Hundreds of Brown students stage campus walk out, call for sanctuary campus

By Kirsten Glavin

kglavin@abc6.com

@kirstenglavin

PROVIDENCE, RI –  Hundreds of Brown university students staged a campus walk out Wednesday afternoon, as part of a national movement to draw attention to sanctuary campuses.

The movement initially focused on resisting President-Elect Donald Trump, and fighting for equality for who they consider the country’s most vulnerable. That includes, but is not limited to undocumented immigrants, Muslims, members of the LGBTQ community and all people of color.  On their facebook page, they ask peers to commit to putting their bodies between Trump and undocumented students.   (https://m.facebook.com/events/663888847119756/?ti=cl)

The campus walk out walk began at Hughes court at around 3 o’clock.  Several organizers made speeches and rallied the group.  Many held signs, and began chanting.

Many chants, focused on standing up to protect illegal immigrants.

Students then made their way to the Main Green, and began marching around a campus administrator building.  Hundreds called for faculty to come outside and address their concerns.

The following statement was published, including a list of demands many students would like to see happen in response to their concerns.

Brown University #OurCampus Walkout Demands

Goals

-To provide a space for students of color, especially Black, Indigenous, Muslim, Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander, Southwest Asian and North African students, as well as students who identify as immigrants, LGBTQ+, low-income, and/or disabled to gather in power and have a platform to speak.

-To state our demands to Brown University and to show the University our commitment to our demands through a mass walkout

-To build relationships between ourselves so as to generate a sustainable movement against white supremacy

-To direct and funnel attention and action back towards #NoDAPL, which needs support now more than ever

-To work with #SanctuaryCampus by tweeting both #OurCampus and #SanctuaryCampus together.

Message

“#OurCampus #SanctuaryCampus #NoDAPL”

“We shouldn’t focus on Trump anymore. We see this as a call to unity for building and working towards the future we want not just "against Trump". If we focus on him, we give him power.”

 – Providence Movimiento Cosecha

-Trump is a product of white supremacy. White supremacy is the culprit.

-“Everything we need is already in our community.” – Cosecha

-We reject this white supremacist, this rapist, this xenophobic, Islamophobic, classist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, and racist system to have authority over our lives. Trump is a symbol for larger structures of oppression that have been used to blame communities of color for structural failures, such as the outsourcing of jobs or economic loopholes for the wealthy.

– Brown University must place the safety of its community first and foremost. Most of our University’s population now have their lives at risk. The University must protect us with every power it has available.

-We must work with those in our community, in the cities and towns we live in, for our resistance. We must not co-opt their movements. We will uplift #NoDAPL and #SanctuaryCampus as much as possible during our march, by creating signs, fundraising, and gathering support for both movements.

-We stand as an anti-white supremacist, anti-sexist, pro-immigration, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and anti-militarization front. This will be the start to organizations we will create, to sustainably maintain resistance after this day, week, month, and year is over.

-We are rooted in radical love for one another and a refusal to accept mistreatment of ourselves or our loved ones. Here are some calming links. Our well-being is important.

Our Demands

The University must create an #OurCampus committee with three paid student representatives selected through the Undergraduate Council of Students. This committee will oversee the implementation of the demands. The funding for these demands must be approved by the students, who also must have transparent access to financial data in order to carry out their job.

  • Brown University must re-channel its resources and money to its most basic requirement: to protect its community (defined as the University’s students, faculty, staff, and administration).
  • These resources cannot be channeled to Brown’s Department of Public Safety. 
  • The University must protect its students, instead, by dramatically increasing financial aid, emergency funds, health care resources, health insurance grants, and discretionary funds available to low-income students.
  • Specifically we demand that the dental discount for students covered by Brown health insurance be expanded to full coverage.
  • Students of color, and LGBTQ+ students are not being adequately served, or served with a lack of sensitivity. We request that all health services staff receive a rigorous, multi-series, diversity and inclusion training due to historic medical disparities in the United States.
  • Students’ safety must be prioritized in any fundraising, donations, or implementations of new funds – before new buildings, sports arenas, and the like.
  • The University’s Title IX procedure through the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion must undergo review and reconstruction – with student involvement – to be more accessible and effective.
  • The University must increase funding for Student Counseling and Psychological Services and hire new therapists of color that specialize in engaging in race-related, undocumented-related, and war-related mental health concerns.
  • The University must dramatically increase funding for the First Generation College Low Income Student Center, the Brown Center for Students of Color, the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center, and the LGBTQ Center.
  • We walk with #SanctuaryCampus. Brown University must protect its undocumented community.

 

  • The University must refuse all voluntary information sharing with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)/Customs Border Protection (CBP) across all aspects of the University to the fullest extent possible under the law.
  • The University must refuse ICE physical access to all land owned or controlled by the University.
  • The University must prohibit campus security from inquiring about or recording as to an individual’s immigration status or enforcing immigration laws or participating with ICE/ CBP in actions.  
  • The University prohibits housing discrimination based on immigration status.
  • (If questions of legality arise, the University should look to the LAPD’s commitment – not its track record or tactics – to get started.)
  • The University must increase its acceptance of undocumented students and provide them full access to financial aid.

 

  • We stand with #NoDAPL. Brown University must protect its Native and indigenous community.
  • The University must divest from any investments in financial institutions or any of the 30 banks that contribute to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) or Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (list)
  • The University must provide funding and resources to The Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative in order to:
  • Establishment of a fly-in program comparable to Dartmouth’s program and expand resources for the office of admission to increase Native undergraduate admission and matriculation.
  • The University must have a formal memorialization of and research into Brown University’s role in the displacement of Native tribes in Rhode Island (e.g. Inviting members of the Narragansett and Wampanoag community for convocation.)
  • The University must increase its acceptance of Native and indigenous students.
  • Brown University must protect its Black students.
  • The University must increase the percentage of domestic Black students to at least match the domestic Black population in the United States. We expect Black students to comprise a minimum of 13% of the Brown’s domestic undergraduate student population.
  • In 1968, Black students demanded that the University must increase the percentage of Black students at Brown to match the domestic percentage. The University has failed to meet this threshold for forty-eight consecutive years.
  • The University must provide funding and space for a Black student center designed as a recreational, cultural, and safe center for Black students at Brown. Black students require a center to be in community with one another
  • As exemplified by Yale University’s Afro-American Cultural Center, other schools are already leading Brown on creating spaces for Black students. We ask for a center to keep Brown on the forefront of respecting the needs of students of color.
  • The residential program house, Harambee House, does not alone meet the needs of Black students in terms of providing a substantial space for community and recreation. Black students require a new center.
  • The Brown Center for Students of Color is a center for different students and groups of color to come together to “visualize, vocalize, mobilize”. We demand to have a space for specifically Black students and Black student groups to meet, study, and create.
  • The University must increase the representation of Black professors who study Black America, continental Africa and the Afro-Caribbean.
  • In the interest of expanding faculty in these areas, we demand the University to create new hiring tracks in the Africana Studies Department.
  • We demand the prioritization and restructuring of
  • Resources for protecting Black students cannot be channeled to Brown’s Department of Public Safety. The police, as a union, has endorsed Trump. Placing us in the police’s care is an act of anti-Black violence. Resources that center transformative and restorative justice should instead be funded, such as peer mediation. Shuttle services must extend pick-up coverage.
  • Brown University must protect its Muslim community and its community members that are racialized as Muslim.
  • The University must dramatically increase the funding of the Brown Muslim Student Center.
  • The University must increase its acceptance of Muslim international students.
  • The University must increase its acceptance of Palestinian international students.
  • The University must increase its acceptance of Syrian refugees.
  • The University must welcome these students, regardless of their citizenship status.
  • Brown University must protect its LGBTQ+ community.
  • The University must have accessible all-inclusive bathrooms in every building.
  • The University must allow students to change their ID pictures and names free of cost.
  • The University must implement University-wide policies and enforcement mechanisms to protect from gender and sexuality-based violence. This should include a system in which students can indicate which pronouns they use.
  • The University must provide and protect access to trans-inclusive gender-affirming health care for its trans/non-binary students, without having to buy Brown Insurance.
  • Brown University must protect its underrepresented faculty and staff. This demand is a living demand, to be revised and changed by staff members.
  • The University must hold its departments accountable for not prioritizing the hiring of underrepresented[1] faculty/staff of color.
  • The University must review its processes for staff promotion and staff salary raises with the purpose of increasing promotions and salaries of underrepresented staff.
  • The University must make wages transparent across all university departments, programs, units, etc. Currently, members of the community staffed within similar positions have remarkably varying pay scales – pay scales not determined by major responsibilities of the position – but based on varying factors that have nothing to do with their job descriptions nor with major supporting dimensions of the scope of work performed.
  • Within the hiring process, the University must include student participation, by providing underrepresented students of color a way to review and voice opinions during the selection for potential candidates of faculty and staff positions.
  • The University must make sure all department DIAP working groups include paid underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students in their planning meetings.
  • The University must allow all workers to speak in what language they choose amongst each other.
  • The University must create and/or enforce mechanisms for dining service workers, safe-walkers, and other workers, to take breaks.
  • The University must increase the number of OnCall drivers.
  • Additional staff demands must be generated by gathering feedback from staff. Anonymous feedback processes must be available.