Support the Right to Protest and Dialogue at SUNY-Binghamton
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On Thursday, March 27th SUNY-Binghamton students organized as the Frances Beal Society rallied on campus in opposition to University plans to install blue-light alarm posts in areas where students reside in town. The students argued that the $200,000 per year cost would be better spent on funding student mental health services, and that initiatives in town should be designed with participation from community members.
On arriving at the administration building, students found no senior campus representative willing to speak with them. Access to the top floor of the building, where the president’s office is located, was closed off. Police guarded all the other floors. In response, the students began a sit-in in the lobby of the building. They neither impeded staff nor prevented public access to the building.
Over the weekend, the students remained in the lobby, awaiting a response. The university did respond: on Monday, May 1st the building was officially closed. The administration had abandoned the administration building, leaving the students, whose sit-in continues as of this writing (May 5th), as the only occupants, along with the police force in and around the building. How this amounts to a reasoned response to a peaceful protest by students the administration has yet to explain.
In this matter, we urge the administration to engage seriously with students patiently waiting to meet with them. Tolerance of protest and willingness to engage in dialogue are essential academic values we should all cherish.
Signed by SUNY-Binghamton faculty:
Sharon A. Bryant
Joseph A. Keith
William G. Martin
Sean G. Massey
Joseph D. Weil
Michael O. West
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