By Doug Porter
There were demonstrations on college campuses coast-to-coast yesterday. Some were in response to the recent success of students at the University of Missouri at calling out racism.
Others were responding to an earlier call via social media to protest the increasingly desperate economics of getting an education. And some events were inclusive of both causes.
The far-right media, eager to fan the fires of the rabid uncle on Facebook set, actually provided more comprehensive coverage than their ‘objective’ mainstream brethren. Breitbart News even sent reporters to UCSD, looking for chaos. They didn’t find any.
Protests Popping Up by the Hour
From the Guardian’s coverage, starting with the resignation of Mizzou President Tim Wolfe:
It was a stunning victory for those, including the university football team, who felt Wolfe was tone-deaf to the concerns of African-American students. And Missouri, it transpired, was not alone. A wave of student unrest swept from campus to campus, from coast to coast, as marches and walkouts showed solidarity and expressed frustration over their own institutional racism and lack of diversity.
As the week wore on it seemed the protests were popping up by the hour, often getting results. On Wednesday, a 1,000-strong demonstration at Ithaca College in New York led to the immediate appointment of a chief diversity officer. On Thursday, the dean of students of Claremont McKenna College in California resigned in response to racial bias complaints. And by Thursday evening, black students had taken over the president’s office at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The demonstrations are “spreading like a black plague”, joked Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, professor of African-American studies at Princeton University. At least one academic proclaimed the birth of a new social movement, echoing the student activism of the 1960s and drawing on the Black Lives Matter groundswell of the present. Where it is headed is hard to discern, but the cause is clear: chronic lack of racial transformation in US higher education.
Here in San Diego, CBS8 reported (link includes video) on several hundred students at SDSU, who rallied in support of the movement in Missouri and tried to call attention to racial issues on their campus.
Here’s a snip from the Huffington Post:
On Wednesday, students at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia rallied together and protested in the streets chanting, “We stand together with black Mizzou.” (See video below.) And on Thursday, students on campuses nationwide — from Southern Mississippi University,University of Pennsylavnia, University of Georgia and Stanford — demonstrated to share their support…
….Armani Madison, a senior student at Brown University and another member of the coalition, told HuffPost his experiences on campus have been challenging, traumatizing, oppressive and unwelcome.
“We are fighting back against the institutions which have oppressed us and our people for centuries. We are telling these institutions that we will hold them accountable,” he said. “We are demanding change, now.”
Fear and Loathing on the Right
As would be expected, conservatives freaked out. Republican Presidential candidates took turns blustering and being angry.
From the Atlanta Black Star:
As Democratic presidential candidates have offered proposals to address racial justice and college debt, a number of Republican presidential candidates have reacted negatively to the nationwide campus protests. Ben Carson, a graduate of Yale University, which has been embroiled in protests against racism, told Fox News that the country is becoming too “tolerant by…[accepting] infantile behavior.” Chris Christie called the demonstrations “a product of the president’s own unwillingness and inability to bring people together,” according to Think Progress.
“The lawlessness that the president has allowed to exist in this country just absolutely strips people of hope,” Christie added. “Our administration would stand for the idea that justice is not just a word, but it’s a way of life. Laws will be applied evenly, fairly, and without bias to everyone.”
Donald Trump called the University of Missouri protesters “crazy.”
“I think it’s just disgusting. I think the two people who resigned are weak, ineffective people,” Trump said on Fox News Thursday morning. “When they resigned, they set something in motion that’s going to be a disaster for the next long period of time.”
There was an incident at Mizzou wherein students and one (now former) instructor were videotaped blocking access to a reporter. It was a stupid move, yes, but certainly not worth the amount of faux “concern” being ladled out by (mostly) white media mavens.
San Diego GOP Chair Tony Krvaric took the bait and tweeted out an op-ed calling for raising the voting age to 25.
Finally, Fox News led their coverage of Thursday’s demonstrations with:
Chaos swept over college campuses around the nation Thursday…
If you read down to the bottom of the on-line story at Fox, the reporter actually got to the truth of the matter:
The school at the focal point of the current crisis, the University of Missouri, hired an interim system president on Thursday afternoon. Mike Middleton previously attended Missouri as a student and also served as a faculty member and administrator. Middleton, who is black, said he felt marginalized “every day” in each of those roles.
“It’s so subtle,” Middleton said. “I think women understand it. I think people with a sexual orientation that is not a male-centered perspective on sexuality understand it. I think other people of color understand it. I think folks in power, in the majority, who have never lived it and have never experienced it have difficulty understanding it the way those of us who have been minoritized do.
The Baton of Political Correctness
The movement that started at the University of Missouri is not far away from Ferguson, where the 2014 death of Mike Brown at the hands of local police triggered sometimes violent reactions nationwide.
Making the comparison was Daily Kos contributor Grizzard:
…you might have expected White America to respond with glee when a group of black students at the University of Missouri decided to use peaceful means of coercion to get across their points. No, these students weren’t burning cop cars or throwing trash cans through the front window of a storefront. They were creating online coalitions, taking pictures, enlisting the help of college football players, and going on hunger strikes. They were using their right to peaceful assembly to demand answers from a college president who seemed at a loss for how to deal with mounting racial tension on his campus.
They were, in essence, doing precisely what White America had asked of the protesters a few hours away in Ferguson.
Imagine their surprise when they learned that White America had a new complaint. These black students were too sensitive and too demanding. Their peaceful actions, it seems, are ruining college atmospheres which, if you believe White America, are defined by the ability of students to offer race-based hate speech with impunity. In Ferguson and in Baltimore, black protesters showed precisely what’s wrong with America by refusing to act peacefully in the face of centuries of intentional and systematic oppression. In Columbia, Missouri, they were guilty of another misstep — carrying too far the baton of political correctness.
Million Student March
Yesterday’s economic protests on university campuses were planned for just two days after thousands of fast-food workers took to the streets in a nationwide day of action pushing for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and union rights for the industry.
The issues at hand were ballooning student loan debt for higher education and showing support for tuition-free public colleges.
Photos and videos posted on Twitter, where #MillionStudentMarch was trending worldwide, showed marches involving dozens to hundreds of demonstrators at schools including Texas State, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Depaul University in Chicago.
A few hundred students rallied on the campus of the historically progressive University of California Berkeley, and posted placards on the outside of a class building showing their individual student debt loads, ranging from just several thousand dollars to more than $100,000.
Organizers are demanding tuition-free public colleges, cancellation of all student debt and a $15-an-hour minimum wage for campus workers.
The total volume of outstanding U.S. student loan debt has more than doubled to $1.2 trillion, according to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, compared with less than $600 billion in 2006.
At UCSD, the march began and ended at Silent Tree, an art installation in front of Geisel Library. The Breitbart reporter on-hand said there were 150 people involved.
The march went around and through Price Center. Aman Birk of Socialist Alternative spoke to the students.
Progressive Calendar: Upcoming in San Diego
Invest in San Diego Families Rally and Family Day
Saturday, November 14, 10am
County of San Diego Waterfront Park
1600 Pacific Hwy
Updates & Info
OUR VISION San Diego County is not investing in providing the highest quality services to the residents of our County. Programs are understaffed, and workers don’t have the equipment and technology necessary to fully meet the needs of the public. Instead of investing in vital public services, San Diego County stockpiles cash reserves at unprecedented levels – far beyond what municipal finance experts recommend, and way out of step with the other Counties in California.
The Coalition is community groups, faith-based organizations, working families and others who are challenging the County to invest in clients, services and communities to stimulate the economy and CREATE A SAN DIEGO THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE.
San Diegans Concerned About Climate Disruption Rally
Saturday, November 14, Noon
Federal Building, 880 Front Street
Updates & Info
Join us for music and speakers as we post on the door of the Federal Building our call for a World War ll- style mobilization to transition the U.S. from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Wind, Water and Solar Energy as computer modeled at Stanford University. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Demand Justice for Anastasio Hernandez Rojas
Saturday, November 14, 5pm
San Ysidro International Border
720 E San Ysidro Blvd, San Ysidro, California 92173
Updates & Info
We WILL NOT accept or acknowledge the IN-Justice Department’s decision in Anastasio Hernandez Rojas’ case until ALL US Custom Border Patrol Agents who took part in his murder are found GUILTY!! The Medical Examiner’s office ruled his death a HOMICIDE!
Treatment of Woman in Politics in Traditional and Social Media
Monday, November 16, 7pm
Monthly Meeting of Democratic Woman’s Club of San Diego County
4089 Fairmount Ave, San Diego
Updates & Info
This month’s meeting will feature a panel discussion of the Treatment of Woman in Politics in Traditional and Social Media. Panelists to be confirmed.
Come along to lend your voice, learn from the experiences of others, and together determine positive steps we can take to improve the situation for everyone.
On This Day: 1956 – The Supreme Court struck down laws calling for racial segregation on public buses. 1974 – Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union activist Karen Silkwood was killed in a suspicious car crash on her way to deliver documents to a newspaper reporter during a safety investigation of her Kerr-McGee plutonium processing plant in Oklahoma. 1982 – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC.
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bob dorn says
Great column today. Feels like the good 60s and early 70s when so
many people, mostly young, were getting together over and above
the outrageous misbehavior of their elders, who should have known
better. It’s coming back around, America.
Nick Kennedy says
I was at the UCSD Million Student March. Check out the documentary: https://youtu.be/pJVzNbZauiY