'SFSU 10' Suspension Revoked
Anti-war groups say administration sides with war
April 24, 2006 10:57 AM
Students from various advocacy groups criticized university administration and demanded charges be dropped against ten students at an outdoor press conference just outside university boundaries.
The press conference - which took place around the corner of 19th and Holloway avenues on April 17 at 11 a.m. - included speakers from Students Against War (SAW), the Immigrant Rights Coalition, the Campus Antiwar Network, and Todd Chretien, the Green Party candidate for the Senate. The speakers argued that their rights to free speech and to protest are being abridged by university administration.
The students, referred to as the “SFSU 10,” faced up to two weeks suspension from the campus for their participation in a protest against military recruiters at a career fair on Friday, April 14.
The administration rescinded the suspension later on the day of the press conference, according to the Director of Public Affairs Ellen Griffin.
“Our rights to be on campus were revoked,” said 18 year-old freshman Karen Knoller, one of the ten students who faced suspension before being informed of the suspension’s reduction. “It’s really clear to me that this campus and President Corrigan stand behind military recruiters and stand behind the war.”
According to participants, the protest on Friday consisted of a small group of students holding signs and chanting. They said the group was nonviolent and did not attempt to block the recruiters.
“We were about 25 feet away from the recruiters, we started chanting,” said Doniella Maher, a 25 year-old graduate student in comparative literature, who also faced suspension. “For about 45 minutes to an hour, nothing happened. We were not warned. Then, ten police officers surrounded us and informed us we were being detained.”
The campus police could not be reached for comment.
Michael Hoffman, a 25 year-old mathematics graduate student, said the important issue is to keep the administration aware of their existence and their position.
“We’ve reminded them that they have a fight on their hands,” Hoffman said. “We are going to take a stand on this campus.”
Carl Clark, a 21 year-old political science major and president of the SF State College Republicans, was also at the career fair on Friday. Clark said the protesters were loud and unruly, making it difficult for the career fair to operate.
“They were told multiple times to stop and they didn’t stop,” said Clark. “They were disrupting the entire event.”
Clark said he doesn’t have a problem with students protesting the war and military recruiters as long as they stay outside and don’t cause a disturbance.
“When people protest downtown, they stay outside City Hall. They don’t go in and disrupt what’s going on,” he said.
“As I saw it, they started screaming,” said 22 year-old criminal justice major Rob Journey, a member of the College Republicans who witnessed the incident. “They were stomping on the floor, yelling. They have a different interpretation of what free speech is.”
“They would want to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater,” added Gator GOP Spokesman Leigh Wolf. “They showed blatant disregard for administration and for authority.”
Knoller said that she got the message later on Monday that she could to return to campus, and was glad to be allowed to return to her on-campus apartment, but she doesn’t think the administration will drop the issue.
“We’re pretty sure they’re going to try to disband SAW,” she said.
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