5 Sit-ins in 6 School Days: USAS Activists Continue Spring Showdown for Worker Rights!

Update: Since this post was drafted, students at the University of Texas – whose apparel sales generate more profit than any other school in the world- occupied their President’s office to demand that he finally affiliate with the independent sweatshop monitor, the Worker Rights Consortium – bumping student action up to 6 sit-ins in 7 school days!

This spring, as high-profile attacks on public sector workers reinvigorate the labor movement nationwide, students have been at the forefront together with workers’ unions, beginning with the incredible occupation of the Wisconsin Capitol. On April 4, thousands of students rallied in support of workers’ rights as part of a national day of action, and the next day, we helped host the first ever nationwide teach-in on corporate greed with Cornel West and Frances Fox Piven. Now, USAS activists have turned up the heat on their own universities, even risking jail time to take a stand for working people. In the last six school days alone, students have staged five sit-ins at university presidents’ offices to demand their six-figure-salaried administrators finally listen to students’ and workers’ voices.

Below: Press, Videos, Photos of the sit-ins at: RutgersEmoryWisconsinWilliam &Mary | TulaneUniversity of Texas

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Media Contact: Teresa Cheng, USAS International Campaigns Coordinator, 925-330-4449,  email hidden; JavaScript is required

So far, these sit-ins have been an incredible success, garnering campus and community support and bringing national media attention to student and worker issues. Stay tuned, as much more is to come in the showdown to Take Back Our Economy this spring! Here’s a brief rundown of what’s gone down:

A week ago today, USAS activists at two universities in the Southeast simultaneously occupied their university president’s offices to demand justice for workers on their campuses. At Emory University in Atlanta, students staged a 7-hour sit-in after over 100 students rallied with MLK nephew Isaac Farris Jr. and State Senator Vincent Fort, to urge President James Wagner to terminate the school’s multi-million dollar contract with food service giant Sodexo, exposed for human rights abuses globally. Using Skype, the Emory activists teleconferenced with USASers at Virginia’s College of William and Mary, live from their own sit-in in President Taylor Revely’s office, where students sought resolution to a 10-year campaign by campus workers for living wages. The William and Mary group was arrested after midnight, while Emory’s sit-in escalated into a sprawling “tent city” outside the administration building until Emory arrested 7 students yesterday. The next day in New Orleans, 21 students at Tulane University took over President Scott Cowen’s office, singing and chanting to demand that the school kick out Sodexo and protect campus workers’ rights, leaving 3 hours later after administrators threatened disciplinary charges and brought in police.

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Tuesday, the action came back to Madison, where 70 students occupied the office of University of Wisconsin Chancellor Biddy Martin to protest her promotion of a privatization scheme that would lead to skyrocket tuition and outsourcing good union jobs on campus. And right now, 20 students continue their occupation overnight of the building of New Jersey’s Rutgers University President Dick McCormick to stop tuition hikes, support campus workers, and drop Rutgers’ deal with the Nike-dominated “Fair Labor” Association. Check the USAS Facebook page for ongoing updates!

Press:

William & Mary

Living Wage Coalition takes one more seat before the final bow

The Flat HatEd Innace – ‎Apr 26, 2011‎

The Living Wage Coalition has played its trump card and occupied College of William and Mary President Taylor Reveley’s office. A few weeks ago, I incorrectly predicted that the LWC would not, in the end, occupy a building, even though all successful …


W&M police halt student sit-in

Virginia Gazette – ‎Apr 22, 2011‎

WILLIAMSBURG — Campus police at the College of William & Mary removed five students holding a sit-in in the office of President Taylor Reveley about midnight Thursday. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a college spokesman said the students

A day (and night) in the Brafferton
William and Mary News – ‎Apr 22, 2011‎
by Staff | April 22, 2011 A sit-in about workers’ wages in the Brafferton Wednesday resulted in a handful of William & Mary students being cited for trespassing in the building. The five students, taking part in a demonstration about workers’ wages, …

5 W&M protesters face trespassing charges
Richmond Times DispatchKarin Kapsidelis – ‎Apr 21, 2011‎
Five College of William and Mary students protesting the low wages paid to campus custodians face trespassing charges after a nearly 16-hour sit-in in the president’s office Wednesday. The students, who began their sit-in at 9 am …

Editorial: College sticker shock
Daily Press – ‎Apr 21, 2011‎
The announcement came from the College of William and Mary, but the policy driving it came largely out of Richmond. The announcement was that in-state tuition and fees at W&M will go up 7.7 percent next year. Room and board will rise slightly less, …

Five WM Students Charged for Sit-In, Vow to Continue Fight
Williamsburg Yorktown DailyAmber Lester Kennedy – ‎Apr 21, 2011‎
Campus police at the College of William and Mary charged five students with trespassing early Thursday, after the students had spent 16 hours sitting in protest at the office of President Taylor Reveley.

Police end student occupation of W&M president’s office
Richmond Times DispatchKarin Kapsidelis – ‎Apr 21, 2011‎
William and Mary police escorted five students occupying the president’s office from the building just before 1 am today. A spokesman said they were not taken into custody but cited for trespassing and issued a summons by William …

W&M students cited for sit-in
Daily Press – ‎Apr 21, 2011‎
WILLIAMSBURG — Five College of William and Mary students were cited for trespassing by campus police early Thursday morning after staging a 16-hour sit-in in President Taylor Reveley’s office, demanding the university pay its workers higher wages.

Va college says 5 cited after sit-in
WRIC – ‎Apr 21, 2011‎
AP Sports Video Entertainment News from AP Entertainment News from AP AP – April 21, 2011 9:05 AM ET WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) – College of William and Mary officials say five students who occupied the president’s office in a protest over campus …

Students Arrested During Sit-in at the Brafferton
W&M The Dog Street JournalKatelin Hill – ‎Apr 21, 2011‎
Photo courtesy of the LWC Five William and Mary students were arrested early this morning, April 21, at approximately 12:50 am, according to a press release distributed by the Living Wage Campaign. The students were on their 16th hour of a sit-in at …

Police end student occupation of W&M president’s office
Richmond Times DispatchKarin Kapsidelis – ‎Apr 21, 2011‎
William and Mary police escorted five students occupying the president’s office from the building just before 1 am today. A spokesman said they were not taken into custody but cited for trespassing and issued a summons by William …

W&M students cited for sit-in
Daily Press – ‎Apr 21, 2011‎
WILLIAMSBURG — Five College of William and Mary students were cited for trespassing by campus police early Thursday morning after staging a 16-hour sit-in in President Taylor Reveley’s office, demanding the university pay its workers higher wages.

Emory

Video of arrests: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQnvCwDrOEg

Daily Debriefing
The DartmouthSoumya Gupta – ‎April 27, 2011
Seven individuals, including four Emory students, were arrested by the Emory Police Department on charges of trespassing the university’s Quadrangle on Monday, the The Emory Wheel reported on Tuesday. The individuals were part of the …

Emory students arrested for protest of worker treatment. Students plan vigil …
Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Maureen Downey – ‎Apr 26, 2011‎
I guess Emory changed its mind about allowing students to protest the treatment of sub-contract workers on the campus. (Read this blog from last week for background.) Last night, Emory grad student Laura Emiko Soltis left me this voice message amid a …

Seven students arrested during Emory protest
Atlanta Journal ConstitutionChristian Boone – ‎Apr 26, 2011‎
Seven students, four from Emory and three from other local colleges, spent Monday night in jail following a confrontation with Emory University officials who had ordered them off the campus quad. The protesters, representing Students …

Emory protesters arrested during student protest
Atlanta Journal Constitution – ‎Apr 26, 2011‎
AP School officials say that seven protesters at Emory University have been arrested on trespassing charges after refusing requests to leave a cluster of nine tents and canopies they had set up on the campus quadrangle. Emory said in a statement to The …

Emory University students arrested during campus protest for worker rights
Greenfield Daily Reporter – ‎Apr 26, 2011‎
AP DECATUR, Ga. — Seven students were arrested on trespassing charges at Emory University after refusing to leave a cluster of tents and canopies they had set up on the campus quad. Emory said in a statement that workers broke down and packed up most …

Police Arrest Seven for Trespassing on Quad
The Emory WheelRoshani Chokshi, Arianna Skibell – ‎Apr 26, 2011‎
Police arrested Roger Sikes, a second-year student in the Rollins School of Public Health, as well as six others yesterday on grounds of trespassing the Quadrangle. The group, which also included members of …

7 Arrested In Emory Student Protest
WSB Atlanta – ‎Apr 26, 2011‎
DECATUR, Ga. — Seven protesters at Emory University have been arrested on trespassing charges after refusing requests to leave a cluster of nine tents and canopies they had set up on the campus quadrangle, school officials said. …

Emory students arrested during student protest
WRCB-TV – ‎Apr 26, 2011‎
AP – April 26, 2011 6:24 AM ET DECATUR, Ga. (AP) – A group of Emory University students who had set up tents and camped out on the school’s quadrangle have been arrested. WAGA-TV reports that seven members of the group were arrested Monday night by …

SWS is Fighting Against Injustice
The Emory WheelMisty Novitch – ‎Apr 25, 2011‎
Students and Workers in Solidarity (SWS) is an Emory student organization. Our mission is to create a better working environment for all workers at Emory. We seek to do this by working in conjunction with workers and …

Student Protestors Arrested at Emory
MyFox Atlanta – ‎Apr 25, 2011‎
By MYFOXATLANTA STAFF/myfoxatlanta DECATUR, Ga. – Student protestors at Emory University say seven members of their group were arrested by campus police on Monday night. The students are protesting Emory’s business dealings with a food service company. …

Seven Students Arrested at Emory during Tent City Stand-off
Atlanta Progressive NewsMatthew Cardinale – ‎Apr 25, 2011‎
(APN) DEKALB COUNTY — Seven students were arrested during a stand-off with the Emory University administration tonight, Monday, April 25, 2011, Atlanta Progressive News has learned. Last week, APN reported that 150 students protested at Emory …

Protestors Camp Out on Quad
The Emory WheelTiffany Han – ‎Apr 22, 2011‎
More than 100 students and Emory community members rallied for Sodexo workers’ rights on the Quad yesterday and Wednesday afternoon. Speakers at Wednesday’s rally included Isaac Newton Farris, Jr., nephew of Martin …

Rally Features Notable Faces, Amasses Support
The Emory WheelLane Billings – ‎Apr 22, 2011‎
A group of students, faculty, staff and local community members gathered on the Quad Wednesday afternoon to rally against Emory’s contract with campus food provider Sodexo and hear speeches from supporters such as …

Our Opinion: Standing Up By Sitting Down
The Emory Wheel – ‎Apr 21, 2011‎
The purpose of these events was to bring attention to the claims of workers’ rights violations surrounding Sodexo,Emory’s campus food service provider, and to demand an end to the sub-contracted agreement that the University holds with Sodexo. …

Emory Students Occupy Building over Cafeteria Workers’ Rights
Atlanta Progressive NewsMatthew Cardinale – ‎Apr 21, 2011‎
(APN) DECATUR — About 150 students occupied the Administration Building at Emory University on Wednesday, April 20, 2011, for several hours. The students later left after numerous police arrived on the scene and threatened to arrest them, …

Emory students stage peaceful protest outside president’s office
Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Maureen Downey – ‎Apr 20, 2011‎
About two dozen Emory students protesting the treatment of subcontracted employees on the DeKalb campus are sitting outside the president’s office in an effort to confront him over what they deem the university’s indifference to the workers’ plight. …

Tulane

Video: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1695356792045

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UW-Madison

UW-Madison students protest plan to split from the system
Superior Telegram – April 27, 2011
Nearly 80 UW-Madison students staged a sit-in occupation inside Bascom Hall Tuesday, in an attempt to speak with Chancellor Biddy Martin. Nearly 80 UW-Madison students staged a sit-in occupation inside Bascom Hall Tuesday, in an attempt to speak with …

Badger Partnership spurs student activism
UW Badger HeraldGeorge LeVines – ‎ April 27, 2011
Student groups gather at the top of Bascom Hill to demonstrate their unhappiness with Chancellor Martin’s New Badger Partnership. By Katherine Krueger Students organized on opposing ends of State Street, in Bascom Hall and the Capitol to advocate for …

Campus Connection: UW-Madison chancellor meets with student protesters
Madison.com – ‎April 27, 2011
Students upset with Chancellor Biddy Martin for backing Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to break UW-Madison away from the UW System put “for sale” signs up outside Bascom Hall on Tuesday. Todd Finkelmeyer has been covering higher education for the Capital …

Students protest UW-Madison split with Bascom Hall sit-in
Madison.com – ‎April 27, 2011
UW-Madison students showed their displeasure over a proposed split of the main campus from the UW system by staging a sit-in in Bascom Hall Tuesday afternoon outside of Chancellor Biddy Martin’s office. The chancellor met with about 100 students and …

Students protest against, lobby for NBP
Daily CardinalBen Pierson – ‎April 27, 2011‎
Following a protest against the New Badger Partnership, Chancellor Biddy Martin addressed concerns with the proposal in an impromptu hour-and-a-half conversation Tuesday in Bascom Hall. On Bascom Tuesday, students, staff and members of the community …

Students Protest UW-Madison Split At Bascom Hall
WISC Madison – ‎Apr 26, 2011‎
MADISON, Wis. — University of Wisconsin-Madison students and campus community members are engaging in a sit-in at Bascom Hall to protest the idea of splitting UW-Madison from the rest of the UW System. Chanting the words “our house,” protesters

Students Show Dislike in Potential Tuition Increases
WMTV – ‎Apr 26, 2011‎
On Tuesday April 26, 2011 at approximately 1:00 PM a group of approximately 35 people entered Bascom Hall on the UW Madison campus, in an effort to show their displeasure with potential tuition increases. Chancellor Biddy Martin met with the group for …

On Campus: On two ends of State Street, two sides of UW-Madison debate
Wisconsin State Journal – ‎Apr 26, 2011‎
Student life, college news, and campus quirks, brought to you by State Journal reporter Deborah Ziff. Higher education reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. On opposite ends of State Street,
two student groups with radically different viewpoints …

Rutgers

Students take demands to Old Queens
RU Daily TargumCameron Stroud – ‎April 28, 2011
Members of Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) and the Rutgers United Student Coalition (RUSC) were present in the lobby area of McCormick’s office yesterday morning, said Jorge Casalins, RUSA parliamentarian.


Students at Rutgers Occupy a Building
New York TimesLisa W. Foderaro – ‎April 27, 2011
Demanding a tuition freeze, better wages for workers and a greater voice for students, about a dozen undergraduates at Rutgers University on Wednesday occupied Old Queens, the historic administration building in New Brunswick, NJ, …

Rutgers University students protest tuition hikes with sit-in inside …
NJ.comTom Haydon – ‎April 27, 2011
By Star-Ledger Staff Enlarge Star-Ledger Staff Rutgers University students holding a sit-in are told that they must leave, as they are in violation of university policy at the President’s Office on the Old Queens Campus at Somerset Street and George …

RU students held a sit in at the Presidents office on the Old Queens Campus
NJ.comWilliam Perlman – ‎April 27, 2011
By William Perlman/The Star-Ledger RU students held a sit in at the Presidents office on the Old Queens Campus on wednesday starting at around noon. The students as directed by Dr. Philip Furmanski, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at …

Support the Rutgers Sit-in!
Atlantic Highlands HeraldMolly Magier – April 27, 2011
Along with dozens of Rutgers students, I’m currently occupying President McCormick’s office, and we’re sitting in until our University President finally takes a stand with students by speaking out against the devastating tuition hikes and shows respect …

Rutgers Students Stage Sit-In Over Tuition Hikes
NBC New YorkBrian Thompson – ‎April 27, 2011
Nearly two dozen Rutgers students have occupied the university’s main administration building as part of a protest over rising tuition costs and other issues, and many of them are planning to stay overnight. …

Coalition strives to voice students’ requests
RU Daily Targum – ‎Apr 25, 2011‎
Some of the organizations include United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), Rutgers Student Union and BAKA: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice, she said. “We’re all about a student government that can produce concrete results,” said Clarke,

Undergrads seek boost in NJ higher education funds
BusinessWeek – ‎Apr 13, 2011‎
Rutgers University President Richard McCormick told a Senate budget panel Monday that the state’s four-year schools expect to hold tuition increases below 10 percent if Gov. Chris Christie’s budget is approved. The budget calls for $714 million in

Students rally against tuition hikes at Rutgers University
NJ.comMichael Monday – ‎Apr 13, 2011‎
By Michael Monday/The Star-Ledger Across the state this week, dozens of schools are participating in what they have named a Day of Action to raise awareness to their fight against rising tuition costs. On Wednesday, over 200 students at Rutgers

Rutgers students march in New Brunswick to protest tuition hikes, NJ funding cuts
The Star-Ledger – NJ.comKelly Heyboer – ‎Apr 13, 2011‎
By Kelly Heyboer/ The Star-Ledger Enlarge Patti Sapone/The Star-Ledger Rutgers student Patrick Ree, a junior in the School of Arts and Sciences, joins other students as they protest cuts to higher education funding. The “Day of Action” rally was held …

Students Rally for Higher Education Funding
News from RutgersJohn Chadwick – ‎Apr 13, 2011‎
Several hundred Rutgers University students gathered on Voorhees Mall Wednesday to protest state and federal cuts to higher education funding, which have contributed to tuition increases. The “Day of Action” was organized by a new …

N.J. students rally for more state aid to higher education
NorthJersey.comHannan Adely – ‎Apr 13, 2011‎
Students at New Jersey’s public universities held rallies, marches, teach-ins and lectures Wednesday as part a “Day of Action” to call for more state funding of higher education. New Jersey United Students, which organized the event, …

University of Texas – Austin

Students Occupy University of Texas President’s Office
KUT News – Nathan Bernier – ‎Apr 29, 2011
Six students occupied the office of University of Texas at Austin president Bill Powers, protesting what they say are “sweatshop conditions” in which Longhorns clothing is manufactured. “We have been asking for this affiliation for a very long time, …

Students occupy Powers’ office in attempt to gain support for Worker Rights Consortium
The Daily Texan – Lawrence Peart – May 2, 2011
A group of students occupied President William Powers Jr.’s office for about three hours Friday to convince him to sign a petition to join a workers’ rights group…