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A11 SAW Action - One Student's Perspective
"On April 11th, 2006, in spite of the pouring rain and administrative attempts to stifle students’ free speech, Students Against War (SAW) organized over 150 students to march from the center of campus to the job fair, where they nonviolently prevented access to military recruiters through sit-ins and other measures. After about an hour and a half of negotiations and students’ refusal to back down, military recruiters left the job fair." See http://www.indybay.org/archives/archive_by_id.php?id=4458&category_id=60 for more stories, photos, videos, audio, etc.
Contact sugarloaf [at] riseup.net to reprint/reuse any of these photos. While I am generally happy to allow online blogs access to images, please email me to obtain permission prior to the use of any photos. Thanks!
McHenry - 9AM
Notice the Sparticus Youth sign behind the speaker. The few Spart attendees were a pain throughout the day's events - placing their signs behind SAW folks when they were speaking to the press, trying to hijack chants with tangental messages, and getting into arguments with folks when they politely asked them to respect the event organizers.
On the March
Through the Streets
The message "no troops = no war" refers to the effectiveness of counter-recruitment as a strategy for ending war. It suggests that if the youth refuse to fight, troop levels cannot be maintained, and war will be impossible to wage.
Student marchers were surprised to see some sort of orange smoke device spontaneously appear as they were marching in towards College 8. While the press cameras snapped 5 shots a second at the colorful excitement, most students didn't know what it was, covering their mouths and looking all around.
As the students marched in towards their Job Fair, administrators had strategically placed tables and fences to prevent their entry. Students slowed down the march a little bit, before deciding that their only choice was to go straight through. This photo shows one table getting knocked over, as a top UCSC official urges administrators to move back and not stand in the way of student access.
While that table was temporarily knocked over, there was no property damage or harming of any individuals involved.
Note: Portions of this image have been altered due to privacy concerns.
While police and administrators kept the doors shut from the inside of room where military recruiters had been placed, students blocked the entry from the outside, demanding that the military leave immediately.
A banner was dropped from the College 8 tower, with the message, "No Recruits, No Troops, No War." Meanwhile, a cop videotapes student protesters. Later, after pressure from faculty, the cop stopped recording for a short while.
These two students, both members of Students Against War, acted as police and administrative liasons, passing information from the students as a whole. Here, they speak to the press after being allowed entry to speak with the four military recruiters from the Army and National Guard. They told the military of the students' demands and later conveyed the response to the students.
One of the liasons tells students that military recruiters were 'confused' and did not intend to leave.
While students broker a deal with the administration and military that will eventually allow 10 female protesters entry into the building to engage the recruiters, this group of women strategizes their next steps. Somehow, this one male student, who was interested in the military, sneaks his way into the building with administrative and police help, but it wasn't long before the group of women went in after him.
The students did their best to make collective agreements throughout the course of the action, where every student was part of the decision making process.
The ten women students are finally given access to the building where recruiters were set-up. They immediately took all the recruiting literature (which the military did not object to), before two women were assaulted by police and an administrator. Some students made their way out back into the croud and decried the assault, while others were locked on the inside. All of the students demanded that these protesters be let free, which they eventually were.
At this point, the 4 military recruiters, who had previously backtracked on offers to leave the campus, agreed for the final time that they would depart.
Students created a pathway in the middle of the crowd for the recruiters to depart, but the recruiters were escorted by police through an elevator and out the back door of an academic building. Meanwhile, students chanted, "Don't come back! Don't come back!"
The guy pictured in this photo is Dan Wood, who admitted (and later apoligized) to grabbing one students' neck.
Capt. William Griffin, the regional head of Army recruitment, is the last of four recruiters to be ushered into a van by a police escort. The vechicle then sped out of the parking lot (going straight through a stop sign).
As the van was speeding away, the cops/admins thought someone might have thrown a rock at the car. Kot, a member of SAW, was videotaping a police officer who was engaged in surveillance of students long after a faculty member supposably made an agreement for all surveillance to stop. The officer, who repeatedly refused to provide his name and badge number, physically pushed Kot and then called for backup after a group of legal observers and media surrounded him and started to ask questions. When the other police arrived, Kot was moved into a tennis court (the door of which was then blocked off by cops) and arrested for 'interfering.' He was later moved into an empty classroom where he was questioned by police officers.
Let Kot Go!
Kot was released shortly after being detained in the classroom after student protesters assembled outside the doors and demanded that he be let free. He claims that he was supposed to be cited, yet the cops 'did not have their book' so we have yet to see what ridiculous charges (if any) Kot will get.
As for the rock, all the major media outlets have reported that one may have been thrown, yet not one student has been blamed, nor could any student I talked with testify that this incident had occured.
Three in a Row!
After the recruiters were gone and Kot was free, the students gathered to debrief on the events of the day.
This successful action marked the third consecutive instance in which military recruiters have been prevented from recruiting at UC Santa Cruz. The first action was on April 5, 2005, when 300+ students rallied and sat-in during a job fair until recruiters left. The second was on October 18, 2005 when two dozen students engaged in a queer kiss-in and 200+ in a rally that effectively blocked all recruitment attempts.
Over the course of these actions, the number of military recruiters willing to visit UCSC job fairs has been steadily declining. Many students wonder whether they will bother to come again in the Fall.
The last time the military was able to recruit at a UCSC job fair was in the Fall of 2004 - over 18 months ago.