I don’t hear about the student walkout until a student shows me the Instagram post. She’s going, she says. She saw me at the last one and thought I’d want to know. This walkout, like the last one, is also by Temple University’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). That one was pretty big. Probably around 350-400. It’s part of a movement waking up and stretching across the country. In Philly a few weeks ago, 10,000 took the Art Museum steps. Then, in DC last weekend, tens of thousands flooded the capital. Somehow, it didn’t make the front pages of corporate-owned newspapers. This is the biggest movement since the massive 2020 BLM uprisings.
Columbia University says its suspending two campus Palestine groups. In a statement posted on the school’s website Senior Executive Vice President of the University and Chair of the Special Committee on Campus Safety Gerald Rosberg said the university is suspending Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) for the remainder of the fall term. “This decision was made after the two groups repeatedly violated University policies related to holding campus events, culminating in an unauthorized event Thursday afternoon that proceeded despite warnings and included threatening rhetoric and intimidation,” reads the statement.
Since October 7th, student activists on campuses across the country have been organizing rallies against Israeli apartheid and vigils for the thousands of Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip. Activists at Dartmouth College are among those groups, organizing a sustained vigil outside Dartmouth’s administration building, Parkhurst Hall. Days into the continuous vigil, student organizers released The Dartmouth New Deal, a document that outlined a progressive vision for the college and included explicit demands that Dartmouth divest itself from the military-industrial complex that enables Israeli Apartheid.
On the morning of November 6, 2023, the students of the “Orientale” University of Naples, Italy, occupied their university to demand an immediate ceasefire in Palestine and the interruption of all collaboration of the Italian university with political, economic and military institutions of Israel. Since October 7, the Gaza Strip has been uninterruptedly under siege by the Israeli forces, aided by the silence and complicity of the United States, Western governments and, not least, the Italian government. The student declared: “What we are witnessing is a true genocide: while Gaza is cut off from food, water, fuel and medical supplies, the bombings continue day by day and indiscriminately, targeting homes, schools and hospitals.”
Students, faculty, and staff at colleges and universities across the United States and the world are facing an unusually high level of repression for speaking out in support of Palestinians. A city councilwoman brought a gun to a protest outside of Brooklyn College. Billboard trucks displaying the faces and names of pro-Palestine activists are circling the block at Harvard and Columbia. Students are having their job offers revoked. Florida governor Ron DeSantis is trying to ban Students for Justice in Palestine from all Florida schools. Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate unanimously voted a resolution condemning the student protests as “pro-Hamas” and encouraging the U.S. government to “fully and completely support Israel.”
On Wednesday, October 25, students across dozens of campuses in North America staged walkouts in protest of Israel’s genocidal war against Gaza. The walkout, taking place at university campuses in the United States and Canada, was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement. Dissenters, and Students for Justice in Palestine. The students demand an end to Israel’s siege on Gaza, an end to US funding of Israel, and that their universities divest from weapons corporations which supply the Israeli occupation. Campuses participating in the walkout included Brown University, several City College of New York campuses, Florida State University, Howard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, McGill University, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago.
On Wednesday, students around the United States are organizing walkouts “to call for an end to the US-backed siege on Gaza and U.S. military funding and arms to Israel.” This national student day of action was called for by National Students for Justice in Palestine in collaboration with several other organizations. These walkouts are taking place within the context of the largest anti-imperialist movement the United States has seen since the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and international rallies in support of the Palestinian people, even in places like Berlin and Paris where such protests have been banned.
The University of Manchester (UoM) is once again under fire over its dire student accommodation. This time, freshers are threatening a rent strike after it emerged bosses have barely made any changes since the last academic year’s strike by students. The Canary has been following the story of the UoM rent strikes. Around 650 students have been withholding their rent from the university. This is because bosses increased rents on halls by up to £450 for the 2022 academic year. Plus, the state of accommodation is appalling. Back in February, students occupied areas of the university in protest.
Baltimore, Maryland - South Baltimore is on a peninsula surrounded by water, highways and train tracks. It's mostly made up of residential row houses, small yards, schools, rec centers and parks. It's also often thought of as a place to avoid — folks are taught to be careful of or even avoid South Baltimore. There was a mass shooting this past July in the Brooklyn neighborhood of South Baltimore, and another in early September. "People think Curtis Bay is a dangerous place. It's not. It's just we're surrounded by dangerous things," says Taysia Thompson, 17. Taysia is a part of a group of student activists fighting against a very different kind of danger in their neighborhood: air pollution and climate change.
Throughout the summer, Canary has documented this ongoing crisis within universities and higher education. Now, as the new academic year gets underway, it appears that the recurring theme of chaos within British universities at the hands of incompetent senior management teams (SMT) will continue. The abhorrent treatment of staff and students at my home institution, Brighton University (UOB), is a prime example of this. In fact, students have started an occupation due to the situation. Across higher education, the University and College Union (UCU) has been fighting back against management imposing pay cuts, as well as the dire working conditions its members have to tolerate.
On Monday, August 21, hundreds of students at West Virginia University, the state’s flagship land-grant institution, walked out of their classrooms to protest the massive gutting of their university by its administration. Students wore red T-shirts and red bandanas around their necks, carried homemade signs with messages like “Stop the Gee-llotine” (a reference to WVU President E. Gordon Gee), played protest songs on fiddles and guitars, chanted “STOP THE CUTS!” and shouted impassioned speeches into megaphones. At issue was the administration’s proposal to fire 16 percent of the faculty and cut 9 percent of its undergraduate majors and twenty graduate programs in response to a projected $45 million shortfall over the next two years.
Two unions are going public Tuesday at Virginia Tech, with a shared goal of creating a better working environment for graduate students, faculty and staff at the state university. It’s an effort that has been in the works for three years, as the groups have quietly recruited members while, across the country, campus labor unions have gained attention. On Tuesday, members of the United Campus Workers of Virginia Tech (UCW-VT) and the Virginia Tech Graduate Labor Union (VT GLU) will team up in a rally on the Blacksburg campus. They hope going public will attract new members and draw attention to their efforts to press university administrators for improvements for campus workers at all levels.
University of Pennsylvania students who work as residence hall assistants will hold a unionization vote this fall, the National Labor Relations Board decided this week. The decision rejects Penn’s claim that students aren’t employees and don’t have the right to form a union. About 220 student workers filed paperwork with the NLRB in March to join the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 153, which represents students in universities around the region. If the effort is successful, the union would be the first of its kind in the Philadelphia area. Students at other universities have formed unions in recent years following a 2016 NLRB ruling that allowed Columbia University graduate students to unionize.
Morgantown, West Virginia - West Virginia University students staged a walkout Monday to protest the proposed elimination of academic programs and show support for faculty and staff whose jobs are being targeted as the university addresses a $45 million budget shortfall. Separate midday rallies were organized by the West Virginia United Students' Union, which encouraged protesters to wear red. Organizers said they want to halt the university's planned reductions, seek an independent audit of its finances and reduced WVU's administrative spending.
Student-youth groups in Ireland have condemned the housing crisis in the country as they are about to return to their colleges and universities this September for the new academic year. On Wednesday, August 16, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), along with housing support groups including Threshold, launched a ‘Scam Watch’ campaign against the exploitation of students by landlords and rent sharks. The USI also demanded legislation to control rents and provide affordable housing for students. Political parties like Sinn Fein accuse the coalition government under Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, and the Greens of totally failing the student renters and abandoning them in the grip of the housing crisis.