This post is part of The Nation’s biweekly student movement dispatch. As part of the StudentNation blog, each dispatch hosts first-person updates on student and youth organizing. Check out last year’s posts, in chronological order, here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25. Contact email@example.com with tips. Edited by James Cersonsky (@cersonsky).
1. Spring Semester, Day 1
On January 7, the first day of spring semester, the Coalition of Concerned Students at Clemson University in South Carolina marched from the football stadium, past the historic plantation house, to the administration building to deliver a collection of grievances and demands to the university. Over the fall, local #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations elicited harshly negative responses from some students. In response, multiple forums were held giving a diversity of students the opportunity to express opinions. The night following the last of the dialogues, members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity held a “Crip’mas Party,” encouraging participants to dress like gang members. This prompted another demonstration—a march to the president’s house to deliver “Crip’mas” cards with descriptions of how students felt about this tasteless gathering. While the president responded evasively, he ultimately assured us that the university would respond to our concerns. We have requested that response by February 6.
2. Walking Out, Shutting It Down
Building on the energy surrounding continuing incidents of police brutality, the students of Baltimore’s City Bloc are engaging our peers in a conversation that connects the broad issues of a militarized society with our daily lives. During a recent action on January 9, more than fifty students walked out of school and marched to the Baltimore Board of Education and on to I-83. Once we reached the highway, we chanted, marched and shut down traffic for at least thirty minutes until a protester was arrested. Our demand is real reform of the city’s student commission, a statement of support for student organizing from schools CEO Gregory Thornton and a reevaluation of the 2015–16 school budget. By affirming our agency as students, we hope that the policies that impact us will no longer be made for us—or against us—but with us.