When the Students Go Marching In

Alex Serrano

Communications & New Media Major

 

As some of you may know, a march took place on Wednesday, April 13th at high noon. A humble fifteen students attended the march that day, waving signs with slogans like “Student Debt Is Another Kind Of Prison” and “$8/hr. Is Not A Living Wage,” and chanted along with a bullhorned organizer.

StudentProtest22The march was part of a nation-wide movement called the “Million Student March.” Million Student March, a movement spanning the nation’s campuses, had four goals that day. 1) free public college education, 2) forgiveness of all student debt, 3) $15/hr for all campus workers, and 4) divestment from private prisons by all colleges and universities. By and large, the movement had been a success. One hundred and fifteen campuses across the nation marched in solidarity, and thanks to the amateur organizing skills of myself, Alex Serrano, the SMCC campus was involved.

No fewer than three news vans showed  up that day, garnering interviews and testimonials from the marchers. SMCC marchers are quoted extensively. Shawna Benjamin is quoted by WCSH6 as saying “I think about them just piling up. The more school I go to, the more debt I’m going into.[…] I feel like if we move funding to the right places, it could happen. If it was a little less, it would be a little helpful for more college students.”

Justin Scott, quoted by WMTW8, says “When I’m done with school, it’ll proba-
bly be around $50,000-$60,000 worth of debt […] I am in social work as well so it’s going to be a long time before I get that all paid off.”

StudentProtest8Turnout, while not overly impressive, the movement nevertheless managed to catch the attention of “The Man,” President Ronald Cantor, enough to give a statement to WCSH6. Giving a typical yet topical statement, President Cantor was careful not to reveal any political leaning at all, and stuck to the facts, however vague. “More and more we’re seeing students do two years with us and then transfer on, and a lot of that is driven by the realities of the economics,” said  President Cantor. “It’s challenging in today’s society to deliver high quality education at an affordable price.”StudentProtest9.jpg

Whatever effect this demonstration of civil non-complacency has on the campus and the country, just the sight of students marching was invigorating and sobering. As we all know, the narrative set by corporate media thus far has been one of apathetic, greedy, and overly-sensitive college students with no appreciation for hard work or the system. Being politically active directly challenges that tired narrative, and leads us to bigger movements, bigger targets, and a greater national consciousness of progressives. So get up, stand out, and fight for what you believe in.

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