Minneapolis, MN - The University of Minnesota Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) chapter infiltrated the ‘Welcome Week’ convocation to drop banners, Sept. 3. Convocation at the University of Minnesota has historically been an event to welcome thousands of new students to the university and sing the praises of the university administration. ‘Welcome Week’ is increasingly closed off to any issue that runs counter to the administration’s message.
The goal of the SDS action was to kick off their Save Our School (S.O.S.) campaign. “It’s an S.O.S. call,” says member Andrew Somers, “Things at our school are not right, and it’s time that SDS join with other forces on campus to start fighting for justice and against absurd administrative salaries at a time of budget crisis and tuition hikes.”
The group was able to drop two banners during university President Bruininks’s address. The banners read, “Bruininks we can’t afford your mansion anymore. Cut administrative salaries! No more tuition hikes!” and “We pay Bruininks $700,000+ per year to lay off thousands of workers.” The action interrupted the president’s speech and the building was locked down because of the disruption.
S.O.S. is a campaign about economic justice, uniting students with the lowest paid workers on campus to put pressure on the university administration. The campaign demands things like more student oversight of the budget, more scholarships for working-class and low-income students and cuts to administrative salaries rather than laying off staff.
As Grace Kelley states, “It is an insult that our tuition dollars go to building new stadiums and funding Bruininks’s mansion when many students are struggling to go to this land grant institution. This is an issue that people across the board can relate to.”
The University of Minnesota SDS is confident that their S.O.S. call will be a force to be reckoned with on campus this year.