Ripe with metaphors, yet lacking in content, “Administrators Attempt to Make Peace with Protestors” [Vol. 41, issue 14] claims, “the proverbial olive branch of peace” was extended by administrators only to be “turned into tumbleweeds” by a lack of participation on the students’ part. We had a good laugh with that one. First off, when few people attend an event, you have to ask, â€˜how was it publicized?’ Were there any flyers up? Were there any mass-email invitations to students? No. So it’s not a surprise that so few students showed up.
Secondly, many student activists had serious concerns with the administrators’ event. It initially consisted of three panels (students, then faculty, then cops and admins) of handpicked speakers answering predetermined questions, including, “why have protests turned violent?” While admin Alma Sifuentes proclaims that the “purpose of the event was to begin a dialogue,” it would have been an unproductive blame-game, allowing students no opportunity to rebut others’ claims. Seeing this, SAW wrote a letter to the administration expressing our frustration with the event structure, urging them to work with students to find an agreeable format. Two days before the event, we heard that the format was changed to an open-mic rather than the panel. This was a nice shift, encouraging a few SAW members to attend the event. Yet, others of us have become so disillusioned working with administrators over the years that we didn’t prioritize the event in our busy lives. It’s hard to talk about good faith â€˜dialog’ when there are student activists being disciplined by administrators and police for protest activity. You can’t simultaneously retaliate against activists while claiming you want to have an â€˜open discussion.’
Finally, lets not forget why we’re even having this discussion. What are we fighting for? To end war. To challenge militarism. To demand a reprioritization of our resources on people, not profit—on welfare not warfare.
*A few members of SAW*