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 youth organizing. For recent dispatches, and links to all posts from 2014, check out January 16. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with tips. Edited by James Cersonsky (@cersonsky).
1. 400 Greet Anti-Muslim Hate Speech
In mid-January, a law professor at Vanderbilt University published an op-ed in The Tennessean arguing that Islam poses “an absolute danger to us and our children unless it is monitored” and made “part of the brotherhood of man.” Two days later, 400 students gathered on Library Lawn at Vanderbilt University to denounce an attack on Muslim students.The action showed those who shared the opinions of the faculty member that Vanderbilt students and faculty have zero tolerance for bigotry. In response, the provost issued a statement disaffiliating the views of the university from those of the professor.
2. 68 Blockade for Black Lives
On January 19, Martin Luther King Day, sixty-eight Stanford students were arrested for blocking the San Mateo Bridge as part of nationwide #ReclaimMLK demonstrations. Reclaiming Martin Luther King Day meant engaging in direct and disruptive action and drawing in the internationalism King championed at the end of his life. While detained on the bridge, we tried to bring attention to issues of state violence, mass incarceration and foreign occupation that Silicon Valley otherwise has the ability to ignore. Our action was centered around the Ferguson Action national demands—and featured the Palestinian flag as a symbol of global struggles for justice. The action was black–centered and -led, with participation from Stanford students of all backgrounds.
3. 2 Percent Too Much
With two dramatic campus demonstrations, the Ohio University Student Union launched a new campaign to reverse the university’s decision to raise tuition for both current and incoming students. The “Ohio Guarantee,” as the school has termed the hike, raises tuition for each incoming, in-state freshmen class by 5.1 percent. Students would then pay that rate for up to four years. Current students will see their tuition raised by 2 percent, the maximum increase allowed under current Ohio law. On Thursday, January 22, 100 students rallied outside Baker University Center, followed by a march down a high-traffic street off campus. After the crowd dispersed and journalists left, the Athens Police Department surrounded a small group of students and issued citations to three for “persistent disorderly conduct.” The following day, thirty students disrupted the Board of Trustees meeting to deliver three demands: no new tuition hike, full funding for the Survivor Advocacy Program on our terms and no new natural gas pipeline construction on campus. Three additional students were arrested. We are building a legal fund to support the arrestees.