Yishi Liang, Editor-in-Chief
On Thursday, Nov. 12, the Grinnell Student Power Network organized the “Million Student March” outside in the Joe Rosenfield Center courtyard as a movement in solidarity with the national campaign. The march was co-sponsored by Dissenting Voices and Grinnellians for Bernie Sanders.
The “Million Student March” is a national grassroots campaign in which 110 college campuses participated. The campaign stands on the platform of three demands: free tuition for public universities, cancellation of all current student debt and raising the minimum wage to $15 for student workers. Grinnell Student Power Network is an organization dedicated to working on issues important to Grinnell students, it’s a part of the Iowa Student Power Network.
“We’re standing in solidarity with those demands, but we’re not demanding those three things from administration. What we’re demanding is divestment from fossil fuels and more protection for survivors of sexual violence,” said Ross Floyd ’19, a member of Grinnell Student Power Network.
Floyd argued that while divestment in fossil fuels is an environmentally responsible choice, it is also makes economic sense for the College.
“One of the reasons I’m most passionate about divestment is … the economic responsibility of it. The prices of oil are falling internationally, OPEC nations are becoming weaker, and as a result, the stock market value of fossil fuel is [falling], which means every minute that we have money in the fossil fuel industry our college is losing money,” he said.
In addition to their demands for divestment, the group considers the issue of sexual violence and providing survivors with adequate resources as an ongoing issue on campus that they are looking to emphasize in their protests. Some students who observed the march were unsure about the productivity of the event in addressing the issues at hand.
“From watching it happen … I think that there needs to be productive goals in order to [create] change … and those need to be publicized more. Because even if they’re there, they’re not visible enough to have the effect that they’re looking for,” said Liana Butchard ’18.
Floyd notes that, while the march was extremely effective in increasing visibility for these issues, he would also like to see the group follow up in dialogue with the administration and students.
“First and foremost, we want the administration to accept our demands. I want them to divest immediately from fossil fuels … and if not, then at least begin a serious dialogue and have student power be taken seriously on campus by this administration and be respected. Furthermore, I want student power to be seen as a force by students on campus who feel that they often don’t have a voice for higher decisions,” he said.