Masse: A Firsthand Account [The Nation]
Police Beat Protesters Trapped In Parliament Square Kettle [The Nation]
University of California Fee Hike Protests
Though many on the left criticized students’ inability to muster European-style protest on this side of the Atlantic, there were widespread protests across the University of California system at the March 4 National Day of Action to Defend Public Education events and in subsequent protests in November against an 8 percent fee increase. The Board of Regents approved the hike anyway.
DREAM Act Passes House
When the DREAM Act was approved by the House of Representatives 216-198 on December 8, it vindicated a movement driven by grassroots youth activism that forced Beltway figures to reconsider their strategy on immigration. Even though it was blocked in the Senate, DREAM Activists aren’t going to quit. They’ve adapted civil-rights era activist techniques for the 21st century, and they’re a testament that students can make their voice heard.