high school student walk out against the expansion of prisons

micahth at umich.edu micahth at umich.edu
Fri Oct 2 22:16:04 PDT 1998

> On a more hopeful note, see the short article in todays NYTimes
> the students near S. Francisco striking against the prison
> they identify as their future under capitalism....

Not sure if seeing their future as in prison is a positive things or not.

Seriously I recently had a chance to meet some of those who lead this action and was very impressed by the fact that they had a class analysis. The same thing can be said for the Student Liberation Action Movement at CUNY. Unfortunatly (although perhaps quite logically) the same can not be said for student activism at the University of Michigan.

As people may or may not know, last year the college of Literature, Science, and Arts (LS&A, the main place for undergraduates at Michigan) was sued by two or three white students who claim that the University's Affirmative Action policies are responsible for them being denied admission. They are represented by a group called Center for Individual Rights (CIR) which was also responsible for the Hopwood decision at the University of Texas. The stated goal is to eliminate the use of race and gender in the admissions policies at the University of Michigan.

In response to this there have been numerous actions by student groups but their has been little coordication or sustained activity. And so each time an action is proposed a coalition must be reformed which makes things much more difficult. The situation is improving somewhat but not greatly.

Anyways of thsoe students who are active around the issue most see it as being a case of perserving the good things about society. (That is a sloppy formulation, I admit.) There has been some talk about the fact that affirmative action as it presently exists may not go far enought but not much. There is been virtually no talk of eliminating standardized tests or expanding admissions, much less open admissions.

The reasons for this can be tied to the fact that the University of Michigan is an elite school in a middle class liberalparadise in a backwards country.

Anyways here is an article about the walk out

"Schools are messed up, buildings are falling apart, books are torn up."

Students from about 10 schools marched about a mile through town, giving speeches at a sheriff's office and a mall.

Political activist turned educator Angela Davis watched from the sidelines.

"And when you consider that these are high school students. They're like kids who are showing us the way. Who are telling us that we need more schools and fewer prisons. That we don't need to be sending young people to these institutions like this juvenile hall here in San Leandro," said Davis, now a professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Thirteen miles away in Fairfield, about 600 students rallied at the school district office to protest plans to go to a year-round school plan. School board President Mike Helms said the year-round schooling plan is a result of voters rejecting four bond measures, two in the last year, to pay for a new high school.

The two protests come amid reports that under Gov. Pete Wilson's administration, California's budget for higher education has shrunk by 3 percent while corrections spending has jumped 60 percent -- a greater gap between the two programs under Wilson's leadership than any other governor in California history.

The Justice Policy Institute think tank findings revealed that California's budget for higher education has shrunk by 3 percent while corrections spending has jumped 60 percent.

The study also found that five black males are in prison for every black male in a state university, while three Hispanic males are added to California's prison population for every one enrolling at a four-year public university.

The protesters Thursday were made up primarily of minority students.


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