Chicago socialist students demand school cuts ties with CIA

A socialist student group at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is demanding that the school cut all ties with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), claiming that the organization is complicit in “countless crimes.”

International Youth and Students for Social Equality is protesting UIC’s partnership with the CIA in its “Signature School Program,” which encourages graduates to seek jobs in the intelligence field, while also facilitating access to internships. The socialist group stated in a news release last week that, in partnering with the “diverse” UIC community, the CIA would be targeting “children of immigrants” to “carry out imperialist crimes of the U.S. government around the world.”  

UIC students who participate in the program will be able to receive on-campus mock interviews, educational seminars with CIA officials, and resume assistance, according to the school press release.

But the “CIA has absolutely no business at UIC or any college campus,” the IYSSE claims, calling the intelligence agency a “chief global spy agency of the United States” that “is responsible for countless crimes—the overthrow of governments, the fomenting of civil wars, assassinations, torture and spying.” 

“The IYSSE at UIC stands irreconcilably opposed to UIC’s partnership with the CIA,” IYSSE continued. “We call on students at UIC and across Chicago to join and support the IYSSE’s demand that all ties be severed between the university and the intelligence agency.”

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IYSSE calls the CIA’s “encroachment” onto campus “a symptom of the breakdown of world capitalism.” The organization, which bills itself as a “ youth and student section” of the “Socialist Equality Party,” tweeted out its news release last week.

UIC joins Florida International University, the University of New Mexico, and Baruch College of the City University of New York as one of four schools that have direct partnerships with the CIA. The “Signature School Program” is open to all students, regardless of major. 

“The Signature School Program will provide UIC students with direct access to careers and internships within the agency for many years to come,” UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis stated in the school’s news release. “It’s a win-win situation for both of us.”

Progressive student groups and faculty have previously asked university administrators to sever ties with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

[RELATED: Profs demand Johns Hopkins end ICE partnership ‘immediately’]

UIC Young Democrats of Socialist America (YDSA) treasurer Alec Hudson told Campus Reform that his group has not heard of calls by IYSSE to cut ties with the CIA, “but we would be absolutely in favor of such a proposal.”

We “are not the leaders of [the] campaign, so we have no answer as to strategy,” Hudson said. “We have not heard of it [previously] but do agree with the aims.”

The University of Illinois at Chicago did not respond to multiple Campus Reform requests for comment. 

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