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News and Views from the People's Struggle

Student Movement

By Chrisley Carpio

Chicago, IL – On October 14 and 15, dozens of New Students for a Democratic Society chapters and affiliates will be convening at the University of Illinois Chicago for their annual convention.


By Wyatt Miller

Over 100 people attend Minneapolis speaking event featuring Chrisley Carpio and Lauren Pineiro of the Tampa 5. | Brad Sigal/Sigal Photos

Minneapolis, MN – “All of us were brutalized. I saw my friends kicked, punched, pushed into walls, put in chokeholds,” said Lauren Pineiro to a 100-person crowd that nearly filled the University of Minnesota lecture hall. “The chief of police even groped a student.”


By staff

Justice for the Tampa 5 Tour promotional image

Fight Back! is circulating this statement from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.

The Tampa 5 – Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro, Laura Rodriguez, Jeanie K, and Chrisley Carpio – are the five Students for a Democratic Society protesters at the University of South Florida who were attacked by campus police and are now facing five to ten years in prison for protesting Governor Ron DeSantis' attacks on diversity programs and all of higher education.


By staff

Milwaukee students demand justice for Déjah Welsh.

Milwaukee, WI – On Thursday, September 14, UW-Milwaukee Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and supporting community organizations rallied together to demand justice for Déjah Welsh. Welsh is a Black former student who attended UWM in 2013. Like many students, she was struggling with mental health issues, and while having a mental health crisis, UWM police officers attacked her and nearly suffocated her to death. They only stopped when she said, “I don’t want to end up like Derek Williams.” Williams was suffocated to death in the back of a Milwaukee police squad car in 2011. Once they stopped, they put her in a mental health facility.


By staff

Austin students resist attacks on diversity programs.

Austin, TX – On Tuesday afternoon, September 19, a group of students gathered on Speedway and 21st Street at the University of Texas at Austin to rally in defense of campus diversity programs. Since the signing of Texas Senate Bill 17 in June, diversity, equity, and inclusion offices have been banned at public universities, and the UT administration has still not taken any action to protect diversity programs on campus.


By Elijah Lieberman

Tallahassee students march to defend diversity. | Fight Back! News/staff

Tallahassee, FL – On Wednesday, September 13, the FSU Students for a Democratic Society held a noise demo on Florida State’s campus. The demonstration began at the Integration Statue and looped around Landis Green, two of the most populated areas of campus. Students and faculty chanted “Stand up and defy! HB 999!” “Increase Black enrollment! FSU, end your silence!” and “Down with DeSantis!”

With this noise demo, the FSU SDS aims to bring attention to one of its three core campaigns for the 2023-2024 school year: “Defend Diversity @ FSU! Increase Black Enrollment!” Governor Ron DeSantis has passed bills to cut funding from diversity services throughout Florida colleges, which serves as a threat to the future of education in the state. Diversity programs were won through hard-fought struggle in the 1960s and 70s and DeSantis and his lackeys seek to reverse them. FSU is a predominantly white institution, so diversity programs, ethnic studies and multicultural groups are essential for African American, multicultural and marginalized students and faculty.

To kick off the noise demo, Joelle Nuẽz, president of FSU SDS, shouted, “FSU has consistently ignored and disrespected queer and trans students, Black students, Hispanic/Latino students, faculty, and more by ignoring the issue of attacks on diversity. We’re not going to let them ignore us anymore!”

The event was co-sponsored by VEGFSU, the Tallahassee Community Action Committee, the FSU Graduate Assistants United, FSU’s Black Men in Medicine (BMM). BMM President Miffordens Registre commented on the alarming attacks on Black history within both the liberal arts and the sciences, stating “We wholeheartedly reject any notion that diverse, respo nsible doctors can be made in an environment that stifles and crosses out any mention of them in the history books and debates their legacies out of classrooms. We will fight to see people like us honored and respected in every facet of education, healthcare, and beyond!”

FSU SDS and other groups, such as FSU’s United Faculty of Florida, the campus faculty union, have attempted to get more information from administration on how HB 999 will affect specific programs of study such as African American Studies and social work, but admin has consistently dodged giving clear answers. As a result, students and faculty are publicly announcing their plans to leave Florida State by the end of this school year. In conversation with Dr. Walter Boot, a psychology professor featured in the Tallahassee Democrat last month, he stated “It is so disappointing that it has come to this. I have been at FSU for 15 years, and at one point imagined I'd spend my entire career here. But I don't recognize this place anymore.”

FSU SDS closed out the event by declaring their plans to mobilize students to the next Board of Trustees meeting, set for November 10.

#TallahasseeFL #SDS #FSUSDS #TallyCAC #DeSantis #BlackEnrollment #DEI

By Mira Altobell-Resendez

Twin Cities students rally in defense of ethnic and gender studies. | Fight Back! News staff

Minneapolis, MN – On September 14, 50 University of Minnesota students, staff and faculty gathered outside of the Student Union to join Students for a Democratic Society at their first rally of the semester to demand that the administration chop from the top and fully fund their ethnic and gender studies programs.

Students and other members of the campus community have been putting pressure on the UMN Board of Regents to defend ethnic and gender studies programs within the College of Liberal Arts through financial means since April, when university faculty from these departments reached out to SDS regarding alarming budget cuts that had been proposed by administration. Had these cuts been approved, American Indian studies would have seen a 50% decrease in its departmental budget. African & African American studies and Chicano and Latino studies Departments faced a 30% decrease, and Gender, Women & Sexuality studies a 10% decrease.

After outrage from university stakeholders and protests held by SDS, GLU-UE, AFSCME, and AAUP, the College of Liberal Arts Dean John Coleman publicly claimed that these proposed budget cuts had come about due to an accounting error and that they were no longer being considered, after $2 million that had allegedly been misplaced was relocated. Despite this, the College of Liberal Arts, which houses all the aforementioned departments, had its annual budget slashed by 11% across the board.

Regarding this supposed accounting error, SDS member Natalie Rath stated, “For a university of this size and stature, making insanely large ‘mistakes' like this is absolutely laughable and ridiculous. Keeping things like this hidden from the public also reflects very poorly on the university. We demand full transparency about where our tuition money and labor is going.”

The approach SDS suggests that UMN administration take to ensure funding for these programs is to chop from the top. As SDS member Fa’aumu Kaimana states, this is because “The issue is much more systematic than the threat of looming cuts. Ethnic studies are chronically underfunded, workers are chronically underpaid, all while top university executives get paid six and even seven figures!”

Kaimana continued to list SDS’s other demands for administration, including meeting the demands of the Towards Recognition and University-Tribal Healing (TRUTH) Project and employment security for untenured instructors and other departmental workers.

The budget cuts UMN SDS is fighting against come at a time when ethnic and gender studies are under attack at colleges and universities nationwide, especially in Florida, with Governor Ron DeSantis’ House Bill 999 which outlaws all diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives on college campuses. It was this legislation that the Tampa 5 were protesting against when they were brutalized and arrested by University of South Florida Police Department officers. It is vital that we stand in solidarity with the Tampa 5 and all other progressive forces fighting for the protection of these programs that were hard-won by student organizers of the past to protect the rights of Black, brown, native, trans and queer students.

Other speakers at this rally were Sasmit Rahman from UMN SDS, Juli von Zenker from AFSCME 3800, and Jae Yates from Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar.

To keep up with the fight for ethnic and gender studies in the Twin Cities, follow @UMNSDS on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

By Solveig Swain

Denver SDS demands "Chop from the top."

Denver, CO – Around 10:45 a.m. on August 30 Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), at the Auraria Campus staged a lightning rally to demand an adequate resolution to the $12 million budget crisis that University of Colorado Denver is currently facing.


By staff

Arlington, TX – On Monday, September 4, a group of about six Progressive Student Union at UT Arlington members convened on the South bridge of the UTA campus to display two banners above the overpass, calling for the immediate removal of the statue of the racist former university Dean E.H. Hereford in the University Center, and for renaming the center after alumni and community leader Fahim Minkah. This has been a campaign of PSU for several semesters now and has been met with massive support from the student body as well as opposition from the UT administration and student government.


By Jake Holtzman

University of Texas students sit in at the Board of Regents meeting demanding th

Austin, TX – On Thursday, August 24, a group of around 13 students, workers and other members of the University of Texas (UT) community held a sit-in at the UT System Board of Regents fall semester meeting. The protesters were demanding that the board defend diversity, equity and inclusion programs, which have been under threat at public universities since the passing of Texas Senate Bill 17 in May.