The UW Oshkosh Students for a Democratic Society held a protest last Tuesday to speak up about issues involving President Trump’s plan to put an end to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
According to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, DACA is a plan put in place for certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines who may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization under deferred action.
The SDS also created a list of demands they marched over to Chancellor Andrew Leavitt’s office, where they delivered it to Leavitt’s chief of staff.
UWO student Zach Herriges is part of the group that protested and explained the protest was a work in progress over the past several months.
“The demonstration was led by SDS, a radical student organization centered on direct action in order to increase the level of student democracy on campus,” Herriges said. “We were demonstrating in opposition to the Trump administration’s plan to end DACA, which Congress was supposed to come to decision on by the fifth. The primary purpose of the demonstration was to announce a list of demands that we developed over the course of the last several months.”
Herriges said adopting UWO as a sanctuary campus is priority number one.
“The first and foremost demand was for the immediate adoption of sanctuary campus status at UWO, something which the chancellor has refused to do to this point, despite the OSA voting on a resolution last semester,” Herriges said.
Herriges said the protest took place all over campus, ending in the chancellor’s office with the delivery of the demands list.
“We started by the Amphitheater behind Reeve,” Herriges said. “We marched into Reeve with signs, marched around campus until we came to Dempsey Hall, where we read our list of demands and ended the event by delivering the list of demands to the Chancellor’s office where he wasn’t available, so we left the list with his chief of staff and set up a future meeting with the Chancellor on March 27.”
Herriges said the UWO police stopped the group due to rules that were violated with the University’s policy.
“When we began to read off the list of demands and were then confronted by the UWO police for violating several of their policies, such as not telling them six weeks in advance of the event in order to use a megaphone and having signs with sticks,” Herriges said.
According to Herriges, this is not the first time the group has had problems with UWOPD.
“This is not the first time the UWO Police has “targeted” our group, as last semester we held an event called ‘Speak out against racism,’ and a cop stood by us the entire time for holding signs supporting Dreamers between Clow and Radford last November,” Herriges said.
Leavitt said there has been previous attempts made to meet with this group, but there were troubles due to other emergency events.
“I was contacted by the student representative of the group, but the meeting was postponed because of the emergency weather situation we had on campus,” Leavitt said.
Leavitt said he was away at a news event in Green Bay when the protest happened and the list was delivered, but added that he is more than willing to go through all of the demands with the students to reach an agreement each party is happy with.
“There are six pages to go through and there are already changes being made here at UWO,” Leavitt said. “I acknowledge that there are still other changes that need to be made.”
Leavitt said he plans to meet with the Students for a Democratic Society on March 27 at 11 a.m.
Leavitt said one of the items on the list he strongly agrees with is the problematic lack of faculty of color at the University.
“One of my concerns is the number of faculty we have who are of color,” Leavitt said. “I certainly agree that there needs to be more.”