Professors continue to protest Trump’s presidency

Madison Weaver, Assistant News Editor

Students crossing the snowy Malesardi Quadrangle on Feb. 9 heard a SpeakOut initiated and attended by University professors, who wanted to comment on and protest against the recent nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general and the appointment of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education.

The SpeakOut was initiated by Professor of English and Director of Graduate Studies in English Michael Drexler, who spoke at the event and made a bullhorn available to others, as well as posting the event in the Message Center and on social media.

“I did one of the teach-ins on online activism at the last rally and some students were asking ‘What can we do?’ And the last thing I said to them was ‘You come here. And I’ll be here. I’ll be there every time that there is something to speak out about.’ I felt personally that I owed them to follow up on my promise,” Drexler said in reference to using the quadrangle as a gathering place.

Professor of English and Posse Foundation Mentor Saundra Morris read a letter written by Coretta Scott King opposing the 1986 nomination of Jeff Sessions for federal judge.

“I think that education is crucial, especially for a university setting and I think that we were communicating facts more than anything else,” Morris said.

On Feb. 7, Senator Elizabeth Warren began reading part of the letter at the Senate, but was barred from finishing due to a conduct rule that prevents a Senate member from speaking ill of another member.

Morris also read a letter from a six-year-old boy who asked to bring a young Syrian boy into his home and offered to share his toys.

“In the spirit of intersectionality, I would like to read now … a letter to President Obama from a young boy in America offering to a little boy who sat bleeding on a train in Syria into his home as a brother. President Obama welcomed the family into the White House the day after the election,” Morris said.

“That’s a patriotic American,” Drexler said, in response to the reading of the letter.

Other professors in attendance agreed that such events are important to provide. Many students, despite walking in snow and freezing temperatures, stopped momentarily to hear what speakers had to say.

“As a University we have the obligation to speak out against injustice and scandal and incompetence. This is our obligation as a place of higher learning. If we don’t do it, we become bystanders,” Professor of English Harold Schweizer said.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we have to continue relentlessly to persevere,” Morris said, referencing the need for similar events to continue on campus.

Drexler is a primary organizer for a full-day event taking place on Feb. 17 called Strike4Democracy, which is a national movement with the goal of “stand[ing] up for America’s democratic principles.”

“As the nation suffers through ICE raids, travel bans, Trump’s mobilization on the border wall, as well as attacks on the rights of workers, women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and our environment, February 17th provides a beacon to those who are searching for a way to protect and defend our shared humanity,” the website for Strike4Democracy said.

The Strike4Democracy event on Feb. 17 will begin with a rally at 10:30 a.m. on the Malesardi Quadrangle.

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