Clarksville, TN - On Sept. 26, students, including members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), joined parents, anti-war veterans and alumni of Austin Peay State University to resist Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recruitment on campus. Students petitioned the Office of Career Services, which invited the CIA to campus. The protesters were removed by force by the Clarksville Police Department as they questioned the CIA about their activities.
Speakers at the rally included U.S. Army veteran and concerned parent Lara Davis who said, “The CIA is responsible for or complicit in the killing of U.S. citizens, assassinations, torture, kidnapping, drug trafficking, overthrowing democratically elected governments and propping up military dictatorships and puppet governments.” Protesters surrounding the speakers held signs saying, “CIA off campus!”, “CIA, how many kids did you kill today?”, “CIA=Cocaine Importing Agency” and “Money for education, not for war!”
Another U.S. Army veteran and student, David Jennings said, “We stand in solidarity with Syrians in their struggle against CIA-trained and funded terrorists that compose the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’.” The rally was part of a nationwide week of actions in solidarity with the anti-war and international solidarity activists raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury two years ago this week.
After addressing the crowd opposing CIA crimes, protesters marched on the Office of Career Services and delivered a petition with over 125 signatures. The petition urged the university administration to uphold the student code of conduct - specifically that the university not allow any organization that routinely violates international law, commits human rights abuses, and/or operates in contradiction with the high standards outlined in the student code of conduct, to organize or recruit students on the Austin Peay State University campus.
Later, several people from the rally went into the CIA recruitment event and attempted to question the CIA representatives directly about their involvement in torture, assassinations, overthrowing democratically elected governments and other crimes. The CIA offered no response to these questions. Students handed out flyers with a timeline detailing the CIA’s nefarious actions since its establishment. The flyers called for an end to repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists. Then, members of the Clarksville police department forcibly dragged an SDS member out of the room, snatched the flyers out of his hands, and threatened to arrest everyone if they continued to hand out flyers, question the CIA, or otherwise exercise free speech and free assembly in the student union.