UO student protestors land meeting with Pres. Schill after sit-in

Plus brief history of protests at UO in special midweek issue

Late Tuesday afternoon President Schill approached the three protestors who chained themselves to Johnson Hall for an impromptu meeting. Schill after hearing the stated demands agreed to set up a meeting for next week between the university administration and the protestors. That evening the protestors provided an update to the greater community and celebrating success. After 21 hours the protestors achieving their initial goal, unlocked themselves from Johnson Hall.

The activists outlined five guidelines for the meeting with Schill and the rest of the administration:

  1. They require that this meeting will occur by the end of Week 3 of Fall 2020 Term.

  2. They require this meeting to be held in the EMU fishbowl with appropriate COVID-19 measures, sound systems, and live reporting. They also demand a recording of the meeting and streaming for those who can’t attend in person in order to create a true sense of transparency and accountability in the next steps on the path toward climate and racial justice.

  3. They require that one representative from each one of the community groups listed on the back of the original demands is invited to attend the meeting in a collaborative capacity.

  4. They require President Schill and his colleagues prepared to provide three concrete proposals to address the three main tenets of their demands; DIVEST, DISARM, and DEMOCRATIZE.

  5. They require that a facilitator of their choice be present during the entire length of the meeting.

The activists noted how it was through direct action that they were able to get recognized and achieve their first goal in under 24 hours. The related coalition of Reclaim UO has been organizing since winter earlier this year with similar demands and shared goal of getting a meeting with the administration. Previous to that coalition there was the UO Student Collective and before that there was a different iteration that was a collection of undergrads, GEs, staff, and faculty.

The tactic of the sit in at Johnson Hall has often been used by student activists, but this one had a fresh take. Last year the GTFF held a sit-in during contract negotiations. Students sat in during winter 2016 calling on the university to divest from fossil fuels. A protest that led Schill and the administration to consider restricting protesting on campus, but then later dropped the proposal. One of the more written about sit-ins was the protest against the universities support of Nike and its use of sweatshop labor. The most recent protest at Johnson Hall was a bit different in that students actually chained themselves to doors of Johnson Hall. Also of note was how they were still able to draw a crowd during a time where the university is majority distance learning. Activists aimed to create their own atmosphere with music, food, and a friendly face towards newer students.

The ASUO executive also responded to the protestors Tuesday, with a memorandum about disarming UOPD.

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