Last spring, The Nation launched its biweekly student movement dispatch. As part of the StudentNation blog, each dispatch hosts ten first-person updates on student and youth organizing in the United States—from established student unions, to emerging national networks, to ad hoc campaigns that don’t yet have a name. For an archive of earlier editions, check out the New Year’s dispatch.
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1. As Strike Waters Heat Up, Portland Students Walk Out
In early January, the Portland Student Union held three days of action in support of the Portland Association of Teachers in its current contract negotiations. Jefferson and Wilson High School students walked out, while Cleveland High School student union members held three days of speakouts. Overall, more than 300 students participated in the days of action. On January 13, the demonstrations culminated in a school board rally with 500 students, parents and workers. At the board meeting, the PDXSU presented “The Schools Portland Students Demand,” a set of priorities that students see as vital to their education.
—Portland Student Union
2. After Months of Student Pressure, Obama Acts on Title IX
Ed Act Now, the movement for better federal enforcement of Title IX, was thrilled by President Obama’s January 22 announcement of a new task force to combat campus sexual violence. After garnering public support through a protest and online petition, student organizers met with White House officials in July to discuss their ideas. Ed Act Now is encouraged to see many of its proposals—including stricter enforcement of existing laws and greater federal transparency—included in a public memo outlining the task force’s plans. Activists are now working to ensure that the task force calls on a diversity of survivor voices—crossing lines of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, type of educational institution and form of violence suffered—to inform the White House’s investigations.