FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, April 14, 2006
Contact: Karen Knoller, (818) 554-5382, firstname.lastname@example.org
STUDENTS AT SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY DETAINED BY POLICE FOR CHANTING “MILITARY RECRUITERS GO HOME!”
Press Conference: Monday, April 17, 2006, 11:00 AM
SFSU, 19th Ave & Holloway Ave, San Francisco
Ten students were forcibly removed today from the gymnasium at San Francisco State University for protesting military recruiters on campus. The students were cited by University Police for disrupting campus activities. Their activities included distributing anti-military-recruitment leaflets, talking to recruiters and potential recruits, and chanting phrases such as, “Killing Iraqis is no career! Recruiters are not welcome here!”
The chants were loud but students were peaceful and committed to nonviolence. The police aggression came as a shock to the students, who hadn’t planned to get arrested or cited, and were not given any warning prior to detainment. Police rapidly lined up in front of the students, intimidated them and began physically pulling students out of the career fair, in an apparent breach of police policy against manhandling. This is typical of campus police who have had a recent history of assaulting members of the SFSU campus community.
Students were cited with violation of CA Penal Code 626.4, which restricts [bars] students from coming onto campus for fourteen days. They have fourteen days to appeal the citation, but the University is blocking students from entering the appeals process by claiming they are booked until mid-May. This comes at a time when students nationwide are undergoing oppression for protesting, including students at University of California Santa Cruz, whose protest Tuesday forced recruiters to pack up early and leave their campus.
Students Against War [a chapter of the Campus Antiwar Network], an antiwar student group not rooted in any political ideology, organized the pre-rally and speakers and faces possible disbandment depending on today’s events. This is because they are under preexisting sanctions for the protest that occurred March 9, 2005, in which students effectively chased recruiters off campus.
“I feel completely repressed and violated because I was forcibly removed for expressing my right to free speech and protest,” said Karen Knoller, SFSU freshman who was cited. “In addition to being barred from my classes, I have also effectively been made homeless, as I currently live in campus housing.” Knoller and two other students cited at SFSU, largely a commuter school, also live on campus.
“What am I going to do? I have a paid apartment on campus and I can’t go to it. Am I paying them so I can just sit on 19th and Holloway?” asked Chris Velasco, student at San Francisco State University. “I have a right to protest. My brother is in Iraq fighting.”
SFSU is a university with a legacy of protests, starting with the student strike of 1968. The students demand that they be allowed to practice their rights to free speech and their right to protest, and that they be allowed back on campus to attend classes, visit their dorms and attend their antiwar meetings.
The students will be holding a press conference at the intersection of 19th Avenue and Holloway, just outside the university, 11:00 AM on Monday, April 17. At this event, students will discuss their legal defense and the appeals process to the university.
This violation of the free speech of students at SFSU is outrageous!
Call or email President Corrigan and demand that the 10 students
suspended today be allowed back on campus!
President Robert Corrigan