Occidental Student Protesters End Occupation

Occidental College protest (Twitter / @mikachooooo)
Twitter / @mikachooooo

Student protesters at Occidental College have ended their six-day occupation of the school’s Arthur G. Coons Administrative Center building. And they have vowed to continue their fight against alleged racial bias at the privately-funded liberal arts institution.

“While the occupation is over, the movement is not,” one of the student movement leaders Abhilasha Bhola reportedly said, according to the Los Angeles Times

Leaders of the student movement, which operated under the banner of Oxy United for Black Liberation–a coalition created by members of Occidental’s Black Student Alliance and a group called Coalition at Oxy for Diversity and Equity (CODE)–had sought to pressure President Jonathan Veitch to resign. They failed, however, in their attempt to recreate the same scenario which took place at the University of Missouri just one week earlier. Activists from the Black Lives Matter movement were also involved in the protests.

“The occupation has always been a strategy to accomplish our political demands, not the crux of our movement.” pic.twitter.com/EU4YJv7BHB

— OxyUnited (@OxyUnited) November 21, 2015

Despite Veitch’s refusal to capitulate to the occupiers’ demands that he step down, he and all 80-plus members of the school’s faculty council announced on Thursday their general support for the students’ other 13 demands, which include the creation of a “fully funded and staffed Black Studies Program,” increasing funding for diversity initiatives, training all campus staff on minority student needs, and the “demilitarization” of unarmed campus safety by the removal of their bullet proof vests.

Campus security told Breitbart News these vests are their only line of defense against harm. The Times notes that on Friday Veitch announced a December 15 deadline by which the college would form committees to oversee progress on the diversity initiatives and to review campus safety practices.

On Friday, student protesters kicked this Breitbart News reporter out of their “safe space,” saying they felt that as an “adult” she was a threat to them.

An additional $13,000 in funding will also reportedly be delivered to the Intercultural Affairs Office by this Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Stanford University students also ended their occupation of the administration office on Friday after the school’s President John Hennessy said in a private meeting with the student protesters that he would propose to the board of trustees the student’s demands for divestment from the school’s investment in fossil fuel companies.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, during a 40-minute meeting, Hennessy told the Fossil Free Stanford student protesters that although he would take the proposal to the board for a vote, it was unlikely the trustees would vote in favor of it. Group organizer Michael Penuelas reportedly said the next step for Fossil Free Stanford will be to encourage alumni to withhold donations from the university until the administration has fully pledged it will go through with the group’s recommendations.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.


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