Anti-Trump UMich protesters use 'privileged folx' as shield
Nearly 1,000 protesters participated in an organized campus walkout at the University of Michigan Wednesday in response to the “increase in hate crimes and other forms of violence against marginalized folx [sic]” since the election.
The marchers took over campus from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, starting on the Diag where students who had walked out of class gathered in protest. After a short rally featuring Jesse Jackson and several student speakers, the march continued across campus, eventually reaching the library.
While parading through what are normally quiet study spaces, protesters yelled at students, demanding, “If you’re with us, join us!” and “Out of the classrooms, into the streets!”
According to the Facebook page, organizers had hoped to “hold President Schlissel and our Regents at the University of Michigan accountable for their claims of valuing diversity and student safety and well-being.”
Chanting “No alt-right, no KKK, no fascist USA,” the demonstrators stormed the Undergraduate Library, as seen in video footage obtained by The Michigan Review.
“Yeah, it’s just scary. This campus is scary right now and it is just very extreme,” said a female undergraduate student who wanted to remain anonymous. “I don’t know that this is making it better—I agree things need to be brought up, and they are being brought up, especially in this political climate—but I am not sure if stomping around campus is going to help rather than hurt. It hurts to watch!”
Many people got stuck in traffic on South University due to the protests.
While many white students attended the protest, the organizers seemed to have intended to limit their participation.
In a "logistics, safety, and security" planning document for the event, there were just two “roles open to white people,” one of which was to “police people” by notifying the protesters if police officers approach and addressing questions about the walkout.
“We need you to be able to stay around on the sides, and make sure that you will be able to stand around us and make sure that we are protected,” the document states.
The other option for white participants was “crowd control,” which apparently involved standing at the edges of the demonstration to shield the other activists with their “privilege.”
“We need you making sure that we are safe and that we are secure,” the organizers say, adding, “We want visibly privileged folx [sic].”
In another display of activism, a demand letter released by the organizers calls for the University of Michigan to protect its students, remove labels of white supremacy on campus, divest from corporations that abuse human rights, and declare the university a “sanctuary campus” for illegal immigrant students and Muslim immigrants, among other specific goals.
The demands come less than 24 hours after a contentious student government vote on a resolution supporting boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) from companies profiting from work with Israeli settlements.
Several professors, lecturers, and teaching assistants excused students from class, and encouraged them to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights.
This article was originally published in The Michigan Review, a conservative student newspaper affiliated with the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program. Its articles are republished on Campus Reform with permission.
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