College offers students up to $1,500 to cover protest costs

Kalamazoo College is offering students grants of up to $1,500 to cover the costs of “social justice leadership” projects, including protests, conferences, and trainings.

The “Social Justice Leadership Fund,” organized by the non-partisan Arcus Center for Social Justice, offers Kalamazoo students, faculty, and staff grants ranging from $50 to $1,500 to engage in social justice “advocacy,” “research,” and “leadership development.”

The fund was launched to encourage students to “learn about a variety of social justice and human rights issues, develop new skills in organizing and leadership, and take action on the issues that prospective applicants care most about,” according to Arcus’ website [emphasis in original].

While the fund primarily gives students grants to attend conferences and conduct research, it also offers financial support for students who wish to “travel for actions,” such as protests and rallies. Earlier this year, for example, an indeterminate number of students received financial support to attend an immigration rally in Washington, D.C to advocate for “comprehensive immigration policies.”

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Among numerous other projects, the fund also sent more than 40 students to a “2.5 day anti-racism workshop,” sponsored a documentary project on “anti-abortion violence,” and sent six students to a three-day “Black Male Summit” in Akron, Ohio.

Students who are interested in social justice advocacy are currently being encouraged to apply, according to recent Twitter posts from the Arcus Center, which also note that the fund accepts applications on a rolling basis.

The Arcus Center warns that securing funding isn’t a piece of cake, saying, “it is not atypical for applicants to fill out multiple drafts of an application, in order to ensure that key social justice leadership concepts and practices are appropriately present in the project proposal.”

When reached for comment by Campus Reform, a Kalamazoo spokesman confirmed that students can apply for “carefully vetted” grants, which support activities such as “travel to and from organized events such as the Women’s March on Washington.”

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UPDATE: The school provided the following statement in response to a follow-up inquiry on why the “non-partisan” Arcus Center supported students’ travel to the Women’s March on Washington, considering that it excluded conservative and pro-life women; or to immigration rallies, which unilaterally advocate for looser immigration restrictions:

"Social justice is about valuing lives equally. The Women's March on Washington, being about women's rights, certainly fits that bill. The application process for such opportunities doesn't consider information about political parties or affiliations, meaning the center is non-partisan. Anyone with an interest in a social justice experience has equal consideration."

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