Last spring, The Nation launched its biweekly student movement dispatch. As part of the StudentNation blog, each dispatch hosts first-person updates on youth organizing—from established student unions, to emerging national networks, to ad hoc campaigns that don’t yet have a name. For recent dispatches, check out January 27, February 10, February 26 and March 7. For an archive of earlier editions, see the New Year’s dispatch.
1. At City College, Direct Action Meets Tear Gas, Batons—and Overnight Takeover
On Thursday, March 13, more than 200 students and faculty rallied at City College of San Francisco calling for the immediate resignation of special trustee Bob Agrella, appointed by the state to restructure CCSF under threat of disaccreditation, and the end to a payment policy that discriminates against undocumented students. After marching across campus, students attempted to enter the administration building before being stopped by police. After the administration called in SFPD, the violence escalated: cops stormed the crowd with batons, hitting students and firing pepper spray, resulting in myriad injuries. Meanwhile, fifteen students took over Conlan Hall—and held it overnight. Following the incident, Chancellor Arthur Tyler blamed students for the brutality, labeling the peaceful protest a “violent outburst” by students—despite clear video footage to the contrary, ultimately leading the district attorney to drop all charges. On March 18, the chancellor and vice chancellor met with protesters to discuss the payment policy, which requires out-of-state and undocumented students to pay tuition fees up front or sign onto a stringent payment plan. Administrators dismissed the demand to abolish it. Save CCSF students are committed to escalating the mobilization until our demands are met.
—Save CCSF Student Committee
2. At the Border, Hundreds Mass for Entry—and Release
In December, Alex Aldana made the decision to return to Mexico to care for his sick grandmother. During his time outside the US, Alex dedicated himself to organizing with families who previously faced deportation or, like himself, had left the country due to a family crisis. This month, working alongside National Immigrant Youth Alliance, Alex assisted more than 150 people in presenting themselves at the US border Otay Point of Entry to return home. This transnational effort is a continuation of the #BringThemHome campaign, launched last year to push the US government to confront the human cost of our broken immigration system. Thus far, ICE has sent most of the families to detention—going as far as detaining children who crossed with their parents, and who are US citizens. A petition is circulating on DreamActivist.org calling for Alex’s release.