portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

education | human & civil rights | imperialism & war | youth

N. Amer. Students in 16 Cities Join Int'l Student Strike Against War

Finally.
North American Students in 16 Cities Join Int'l Student Strike Against War

North American students across Canada and the United States are gearing up continentally for the International Student Strike Against the War December 5. Colleges and universities at in the following cities will be participating:

(Huntsville)(Olympia)(Québec)(Chicago)(Amherst)(California)(Washington DC)(Pensylvania)(Chapel Hill)(North Carolina)(Toronto)(Clermont)(Chapel Hill)(San Francisco)(Colorado)(Albuquerque)

To get involved or to contact others in your city, please visit  http://www.geocities.com/strikeagainstwar/ or email  nonalaguerrelille@altern.org

At Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, we are expecting around 100 people or so, and we are making a demand on our police department to take down their posters that say "UNITED WE STAND" with big American flags all over the place. Following is the open letter which we wrote to them.

***

12/3/2001

An Open Letter to Steve Huntsberry of Police Services and Les Purce, President of TESC.

We, as concerned students, are writing this letter because we would like to express our discontent with the apparently official posting of several American flag posters with the words "United We Stand" on the Police Services / Parking Services windows. While many Americans at this time may indeed "stand united," in support of the war as well as the actions of our government in the "War on Terrorism" - for instance, actions such as the passing of the Patriot Act, calls for military
tribunals, increased surveillance of political organizations and massive investigations of
foreign students among other recent legislation - many others do not support these developments. Alternatively, many are calling for a wide variety of other courses of action to respond to the situation. These include, but are not limited to the following; employing the "rule of law" by bringing the accused to the International Criminal Court, reducing the ability of terrorist organizations to organize support by ceasing all U.S. financial and military support of the
Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, by removing U.S. military bases from Saudi Arabia, and by ending the U.S. sanctions on Iraq. As we all know, on this campus in particular there is a good deal of dissent with the actions of the U.S. government in Afghanistan, and with the heavily increased repression currently taking place within the
country. With this dissent in mind, students, staff and faculty have organized teach-ins, marches, demonstrations, and vigils to make our voices heard.

In light of these widely understood facts, it is inappropriate for the police to post what amounts to an "official opinion," unless it actually is on behalf of the college administration, since they are by no means an autonomous entity in and of themselves. Of course if the college administration were to take an official stance in support of the war,
calling on branches of the college to officially post United We Stand posters, this would be extremely disrespectful to the diversity of thought and opinion represented on the campus as well. We call on the campus police to respect this broad diversity of opinions, and to remove the poster. In this way, the false impression that the college has taken an official stance in support of the war will not continue to offend many of us. An illustration may help to put this issue in perspective; if the police were to post a giant cross on their window with the words "United We Stand Under Our Heavenly White Aryan Lord Jesus Christ" the administration would no doubt comply with federal law barring publicly funded institutions from taking official stances on religious matters, and ask them to remove it out of respect for the diversity of religious persuasions. This situation is no different (especially with the religious overtones that are there when the concept of a "crusade" is invoked by George W. Bush) and appears to also be in violation of federal law barring publicly funded institutions from taking official stands on political matters.

As a positive step forward, and as an alternative course of action, we advocate the rights of individual officers to wear pins on their own off-duty clothing, to wear bumper stickers on their private cars, or to express themselves in other individual ways as they wish, just as we, as students, have the right to express our own opinion in a similar fashion. For instance, like students, if police officers wanted to stick up posters of this kind individually on their own, around the campus grounds, of course they could do so. But just as with any other posted materials by a student, staff or faculty member, any other student, staff or faculty would be well within their legal rights to remove it and replace it with something else.

Thank you for considering this important issue. We further would like to request to meet with you (Steve Huntsberry and Les Purce) in person to engage in a dialogue about the issue of posting "official opinions" and alternative courses of action tomorrow, Tuesday at 4:00 P.M. in CAB 108. If either of you cannot attend, please leave a phone message with the Union of Student Workers, who has offered to let us use their voicemail for this purpose, at extension 6098, or you may leave us a written letter of response at the Union of Student Workers mailbox in CAB 320.

Sincerely,

An autonomous collective of members of the following student groups: Evergreen Political Information Center, Latin American Solidarity
Organization, Women's Center, Union of Student Workers, Coalition of Peace Research and Education Development, the Jewish Cultural Club, Amnesty International, WASHPIRG, Prison Action Committee, Student Arts Council, and Percussion Club.

 http://www.geocities.com/strikeagainstwar/

homepage: homepage: http://www.geocities.com/strikeagainstwar