Colorado Measure Against Civil Disobedience Incites Student Protests

At least 700 high school students in Jefferson County Colorado walked out of class Wednesday morning to protest proposed changes to their schools’ history curriculum.

colorado protest

The suggested changes from their school board include an evaluation-based system for awarding teachers’ raises, and a curriculum committee that would push for the promotion of “positive aspects” of the United States and its history. The committee would ask educators to avoid any material that may encourage or condone “civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

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Wear Your Hoodie to Join the Million Hoodies in Support of Trayvon Martin

In case you haven’t heard about it or seen the many posts on Facebook and Twitter about him, Trayvon Martin was a 17-year old African American teen who lived in Sanford, Florida. Sadly, on February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon because he felt that his life was in danger. As the facts have been pouring in, it seems more and more likely that Zimmerman, a white man, was not actually threatened at all, and instead, this was a racial hate crime.

According to the police call, Zimmerman saw Trayvon walking through his neighborhood and called the police. He claimed Trayvon was threatening because he was wearing a hoodie and had something in his hand.

“There’s a real suspicious guy,” Zimmerman said about Trayvon. “This guy looks like he’s up to no good, on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around looking about…. These a**holes always get away.”

Zimmerman followed Trayvon through the neighborhood, despite the police dispatcher’s urges for him not to do so. He then shot and killed Trayvon with a nine-millimeter handgun. Zimmerman claimed Trayvon had been carrying something:  As it turns out, it was only a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. Read the rest of this entry »

Purchase College Students Protest Overpriced Tuition

Purchase College LogoOn October 5, 2011, the main campus mall at Purchase College was filled with students who were holding signs to show their support of higher education. The students decided to “occupy” their campus, similar to the New York City Occupy Wall Street protests that have been going on recently, in order to show their displeasure with budget cuts that are affecting higher education.

“What we are doing here is for the 99 percent,” said Dan Nation, a student at the school. “It’s time somebody does something to cut the corporate greed. We can’t afford our own education.”

The students are rallying against “overpriced tuition.” This is not the first time that students at Purchase have protested against budget cuts. In fact, they have been protesting annually for the past few years and even have had the support of the school’ s president, Thomas J. Schwarz. However, some students think that these protests really are not accomplishing much.

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Disruptive Protests Have No Long-Term Effects on UC Irvine Campus

University of California Irvine SealEarly last year, 11 Muslim students at the University of California, Irvine, interrupted a speech that was being given by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. The students started yelling at Oren during his speech, calling him a “mass murderer” and a “war criminal.” Last week, 10 of these students were brought before an Orange County jury, facing misdemeanor charges. They were found to be guilty for conspiring to disrupt a meeting and disrupting the speech, and were sentenced to community service and probation. Although it is sad that these students are now labeled as criminals, the worst part is that freedom of speech is now being called into question on college campuses across the country.

“When you talk to students across college campuses, now they are pondering what is legal and what is not (concerning public speech),” said Kifah Shah, a spokeswoman for Stand with the Eleven, a group that supports the guilty students.”This has a chilling effect.”

However, the prosecutor, Dan Wagner, feels that these students were not merely exercising their freedom of speech. instead, they were acting as “censors” who used the “heckler’s veto” to keep the Israeli Ambassador from delivering his speech.

Evidently, these types of protests are becoming more common as pro-Palestinian activists try to disrupt Israeli speakers. In 2009, people at the University of Chicago interrupted a speech that the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was giving. It happened again in November 2010 when activists shouted and raised banners during a speech that current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu game in New Orleans. On September 1, 2011, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was interrupted during their performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

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Tuition Hike Protests Heat Up in Puerto Rico

Protests continue at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Students are demanding attention to their frustration regarding a new fee required for attendance. While protests and petitions have been occurring since spring 2010, recent days have seen increased violence and rioting.

The turmoil began when the University of Puerto Rico included a new $800 fee into semester tuition. This fee is a response to recent budget cuts, and school officials maintain that the fee is absolutely necessary to keep the university on its feet. With a budget of $1 billion, and nearly $200 million in recent cuts, the deficit is expected to be met by the new tuition fee.

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American Study Abroad Students Evacuated from Egypt

By Stephanie VanderVelden

As political tension surges across Egypt, chaos is affecting groups beyond Egyptian citizens. Students from several American colleges and universities are currently studying abroad in Egypt, specifically in Cairo; the epicenter of the ordeal. The protests denouncing President Hosni Mubarak have erupted in violence, putting citizens and students at risk. Emergency evacuations have been organized to remove American students from increasingly dangerous conditions.

Students staying in dorms and with host families witnessed the violence first hand. Sounds of gun fire and protesters with weapons forced students to stay inside as the violence increased. Egyptian security teams guarded university dorms from approaching looters as students watched from inside.

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Confederate Flag Painting Banned at Gainesville State

Artwork depicting a Confederate flag was taken down at Gainesville State College, located in Georgia. President Martha Nesbitt ordered that the artwork be removed after written protests came from a website called “Southern Heritage Alerts.”

The artwork, which features two Klansmen, a lynched black man and a black woman in African garb within the flag, was taken down on Jan. 25, two weeks after it had been placed on display.

“Sometimes a president has to make difficult decisions. First and foremost, I have to consider the impact of an action on the health and reputation of the institution. In this instance, I made a judgment call that the negative results would outweigh the positive ones,” Nesbitt said in a news release.

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College Students Across the U.S. Protest Budget Cuts

As colleges and universities across the country plan budget cuts and tuition hikes to offset the economic downturn, students in states such as Arizona, California, and Nevada are fighting back with protests.

Here’s footage of one such protest at the University of Arizona:

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