Drop the Charges and Stop the Harassment Against the Hampton University Students Against the Bush Regime!
Revolution #026, December 12, 2005, posted at revcom.us
This is a statement issued by The World Can't Wait and initially signed by Sunsara Taylor, Revolution newspaper; Allen Lang, National Student Organizer, World Can't Wait; and Howard Zinn, historian and author.
Students who act as part of the national movement to Drive Out the Bush Regime because The World Can't Wait, especially when they remain firm in the face of police harassment and administrative threats, are heroic, must be defended, and their example must be followed by many others.
Students at Hampton University took part in the November 2nd launch of a movement to drive out the Bush regime. In the course of organizing, they were followed by campus police, targeted by video surveillance, and forced to turn over their ID's for the simple act of distributing literature. That these students were targeted for the content of their activities is clearly demonstrated by the fact that other students routinely post unauthorized flyers (often with scantily clad women advertising parties) without any harassment.
On Friday, November 18th, weeks after November 2nd, 3 student organizers were issued summons for a hearing over possible expulsion the following Monday morning, giving them no time during the work week to contact lawyers, parents, or campus administrators. After hundreds of phone-calls from around the country to the Dean's Office, their hearing was postponed. Days later, 4 more students were issued summons and campus police shut down an interview being filmed by the local media, attempting to prevent their story from getting out.
The attacks on the student organizers at Hampton University, a historically black college with a mostly Republican administration, is an ugly harbinger of the "dissent-free" future the Bush regime is trying to lock into place.
These attacks are part of a pattern of repression against high school and college students nation-wide on November 2nd that disproportionately targeted black, Latino and other oppressed students.
A standard cannot be set where the President of the United States can stay on vacation as a major city's poor and Black people are left for five days without food or water, where influential friends of this President are allowed to float out genocidal notions of aborting all Black babies to bring crime rates down, and where the President's policies of "abstinence-only" in the face of an international AIDS pandemic threaten millions of lives, but where students who dare to speak the truth about this and act to end this are silenced and expelled from school.
As it says in the Call for The World Can't Wait--Drive Out the Bush Regime, "This will not be easy. If we speak the truth, they will try to silence us. If we act, they will to try to stop us. But we speak for the majority, here and around the world, and as we get this going we are going to reach out to the people who have been so badly fooled by Bush and we are NOT going to stop."
We, the undersigned, demand that the Hampton University administration to drop all charges against, cease their political harassment of, and to apologize to these students. These students must not be expelled! We also call on students at campuses nation-wide to send statements of support, and to join, strengthen and support the movement to Drive Out the Bush Regime because the World Can't Wait!
This statement has been signed by hundreds of academics and others. (An updated list of signatories is online at worldcantwait.org.) Among the signatories are:
Jill Cutler, assistant dean, Yale College*
Thulani Davis, writer
Michael Eric Dyson, author, Is Bill Cosby Right?
Barbara Ehrenreich, author, Nickled and Dimed
John Gerassi, author and professor of political science, CUNY*
Hettie Jones, writer
Emily Kawano, executive director, Center for Popular Economics*
Robin D. G. Kelley, William B. Ransford Professor of Cultural and Historical Studies, Columbia University*
Robert Meerpol, executive director, Rosenberg Fund for Children*
National Conference of Black Political Scientists
Jill Nelson, journalist/writer, Police Brutality: An Anthology
Efia Nwangaza, executive director, African American Institute for Policy Studies & Planning*
Jeremy Pikser, screenwriter, "Bullworth"
Katha Pollitt, writer, The Nation*
Ruth Rosen, Professor Emerita, U.C. Davis*
Ajamu Sankofa, executive director, Physicians for Social Responsibility, New York*
Donald H. Smith, Ph.D., past president, the National Alliance of Black School Educators*
Gloria Steinem, author, activist
Nancy Talanian, director, Bill of Rights Defense Committee*
Paul C. Taylor, Morehouse, Chair of Philosophy at Temple University*
Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution, Co-Initiator of The World Can’t Wait – Drive Out the Bush Regime!
Lawrence Weschler, director, New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU*
Howard Zinn, Historian and Author
*affiliations for identification purposes only