Today, May 29th, marks the 9th day of the sit-in of Evergreen State College administrator Art Costantino's hallway. The students are sitting to demand the immediate reinstatement of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) with no disciplinary actions being taken against the group and a full apology from the administration, negotiations regarding the rehiring of Kelly Beckham, a student who was fired from her on campus job after her participation in the sit-in, and a reworking of the way that student group status is revoked, to be decided upon by students.
The banning of SDS as a student group is an indication of the current political climate of The Evergreen State College, one that has been increasingly suppressing student dissent, this includes; the aiding of law enforcement agents in the arresting of students, the handing over of student records to law enforcement agencies, the punishing of students for their political beliefs' and activities, this includes; the firing of Kelly Beckham, the firing of students who were allegedly involved in the events of February 14th , but who have not been convicted or even charged, the selective enforcement of a "concert moratorium", and is on a path of becoming increasingly more mainstream. The students sitting-in want to see an end to all of this.
The Students have been taking shifts in the hallway, educating the public, finding support among alumni (this includes a petition being circulated by alumni with over 30 signatures) and staff (this includes five faculty members who a have written two letters in support of SDS and other faculty members who have come up to the sit-in to show their support of SDS) and planning events.
Tonight the students will be hosting the second class session of "People's University". "People's University" is the name that the students have given to the peacefully occupied floor. The first event, which took place on Monday May 26 (day 5 of the sit-in) included a lecture by Paul Bigman, a major labor organizer out of Seattle, who spoke on the importance and history of labor organizing, student run workshops on radical queer history and post-Katrina New Orleans and a film showing that discussed the economic climate and worker's movements of Argentina. The film was followed by a discussion. "People's University's" first session drew in Evergreen Students, members of the greater Olympia community and Evergreen Professors. The event was a success with over fifty people in attendance.
Tonight the University hopes to bring in the same folks and more. The students who have been sitting-in the hallway for over a week hope to teach and learn from as many people as possible. Running the University with the ideals of self determination and student run education, the group organizes a series of workshops and also allows time for others, people from all parts of the public, to also put on a workshop. Tonight's scheduled workshops include; a workshop on the protest tactic of using lockboxes, a workshop on prisoner support, a workshop on GI Resistance and a protest health and safety training put on by members of the Olympia Street Medics Collective. The event will begin at 6pm.
People's University hopes to aid in the self-determination of students, by showing that students have the power to govern their own education. Please come out and support student rights and student power. Come out to see "People's University". All events are open and free to the public. Free Food and Drink will be provided and as always children are welcome.
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