By Matt Boynton |
A group of more than 50 students, led by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), took over the first floor of Coffman Memorial Union, the University of Minnesota’s student center, for a public demonstration and teach-in on issues of inequalities in education mid-day on Nov. 9.
The “Driven to Disparities” teach-in was organized by SDS to educate students about the ongoing struggles and campaigns to address misogyny, Islamophobia, xenophobia, racial and national oppression, and economic inequalities on campus, all issues exacerbated by the election of the racist right-wing populist Donald Trump to president of the U.S. the previous day.
In the run up to the election, Muslim students and nonwhite students have been targeted and increasingly harassed by Trump supporters at the U of MN. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) was the target of a smear campaign that labeled them anti-Semitic and terroristic and the Muslim Student Association had its logo on campus vandalized with a spray painted “ISIS.” The Nov. 9 SDS teach-in rallied progressive students to occupy space in Coffman and oppose these local manifestations of the Trump agenda at the U of MN.
Speakers from SDS, the Feminist Student Activist Collective (FSAC), Whose Diversity?, Adelante!, Differences Organized (DO), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and Student Workers for $15 all addressed the actions they are taking to mobilize students for a progressive agenda.
In particular, students called for the administration of U of MN President Eric Kaler to be replaced, and for him to be fired. Students wore “Fire Kaler” t-shirts and chanted “Chop, chop, chop from the top” and “Fire Kaler” inside the student union during the teach-in. For many in attendance, Kaler’s inability to prevent, or to fully condemn, hate speech on campus by Trump supporters is a line in the sand that shows he cannot govern what the protesters believe should be a politically progressive campus.
Kaler has also been implicated in a number of high-profile scandals in recent years and pushed for expanded corporatization of the University of Minnesota system, leading many other voices, including former Minnesota governor Arne Carlson, to echo the students’ call for Kaler to be fired. Protesters also demanded that tuition be lowered, called for the U of MN to better serve underrepresented communities of color, for the divestment of university funds from corporations profiting off of Palestinian occupation, for the permanent funding and support for cultural centers on campus, for criminal charges against student protesters to be dropped, and for living wages for campus workers.
To continue pressing for these demands, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) asked those in attendance to join them on Dec. 9t for an action at the next U of MN Board of Regents meeting.
Students for a Democratic Society | Feminist Student Activist Collective | Adelante| Student Workers for $15 | Whose diversity? | Differences organized! Coalition
DO! members who were arrested at the BOR meeting on June 10 are awaiting trial set to occur mid-December. We know that we’re in the middle of the semester and things are getting busy, but please take a moment to write or call into the city attorney’s office asking them to drop the charges against the 6 students who were arrested at the Board of Regents meeting on June 10. Please express your support of the right to protest and condemn the criminalization of student protest.
11th Annual National Convention
We are happy to announce that Students for a Democratic Society (National) will be holding our eleventh National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 8th and 9th.
Registration is now open through this link for anyone who would like to attend, host a workshop, or table as an outside organization: http://www.newsds.org/2016/06/sds-11th-annual-national-convention.html
Since our reorganization in 2006, SDS has grown to be the largest anti-war and education rights student and youth organization active in the US today. In the past nine years SDSers around the country have won major victories on their campuses and in their communities fighting tuition hikes and for the right of all people to a good education. We have built large coalitions with other student and youth organizations not only to fight back against attacks on education but also to land serious blows against racism, patriarchy, and war.
Students from around the country will converge to discuss the future of the student and youth movement in the US. Workshops at the convention will cover topics including anti-war, education rights, LGBTQ liberation, anti-racism, immigrant rights, national liberation, and more.
Whether you’re in SDS or not, we want you at the convention. Meals will be provided, housing will be provided and travel stipends may be available depending on need and cost. You can also contact your nearest SDS chapter for rides to the convention by searching this link on our website:http://www.newsds.org/p/chapter.html
If you dare to struggle, you dare to win!
Thursday, March 10 | 5:30pm | Ford Hall 110 – UMN E. Bank
Speakers featuring SDS, Black Student Union, Students for Justice in Palestine, Whose Diversity?, Adelanté, Council of Graduate Students, and others!
On March 3rd, 2016 President Kaler will be giving his administration’s State of the University address in Coffman Memorial Union sure to discuss the ‘achievements’ of the University. However, there are many basic things that need to be improved at our University that are very simple demands that students have been fighting for, such as: lowering tuition, increasing diversity and having our urban university reflect its urban population, sexual assault/harrassment scandals that have been ongoing at an executive level and the list goes on.
On March 10th, SDS and others are hosting an event meant to highlight a different narrative to the one he will likely be describing: a Student, Staff and Faculty perspective on the state of the University.
While we see tuition at an all-time high, we also see top-adminstrators’ CEO-like salaries are bloated.
While front-line staff and faculty either get cut or are not offered long-term employment, class sizes or increasing and student services are decreasing.
While we hear Kaler talk about wanting to “increase diversity”, we have seen no real efforts going towards getting higher representation of MN black and brown youth at our University.
We want to pose the question and have a dialogue about whose state of the University is Kaler going to speak about? We have our own stories that are worth hearing.
Please join SDS and other groups to engage in a report-back on the real issues that are affecting our campus community and hear your ideas for what needs to be done!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:
Skyler Dorr: 612-360-5371, SDorr13@gmail.com
Steph Taylor: 612-248-0998, Taylo574@gmail.com
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – On February 17, 2016, students, staff, faculty, and community members will protest a speech being delivered by journalist Milo Yiannopoulos. The protest is being organized by Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Minnesota (SDS) and will take place outside of Yiannopoulos’s speech, which is being hosted by Students for a Conservative Voice and the Minnesota Republic in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Milo Yiannopoulos is being protested for his work on breitbart.com as well as for his work as a social commentator. Yiannopoulos grew in fame chiefly for his response to Gamergate, a controversy in which a group of men referring to themselves as Gamergate began harassing women within the video game industry in response to many women demanding a change in the overwhelmingly sexist industry. The instances of harassment included doxing, threats of rape, and death threats. Yiannopoulos became a major figure of the controversy with his 2014 online essay defending men’s rights to harass and threaten the lives of women and claimed the video game industry to be under attack by an “army of sociopathic feminist programmers and campaigners” who are “lying, bullying and manipulating their way around the Internet for profit and attention.” Students for a Democratic Society sees his violent speech against women and in defense of violent acts against them as hate speech, which has no place on our campus.
Milo Yiannopoulos was invited to speak at the University of Minnesota by the Minnesota Republic, a far-right periodical that has been in trouble with the University multiple times for insensitive content, including multiple overtly racist and Islamophobic depictions of Muslims and calling for a white history month with a cover reading, “We *heart* White People.” Students for a Conservative Voice, the student group printing the paper, received an outrageous sum of roughly $104,000 in student service fees from the University, allowing it to hire staffers for their paper as well as to invite speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos.
By allowing for student service fees to be used to invite violent, misogynistic and transphobic hate speech onto our campus, the University of Minnesota is condoning this dangerous speech with its inaction in the interests of the student body.
For these reasons, protestors at Rutgers University protested Milo Yiannopoulos’s presence on their campus earlier this month. Students for a Democratic Society stand in solidarity with the organizers at Rutgers.
SDS is a national, multi-issue organization that works to build power in schools and communities. Entirely student and youth-led, SDS has over 100 active chapters in high schools, colleges, universities and cities across the country. SDS at UMN was founded in 2006 and has organized many anti-war campaigns and events since then. This year, SDS at UMN has been organizing an education rights campaign centered around rising tuition, diversity on campus, and administrative bloat.