Resolution in Solidarity with Student Struggles at Pennsylvania State University, the University of Florida, Harvard, and Yale

Whereas, Over the past two weeks important student struggles have begun on several campuses across the country, including Pennsylvania State University, the University of Florida, Harvard, and Yale. The students are fighting over issues of racism and workers' rights. Students involved in the demonstrations, marches, and building occupations on these campuses have asked for support and solidarity from students on other campuses.

Whereas, On Tuesday, April 24th, thousands of students at Pennsylvania State University rallied against racism in response to a series of racist death threats. A letter sent to a Black Caucus leader threatened her personally and said that the body of a young black man would be found in the nearby woods. Since the receipt of the letter the bodies of two black men have been found. Racist or threatening mail or emails have been received by black students, athletes, the president of the undergraduate student government, a trustee board member, and the parents of athletes. At least 68 students received a racist email. Hundreds of students are currently occupying a student center called the HUB in a show of solidarity. Demands of the students to change the climate on the campus and increase minority students' access to education include establishing an "Africana Studies Research Institute", hiring 10 tenured faculty members by 2002-03, increased scholarships, and a mandatory course on race.

Whereas, On April 6th, 500 University of Florida students marched against racism. The march was in response to several racist and bigoted incidents on the campus including a white fraternity that held an "Asian Theme" party where men dressed as Army GIs and women dressed as Vietnamese prostitutes, the spray painting of racial epithets on the side of the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures, and the theft and destruction of a banner put up by gay and lesbian students for PRIDE Awareness Month. Organizers and speakers at the rally included Latino, Asian American, black, gay, and white students.

Whereas, At Harvard, dozens of students have occupied the first floor of Massachusetts Hall, the building where the university president has his office. They are demanding a living wage of $10.25 for campus workers, some of whom make as little as $7 per hour at one of the richest universities in the world. The sit-in is believed to be the longest building occupation ever staged at Harvard and is supported by dozens of other students camping in tents outside the building. The sit-in follows a two-year long campaign on the campus for a living wage for campus workers. The Harvard administration is refusing to negotiate with the students sitting in. The students have also received support from 100 faculty members at Harvard, both U.S. Senators from Massachusetts, and the city council of Cambridge.

Whereas, At Yale, hundreds of graduate students are protesting the Yale administrations' opposition to their efforts to unionize. The graduate students are attempting to form a union for graduate student instructors and workers. They are calling on the administration to recognize their efforts to unionize through a "card-count", in which an employer recognizes a union when a majority of the workers sign union membership cards. The students are supported by members of Yale's clerical, maintenance, and hospital workers.

Whereas, The Michigan Student Assembly has repeatedly taken stands against racism and for workers' rights.

Therefore be it resolved, The Summer Assembly stands in solidarity with students struggling at Pennsylvania State University, the University of Florida, Harvard, and Yale.

Therefore be it resolved, The Summer Assembly will help publicize the struggles at the above campuses to students on the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, campus and other campuses nationally.

Therefore be it resolved, The Summer Assembly invites all students involved in these struggles to attend the National Student/Youth Conference to Defend Affirmative Action & Integration and Struggle for Equality and to discuss the struggles on their campuses at the conference.

Therefore be it resolved, MSA President Matt Nolan will mail copies of this resolution and MSA Representative Jessica Curtin will deliver copies of this resolution to protesters and student government representatives at Pennsylvania State, the University of Florida, Harvard, and Yale, and to the Michigan Daily and the Ann Arbor News.

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