UO students occupy Johnson Hall steps, Springfield schools move to remote

UO students occupy steps of Johnson hall: divest, disarm, democratize

On Sunday night, a group of three UO students chained themselves and began occupying the steps of Johnson Hall, the university’s administration building. While not tied to any one group the protestors share a common spirit in their demands to fights that have been going on for at least a decade. Those chained to the doors were joined by dozens of other students occupying the lawn of the hall.

The night began with a benefit concert at Washburne Park to raise money for local BIPOC organizations including BIPOC Liberation collective. As the music concluded organizers called for a march where they went shortly over to the University of Oregon. They began providing speeches in front of Johnson Hall.

“From rising tuition rates driving gentrification throughout the area, to investments in the fossil fuel industry fueling climate change around the globe, the University of Oregon is not operating in a vacuum. It is time that the student body and our community at large can hold them accountable for their actions,” Patrick Schranck, an organizer with Reclaim UO and a student at the University said.

Rhiannon Lindgren, Vice President of Organizing of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation (GTFF) noted the unaccountability of the Board of Trustees, “Empowering the University of Oregon community to fight against white supremacy in both its daily and institutional iterations means providing direct and sustainable ways for students and workers to impact the governance of our campus. As it stands now, the appointment process and functionality of the Board of Trustees does not produce accountability, but instead, it suppresses the needs of students and employees and avoids implementing the material changes necessary for all students and workers at the UO to flourish.”

Protestors provided three demands:

  1. Divest from fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy

  2. Disarm UOPD as a first step to disbanding the entire institution

  3. Democratize their Board of Trustees and create a university accountable to students, staff, faculty and the surrounding community

While focused on the community they drew ties to the racial justice, anti-imperialist, and anti-capitalist movements.

Following the speeches protestors took over the lawn. They showed a committed relationship to change, but were also friendly and open. Organizers provided Sizzle Pie pizza and Burritos Brigade burritos. They played leftist music, and interspersed readings of poetry and zines.

As of this Sunday night writing, protestors continue to occupy the steps and lawn of Johnson Hall.

Springfield moves all grades to distance learning

Springfield Public Schools moved instruction for all grades to remote for all grades late last week in light of the surge of COVID-19 surge in Lane County. Reversing the previous decision to have in-person teaching for K-3 students.

Lane County continues to break its own records for COVID-19 cases. On Saturday, the Oregon Health Authority reported an astounding 81 new cases in Lane County, the highest daily count any time during this pandemic. The most cases come from the 21-30 age group followed by 11-20. Currently Lane County is reporting 237 infectious cases and 20 deaths to date.

Lane County Public Health spokesperson Jason Davis said the county could return to phase 1 if the surge continues, but did not provide a metric.

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