Freedom University

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Ban the Board!

On November 8th, 2011, GSPHE teamed up with our comrades in Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA) to take on the Board of Regents and their racist policy 4.1.6. GSPHE held a rally and speak out in the courtyard of Georgia State University and proceeded to march to the Regents meeting to meet GUYA. Plans to hold a press conference were halted when the police denied our right to free speech and assembly under a false pretense that we were blocking the sidewalk (seen here).

A member of GSPHE at UGA, Juan, alongside Keish, a member of GUYA, spoke out against the ban (seen here and here respectively). They were the first outside voice to speak about the ban, ever. The ACLU’s request to speak on the issue last year was denied. But hey, the Board of Regents ‘represent’ us, right?

After the meeting concluded, GSPHE called a “mic check”, starting a People’s Assembly, the transcript of which is below.

The Regents quickly exited the meeting room as we continued our People’s Assembly. Some students sat in the Regents’ seats, others blocked the main door of the room with a banner saying “REFUSE THE BAN” to prevent the Regents members from leaving.

We then proceeded to follow the Board of Regents down the hall and we continued to chant and yell “WHEN EDUCATION IS UNDER ATTACK, WHAT DO WE DO? STAND UP FIGHT BACK!”  The police then blocked us from walking further down the hallway.

At this time, the press arrived and pretended to act as if this is a neutral issue, with both sides being respectable. For the rest of us who actually understand race relations, we know there are two sides here – each on the respective side of history. One side chooses to scapegoat immigrants for a crisis they didn’t create and the other side stands in solidarity with them. The press asked Regents member Jennings “Do you have any thoughts on the presentation?” to which he responded, “not really.”

When we walked to the Capitol we held a short de-brief meeting to discuss what happened. Only 5 minutes after we all gathered and began our meeting, a Capitol Police Officer approached us and asked us to move from our meeting space even though we were on public property. Once again the Police denied our right to free speech and free assembly, showing no restraint in defending a racist system that we live in.

This fight is not over. With every strike they make against the people, we organize, grow and resist. Georgia Students, stand up!

(begin transcript)

MIC CHECK! Attention concerned peoples and community members of the University System of Georgia! We, the students, call for a PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY for an immediate discussion of the assault on higher education! USG policy 4.1.6 is a blatant attack on immigrant youth in Georgia – immigrant youth who have been denied any place in our society, and are denied any opportunity of a decent future!  We demand an immediate lifting of the ban!

EDUCATION NOT DEPORTATION!

EDUCATION NOT DEPORTATION!

The Board of Regents continue to increase our fees and raise tuition – tuition has increased 49% and fees have increased 87% since 2007 – at the same time university presidents and the Chancellor continue to make six figure salaries on the backs of WORKING CLASS STUDENTS!!

The Board of Regents is composed of corporate CEOS, bankers, and politicians – hardly any of the board members have experience in education! We demand democratic decision-making power by the students. Faculty, and workers!

WHOSE SCHOOLS?

OUR SCHOOLS!

{end transcript}

Update and Thank You

(please note: this is a proclamation for people arrested on the night of Troy Davis’ death, from Atlanta to Jackson. These people and their actions were outside the realm of this GSPHE as an organization)

Thanks to all of you for your financial contributions for the arrested on the night of Troy Davis’ murder on September 22. It is in times of crisis when we realize we must have unwavering support for each other, and everyone deeply appreciates the help received from the Atlanta community.

The funds gathered through our PayPal account, the fundraiser party, and other donations given throughout the week paid for bail for those arrested. The charges are obstruction of a police officer, wearing a mask to conceal identification, and simple battery. All three charges are misdemeanors.

However, those arrested need support in the coming months in regards to a successful defense. The rest of the amount will be spent on other legal/court fees, and the court date and details of the finances are still pending.

We will keep you informed as more details emerge. Thank you for your continued support.

Solidarity

GSPHE in Solidarity with the Irvine 11

On September 23, 2011, ten students from the UC system called the Irvine 11 were found guilty of conspiracy and disturbing the peace. The case began in February 2010 when eleven students disrupted a speech by Michael Oren to protest the injustices committed through Israeli force and propaganda.  The students left peacefully but were then arrested.

Currently, the Muslim Student Union (MSU) at UC Irvine was suspended for one quarter and continues to face probation for two academic years. The Orange County District Attorney’s office charged the Irvine 11 with “breaking the law by organizing in emails and meetings to disrupt Oren’s speech.”

It is obvious that the Irvine 11 were prosecuted because of the nature of the Israeli occupation and because the students are Muslim. Israel has shown itself committed to repressing not only the people of Palestine, but of all forms of solidarity with the people of Palestine. Israel has been a collaborator in the creation of islamaphobia, in an effort to equate muslims and brown people, and therefore Palestinians, as terrorists.

We are completely appalled with the jury’s ruling and it is deeply troubling that California announced this verdict only a day after Troy Davis’ death and we must acknowledge the parallels between both cases.  Both cases involve repression of a minority people of color. Both cases help to illuminate their condition within the United States in particular and within a system of racism in general.

The prosecutors see concerned peoples and community members organizing themselves to make their voices heard as acting out against the law. Equating “organizing in meetings and emails” to “breaking the law” would be laughable if the attack on the Irvine 11 wasn’t already clouded with more critical and difficult issues – such as our incredibly unjust court system, state repression and the occupation of Palestine. The UC system chose to make an example out of the Irvine 11 and stifle all forms of student protests throughout the state, setting a dangerous precedent for free speech and political organizing.

We stand in full solidarity with the Irvine 11 and we will continue to support all efforts to make change from below for emancipatory education and environment. Likewise, we stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine!

Listen world, you will see! Palestine will be free!

Summer Conference 2011 Schedule

*Housing will be provided for those who need it.*

—-Register today!—-

Funk the Cuts!

GSPHE Summer Conference 2011

Friday July 22nd
3:00-8:00pm Registration
6-8:00pm THE STUDENT REVOLT AND THE FIGHT AGAINST THE CUTS. Having a panel of student speakers on the state of public education and the various fight backs in the city, state, nation, and the world.

Saturday July 23rd
9:30-12:00 pm: Brunch in Hurt Park/ informal exchange and go over the agenda and ground rules/expectations of the conference
12:00-2:230 pm: Workshop Session I

2:30-2:45: pm Break

2:45-5:00 pm: Session II

5:00-11:00 pm Attendees are welcome to pursue their own dinners and then head to MINT gallery for art and music

 Sunday July 24th
10:00-12:00 pm: BRUNCH at Hurt Park
12:00-2:30 pm: The International Student Movement

2:45-5:00 pm: Next Steps. What kind of movement do we need in Georgia?