Students Against State Violence voted Sunday night at its first mass meeting of the semester to ratify three demands, which were the dissolution of the IU Police Department, a restructuring of the Office of Student Ethics and a change in general education requirements. They also voted to approve a mass demonstration.
SASV, an organization active on campus since fall 2014, works against poverty, deportation, militarism, police violence and the prison system.
The first demand aims to redirect funds toward educational resources for underrepresented minority students and faculty and students from low-income backgrounds by dissolving IUPD and the IU Police Academy.
The second demand focuses on imposing immediate consequences on perpetrators of sexual assault by restructuring the OES to make it autonomous.
The third demand aims to educate students, faculty and staff on social justice by shifting the priorities of general education requirements.
After presenting the demands, meeting facilitator Keenan Rhodes instructed attendees to discuss the points and supporting statistics at their tables.
“We’re not here to show off our ego, show off how much we know,” Rhodes said, addressing eight round tables full of people in the Neal-Marshall Grand Hall. “We’re here to build with one another.”
Conversation waned after about 15 minutes after focusing on precision of language and questions about how the demands could be carried out.
“Time to bring it back to the big circle,” Rhodes said.
After each table presented their main points of discussion, hands raised to vote on each individual demand.
A sea of hands greeted each one to indicate overwhelming support.
“Y’all are really loving this,” Rhodes said after seeing the response to the second demand. “I’m loving y’all.”
Rhodes said each demand is open to refining with more group discussion.
The final vote of the evening approved a proposed mass demonstration during Homecoming on Oct. 15. The goals of the protest, which is still in the planning stage, include embarrassing the administration in front of donors, disrupting the process of the event and ultimately presenting the three major demands to the wider student body.
People attended the meeting for countless reasons.
Bella Chavez, a senior studying microbiology, said she came because the government does not work for people like her, a Chicana originally from a working class family on the south side of Chicago.
“No matter what you do in life, especially as a doctor, you’re going to have to deal with issues like this,” Chavez said, referring to social justice topics like race and gender inequality. “If more people realize that, I think the want to go into diversity classes would be greater.”
Stanley Njuguna, a sophomore involved with IU Students for a Democratic Society, said he came because he doesn’t want to waste the power he has as a student.
“As someone who is constantly civically engaged, you come across people who are always wondering what they can do to be involved, what they can do to make a dent on these large, national, systematic issues that feel too far beyond them,” he said. “And I’m very glad that each of you is here today because we are creating that outlet for our fellow students and community members.”
Elijah Pouges, a junior involved in the IU Black Student Union, said he came because systems are broken and he has never seen IUPD function in a way that makes campus safe.
“I’m here tonight to stand up for new truths that I’ve come to believe,” he said.
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