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UCSC Students Kick Military Recruiters Off Campus

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Earlier today, about 300 UC Santa Cruz students led by Students Against War (SAW) kicked Army, Navy and Marine Corps recruiters out of the annual Career Center Job Fair, marking yet another success for the nation-wide counter-military recruitment campaign.

Joined by Watsonville’s Brown Berets, SAW protesters gathered for a rally at the campus bookstore and occupied the streets in a traffic-stopping procession up to the Stevenson Event Center where the Job Fair was being held. Students were motivated by fiery speeches about the racist, sexist, classist and heterosexist biases of the military, all of which are in violation of the UC Santa Cruz’s non-discrimination policies.

As the march began, a small group of students infiltrated the Job Fair and surrounded recruiter’s tables, chanting and linking arms. This small group was soon joined by more students from the march who pushed their way through front and side doors, chanting, “Whose Campus? Our Campus!? as Job Fair administrations attempted to literally shove them out the door.

Ultimately, 100 students were able to surround recruiters’ tables while the remaining 200 marchers stayed outside the Event Center, blocking the entrances and chanting in support of those on the inside.

Student negotiators struck a bargain with the Career Center Administrators after SAW protestors had occupied the Job Fair for about an hour. Protesters agreed to stop the disruption and leave the Job Fair once recruiters left the site and did not return. After all the military recruiters received a police escort out of the Event Center, protesters were granted a make-shift booth where a few representatives could remain at the Job Fair to educate students about anti-military, pro-peace options for future employment.

Student negotiators also arranged for a future meeting with Career Center Administrators and Students Against War (SAW) to discuss the future of military recruitment at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

UCSC is not the only college in the nation to take action against on-campus military recruitment. Students at San Francisco State University, the City College of New York and UW-Madison have all recently staged successful counter-recruitment actions on their campuses.

For more info e-mail: UCSC_antiwar (at) yahoogroups.com or counterrecruitment (at) yahoo.com or call (831) 459-0943.
 
 


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From the Mouths of Students

UCSC Students had something to say about Armed Forces recruiters on their campus. Here are their thoughts.
From Alexis, an organizer.

On Why She Was There:

" I want the military off our campus... and to stop recruiting in poor/communities of color.

(Effectively), we have a poverty draft which functions as a nominally volunteer army. People aren't given a choice to attend college instead of joining the military."

Feelings About the Career Fair Shutting Their Doors:

"I can sympathize with the people who are shut out of the job fair, but I hope they understand the similarity between their situation and those who are shut out of education and forced into the military."

__________________________________________________________

From Juan, a well-groomed, yet shirtless student.

What He Was Doing There:

".. Came out to support the demonstration. I tried to get into the career fair but they wouldn't let us in. They decided that we didn't look like career fair people."

Why:

"I don't support the military's actions so when they come here, it's important to let them know."

____________________________________________________________

From Karen L.

Why She Was There:

"I'm against military recruiting, especially because they (single out) people of color and discriminate against women.

I went to Monroe High School in the San Fernando Valley where there was a high percentage of Hispanic and Black males and the recruiters were ALWAYS there. They ended up talking a couple of my friends into it. My brother was recruited into military service and so was my cousin. In fact, she was sent to Iraq and spent six months there. She was pregnant, came back and had the baby. When the baby was only three months, she was sent back to Iraq."

What Happened to Her Family:

"The baby was totally traumatized. She cried whenever her mom left and never wanted her to leave. She (the baby) experienced trouble bonding as a result."
 

Thanks for the accurate coverage

Thanks SC Indymedia contributors for the accurate accounts of this story. I was there for most of the action and spoke to many of those who were in the career fair area.

Although this was a slightly boisterous but completely nonviolent action, the local corporate media would have people believe otherwise. The only picture it featured was one in which it appeared that someone was getting "roughed up." (There were no major physical confrontations to my knowledge.) The reporter also neglected to get ANY quotes from the people there in support of the action. She must have had to search very hard for the few detractors, because everyone I saw there was supporting the demonstration.

This is yet one more reason why I Indymedia is such a crucial tool for successful activism. It's important for people to be able to get the truth out.
 

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