Million Student March Held at UT
Student activists want Abbott to call a special legislative session to address access to higher education
On Nov. 12, a coalition of students, faculty, staff, community members, and activists rallied and marched around the UT-Austin campus as a part of the nationwide "Million Student March," which demanded "tuition-free public college, cancellation of all student debt, and a $15 minimum wage for all campus workers," according to StudentMarch.org. In addition to the three nationwide goals, the UT march's Facebook page also demanded the right for all campus workers to collectively bargain, and no guns in classrooms (in reaction to the passage of campus carry).
At the rally, even more issues were addressed, with people protesting the death penalty, Israel's occupation of Palestine, police brutality, mass incarceration, drone warfare, corporate greed, sexism, racism, and classism. UT law student Mohammed Nabulsi, who spoke at the rally, told the Chronicle, "All these issues are inextricably linked."
Loyce Gayo, a UT senior who led the march, explained, "The intersectionality of these issues allows us to begin to think of solutions." For instance, she argued for redirecting the costs of mass incarceration toward education (or, as the chants put it, "Money for jobs and education/ Not for mass incarceration"). Explaining why it's important to address multiple issues at the same time, she said that, for example, unless institutional racism is addressed, economic equality can't be fully achieved. "Choosing to take an intersectional platform," Gayo added, "allows for our voices to not be drowned out by conservatives."
So what's next for the protesters? Gayo said, "Moving forward, with an even bigger voice, we look to convince Greg Abbott to call a special legislative session to address access to higher education through any necessary means."
These issues, as Gayo and others made it clear, are "bigger than just UT."